Friday, May 9, 2008

All you need is your own imagination...

Photo: Freeland Elleblogs

"Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street. Fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening." Coco Chanel
Fashion is one of the great loves of my life. I get goosebumps just thinking about shopping. Whether I'm rummaging in thrift stores or burning a swath through sample sales, outfits are my great passion, my little pieces of art, my raison d'ĂȘtre. I've always loved putting together looks. I've been studying and analyzing fashion and style for as long as I can remember. When I was a little girl, I would stare at ladies in the mall or on the street. I would examine their outfits closely, head to toe, and submit what I saw to memory to be drawn upon later. My inspirations come from past and present, different cultures, people & my own imagination. You know how when you see magazines or watch runway shows with models in ridiculous outfits, you think, "who the hell would ever wear that?" Well, I would. Years ago, I went through a phase of wearing themed looks. I'd be "asian girl" one night and then "cowgirl" or "80's punk rock chick" the friends were constantly getting a kick out of these very specific themed outfits. Many nights when I'd arrive to go out, my friends would giggle upon viewing the look du jour. I'd laugh too, because it is funny and pulling things off is my little game.
Photo: Shoewawa
I've always felt exhilarated when putting clothes, accessories, hair and makeup together to create the particular look that I envision so clearly in my head. Even as a kid, I would have a precise idea of something that I was looking for when I went shopping because I wanted to bring this 'image' I visualized to life. Playing dress up was my favourite thing to do, Hallowe'en was my favourite holiday. What really makes great personal style? Lately there seems to be a change in the fashion current. There's a new wave of women who are experts at putting an outfit together that doesn't necessarily look like it belongs on a mannequin; but rather, just casually has a certain je ne sais quoi. Inherited shortcomings are no barrier for the truly stylish today-an errant mole, a hawkish nose or crooked teeth can be worked to one's advantage. I've always said that my aim is to walk the line between looking clownish and looking totally sophisticated. That's what high fashion is all about: the shock of the new. Being memorable means being elegant and excessive all at the same time. You can pull anything off if you're confident. I can still remember my friend Danielle's face the night I went to a local pub in hot pink tights and black pumps. And the first time I wore a dress over pants or jeans tucked into knee high boots. There's a great deal of fun in walking that line. Some call it "quirky sophistication" others call it being a "funny" dresser; but I've somehow always known that pulling anything off is all in the proud little thrust of your chin. You can get away with any crazy outfit by not feeling like your outfit is crazy. If you're comfortable being an eccentric person, you won't feel out of sorts. The attitude you've got to have is always smiling. Anybody can give me their flinty snickers, pointing fingers or sideways looks, because I feel good about what I'm wearing.

Photo: WhoWhatWear Daily
The late Diana Vreeland, past editor of Vogue, said "Never fear being vulgar, just boring." Fashion is more than style. For me, my style is a direct reflection of the way I feel. It changes depending on my mood and what my influences are at the time. I love quirky accessories. I love to shop vintage. I get so excited when I find something a little bit provocative, a little bit different. I've just always loved clothes, shoes, accessories and the dance of being a woman.

However, as fun as eccentric looks and whimsy outfits can loves extremes, so...there is something equally as appealing about a more pulled together, classic style. Coco Chanel could walk into a room now and look fabulous. She set a standard and was adventurous but chic at the same time. Her style was timeless. That's the beauty of fashion; anything goes. It's all about having fun and creating a look that you feel comfortable with, because money can't buy you fashion sense, but confidence and a keen eye can. So that leaves the question; can style be learned? I think one must be willing to observe, to experiment, to be daring and to be confident. Differences are what distinguish us from one another. Embrace your own personal style, no matter what that is. Your own uniqueness is your most precious gift.

Tips For Aspiring Stylistas:
-Treat your flaws as assets.
-Follow Chanel's lead and start with black and white.
-Your clothes should fit you perfectly. Too tight is never stylish.
-Invest in quality. It's better to have one good than 10 mediocre things.
-Be impeccably groomed.
-Don't fuss with your clothes.
-Embrace drama.
-Know what suits your body type.
-Develop a style opinion. All over the map style suggests insecurity.
-Love thyself, confidence is irreplaceable.


Anonymous said...

SO SO SO gonna link to this post in a post of my soon. I've been collecting various style ideas that are all over, and I think I might put them in one place like this.

Some of the best tips I have seen. Brevity is the soul of wit and you certainly have it.

I never thought about it, but I used to love dress up as well, and especially period costumes. I didn't realize I was being a fashionista until now.

I so remember tucking jeans into boots, too! Right after high school I started dressing more outrageous. I'm proud that I still looked good and not too punk or messy. I constructed great outfits and lots of peers from high school (and my high school boyfriend) didn't understand it. Still so many people I'm friends with don't get it, and I find my kindred spirits in fashion blogs.

I cannot say enough what a fantastic post this is. I'm bookmarking it. I love the quotes and the images. If you ever make a portfolio of your writings, be sure to include this post.

- J @

PatZ said...

oh should see the men's fashion in probably consists of the loudest fabrics ever to exist. ever.

Jen (MahaloFashion) said...

Clemence is such a french beauty and trendsetter.
Kate will always be a style icon and inspiration.

I can't wait for the sex and the city movie!

Raul said...

I love your fashion sense and your style! And I don't know how PatZ manages to check on the male fashion world when he should be studying LOL :)

Phaedra said...

You have a great fashion sense, and I'd love for you to dress me for an evening out sometime. Your list of tips is wickedly on the mark.