On Trends

(images via: p-catz, unknown and bubbelsoda)

Looking at pictures from a bygone era, I cannot help but notice how some people look fantastic and make you wish you were born in a different era and then you try to think of the ways you could do a modern interpretation of their look and make it work for yourself. And then there are people who, while obviously following trends of that time, make you greatful that the era of volatile perms and shiny blue eyeshadow is over. The latter group also makes me wonder how their generation will appear to the furure generations looking back at this time.

I actually hate that word: trend. There is obviously a fine line between looking stylish and “of the moment” and looking like a victim of your fashion era. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t have a lot to do with being pretty, as sometimes conventional pretty can actually stand in the way of translating fashion, which often prefers a certain edginess to one’s look and can sometimes even favour the “ugly. It’s about being able to pull off a look, by making it your own.

In that sense, fashion can be compared to a bad boyfriend. Sure, making mistakes when you’re younger is all a part of life, and you can learn a great deal from your mistakes. At one point though there comes a time when you learn to know who you are, and you are presented with choices. Once you try different things, and see how they work, mistakes become avoidable.

The thing about trends is that you have to become master them before they can master you. Various people who’s fashion sense has been deemed iconic, and who are often cited as inspirations, were known for the uniformity of their wardrobe, no matter how “eccentric” it was. From Coco Chanel’s monochromatic tweeds and camelias and Elsa Schiaparelli’s shocking pink, to Gaia Repossi’s preference for clean lines and menswear and Sofia Coppola’s french chic. All of these women are known for the boundaries they set to their personal style and how they experimented and navigated within those set parameters.

Which may seem stifling (as in: why would you confine yourself, when there are limitless options to chose from?), but it’s actually quite the opposite. It’s my opinion that it’s more interesting to explore a certain interest and see how far it can take you, than to scatter your focus over so many interest, that you eventually lose sight of most of them (again, it’s somewhat like relationships, to come back to my previous point.) I’m all for experimenting, but it takes skill to master a look and make it all your own.

This of course don’t mean a look shouldn’t evolve over time. But it’s a different story from blatantly adopting every micro-trend avaliable. Sometimes a colour or a cut becomes a trend and you find out it suits you perfectly and fits within your wardrobe as well. The fact that it’s a trend, means many labels at different price ranges will incorporate this trend within your collection and it’s great because now you get to pick and choose and it’s exciting! For example, I’m very happy with the revival of menswear-inspired shoes such as brogues and loafers, as there was a time not too long ago when finding a nice low-heeled shoe was not as easy. Sometimes though there will be seasons where not one trend works for you. That’s where you focus on basics and save your money for other, more appropriate seasons to come.

I read this interesting article on Psychology Today, that I found via Danielle Meder’s Final Fashion (she is an illustrator / trend analyst and her articles is always a great read.) The premise of the article is this: “Kanazawa, assistant professor of sociology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, wondered: “If men found themselves being less attracted to their mates after being exposed to eight or 16 pictures in a half-hour experiment, what would be the effect if that happened day in, day out, for 20 years?”” and it goes on to explain how the human (in this case male) mind deals when presented with limitless possibilities to chose from, in this case beautiful women. It turns out, that amount of choice isn’t liberating, but it can actually become stifling. I believe this theory can be used to elaborate on ADD in children, but also on the way we shop, which results in the age old problem of having closets that are too full, and yet nothing to wear. As we seem to enter an age of modesty, which in itself can be viewed as a result of irresponsible opulance of recent decades, such excess seems distasteful, yes even vulgar.

When it comes to wardrobe, I find nothing more exhilarating than the process where you come across a garment that might just be perfect, but you take your time to really make sure and sometimes by the time you make up your mind and decide that this indeed in the garment for you, the garment can be sold out and you find yourself travelling to other cities and e-mailing people on the other side of the world that you foud online, in hope they’ll sell you theirs for a good price. Sure it can be frustrating, but when the search is finally over, and your garment is finally in your hands, ready to be worn time and time again, becoming an inextricable part of your wardrobe, there is an undeniable and lasting satisfaction. Which doesn’t come from buying random clothes on a whim only to find out they don’t actually fit with anything you already own, and they end up in the back of the closet with the price tag still attached. Good wardrobe is indeed like a good lovestory. And if this sounds slightly fetishistic, well that’s probably because it is. =)

On Magazines

(image via mottodistribution)

I admit I love magazines. Beautifully designed on quality paper containing inspiring articles and images, that’s what I look for in a magazine.

Unfortunately, most women’s magazines fail to provide in these aspects. With a few notable exceptions, I always end up feeling bombarded by products that I know I don’t need and fluff pieces on botox survivors and the best spa destinations. I realized this a couple of years ago while flipping though a prominent female publication in a bookstore and all I could see were pages and pages just blatantly displaying products. As though editorials weren’t enough (at least in editorials there is the effort of creating a enticing image). It just looks like they picked whatever their advertisers were selling and threw it together on one page and it’s so far removed from my own perceptions that the aspirational aspect becomes irrelevant. Sure, all these magazines have something to sell, but such blatant consumerism, especially in this day and age, just ends up seeming vulgar.

Instead of creating an irrational need to buy more things, I prefer to focus on developing a personal aesthetic and style, which isn’t susceptible to complete change each and every season. This is why I prefer men’s magazines such as Fantastic Man, as they seem to focus more on classic pieces and wardrobes as a whole, and of course The Gentlewoman

It’s also why I am really excited about publication such as Kinfolk, which is about the experience rather than buying new things. I ordered it today and cannot wait to take it out on my next trip to the local coffee house.

Critical Shopper

Image via thefashionspot

“Carefully Curated: Each garment has to make the cut. I’ve heard some fairly harsh criticism recently that “good enough” is really okay for one’s wardrobe, and I have to disagree. Yes, in some circumstances we do have to settle for less than ideal, but that should NEVER be the standard we set for ourselves. We deserve better. People who make clothing deserve better. The planet deserves better.

Deliberately Distilled: We don’t need so much stuff. We need nicer things, better quality things, things we will love more, use more, and legitimately wear out. We do this on purpose, not because we’re stingy or snotty, but because we want to focus on truly beautiful and crafted items that are worthy of support.”

Source: The Vivienne Files

I love the idea of curating the perfect capsule wardrobe. It’s also the reason behind this blog because I wanted to document this process. My goal is to have a wardrobe that consists of a limited number of beautifully crafted, deliberately sought out, cherished garments, worn over and over again. Indeed, like falling in love and developing a relationship that could last a lifetime.

Angelo Flaccavento in Dapper Dan Magazine

I have discovered so many beautiful magazines lately, it sometimes even makes me want to organise / curate one myself.
Two of my current favourites are The Gentlewoman, and men’s magazine Dapper Dan. Both magazines manage to bring something fresh to the table in the oversaturated market of stylish magazines, by displaying impeccably styled editorials combined minimalist pagedesign on beautiful paper. Acne Paper also falls into this category, although its not the most practical magazine to carry around, due to it’s impressive size.

One great article in Dapper Dan features Angelo Flaccavento discussing uniform dressing. I have long been an advocate of this concept myself, due to it being extremely efficient and perhaps even radical way of styling one’s wardrobe. Flaccavento’s approach mirror’s my own, by eschewing the dogmatic approach, in favour of a more relaxed and less judgemental state of mind. A couple of excerpts, about one of my favourite concepts: uniform dressing:

“To avoid fatal mistakes, a succinct but effective routine, tested thoroughly by this humble writer, ensues.
1. Be light. Don’t turn your opinion of fashion into a declaration of war. Maintaining a uniform is your choice, not a dogma.
2. Know that you are in good company. Coco Chanel, Diana Vreeland, Gio Ponti and Beau Brummell all excelled in the practice. But don’t use it as an excuse to look down on others. Refrain from judging.
3. Look at yourself in the mirror, thoroughly and severely. Consider your pros and cons and deicide what to highlight. It can be everything. Sometimes cons are more charming than pros: a prominent belly can be more sensational than a six-pack. Trust your instinct, and the uniform will begin to feel natural.
4. Trust in Dieter Rams: ” Less, but better.” Edit down to the bare essentials, plus, perhaps, a tiny bit more. You should be able to get ready in a flash and with a thoughtful, quick edit. Likewise, never plan an outfit in advance; the result would be rigid. A little mistake here and there feels lively.

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