Saturday, February 16, 2013
Life Is One Big Dress-Up
Clearly, I am not Anna Wintour. However, I definitely have an opinion (and a small following) when it comes to fashion and style. (The difference between fashion & style? "Fashion fades, style is eternal" -YSL. This statement reflects the culturally sanctioned and current, frequently fleeting nature of fashion, as contrasted to the timeless aesthetic value of style.)
I told my friend, who I dare not lead astray, that this is an exciting time in the world of fashion. It truly is. I remember being 5 years old and not being able to wait to wear "big girl clothes." Since this was in the 80's, this means I was a 5-year-old dying to wear tube tops, miniskirts, and heels.
What makes this an exciting time in the world of fashion is that you can wear tube tops, you can wear menswear styles, you can wear boho skirts, or you can wear Alexander McQueen's most recent runway knockout ensemble and still be fashionable. You can wear shoulder pads, chevron, a skirt with any length hem, vests, leggings, neon, pastels, jeans of any fit and get away with it. The world is full of limitless options for your fashion oyster! The days of having to wear shoes that match your bag are obviously well in the past (although I foresee the matching-shoes-and-bag resurfacing as a trend).
However, this doesn't mean you can throw on anything and have it look stylish. In my eyes, there are three platinum rules for dressing in 2013. And this is what I told my friend:
One, your clothes need to fit you perfectly. Whether the style requires a loose fit or a skin-tight fit, your garment must fit you as it's supposed to in all the right places. Clothes that don't fit right will never contribute to a stylish and effective look.
Two, the proportions of your outfit must be aesthetically pleasing. This gets into the whole judgement realm and what some might call "having a good eye." If you have no idea what I mean by proportions, look up the golden ratio; it's the same concept, only applied to clothing on a person.
Three, the combination of patterns, prints, textures, & shapes must in some way work together. I understand this is very subjective and not very helpful, but it is true. How many years did you look at red and pink together and cringe? Low and behold, a few years ago, the red and pink combo was an announced trend and spotted being used by some of the top designers in the industry. In some odd way, it worked. The old rule of "don't wear two patterns at once" has been cast off in favor of mixing patterns and prints. Matching colors has been replaced by contrasting colors; some of my favorite color combinations are neon yellow with red and navy, sea foam green with neon orange, and emerald green (Pantone's 2013 Color of the Year) with a pinkish peach. Of course, the monochrome trend has received much attention, so matchy-matchy is an option too. My emphasis with the third platinum rule is that once-established rules are being redefined; you are not bound by rules as much as you are at the fate of your own subjective aesthetic judgment. This is scary and freeing at the same time (with fashion freedom comes responsibility for aesthetic judgment, and Sartre just rolled over 6 feet under).
This is a time in the world of fashion that encourages exploration, experimentation, personal expression, and play. The range of looks in the fashion world are limitless and allow for you to indulge in a truly unique style that is all yours. If you want to wear ugly no-heeled prairie boots, you can flaunt them and they'll somehow be awesome. If you want to wear a crazy Pucci pattern A-line that looks like it just came straight from the 60's, you can get away with it, probably turning heads in approval. If you wish you could relive 90's grunge, you won't look like you just crawled out of a time machine. I can rock a tube top without black marks from the fashion police. From thigh-high boots to shooties, almost anything goes. What is more, in this social climate, women are less marginalized than ever before for how they choose to dress. You get to wear what you want and be stylish on your own terms, and that, for any clothes-loving-lady, is exciting. As was the motto of one of my favorite toys growing up, Muffy Vanderbuilt, "life is one big dress-up."