With another wave of Fashion Week’s coming to an end, I found myself really questioning what it is exactly that inspires and motivates designers. What separates their collection? What makes a look personal? Legendary? Iconic?? Because when you really think about fashion, like art, it’s really just another form of expression. So ultimately, what we’re seeing in a collection is a reflection of the designer themselves.
And out of all the fall collections this season, it was Chanel that struck me the most. Karl had once again outdone himself with a collection that gave a glamorous nod to the old school salon days. But it wasn’t just the clothes that had me in awe- it was everything. It was every minor little detail that would make one have to re-watch the entire show just to take it all in. It was the kind of accessorizing genius that made fashion feel fun and exciting again. But more importantly, there was an unexpected playful energy to the collection that was surprising for a historically drab time of year.
Chanel Fall/Winter RTW 2016
Also like art, runway fashion is typically exaggerated. Go big, or go home. With everything. And with that, trends are noted, trend reports are created, “Lust Lists” are made, and more muted versions will eventually trickle into our every day fashion lives come Fall. But that doesn’t mean that’s where the individuality and creativity stops.
No, darling, instead its just the opposite- its where the magic really starts to happen.
Which brings me to my original point of this post- that the presence of one’s style cannot be measured simply in the outfit itself. Anyone is capable of throwing on a LBD and pulling of “chic” for a night. That’s why its the safety net of fashion. Simple. Effortless. Classic. Standard issue.
Okay, great. But what does it actually say about someone? Exactly- not much at all. And that’s fine if you’re someone who prefers to blend. I’m not here to tell anyone how to live their life. But I WILL say never have I ever admired someone for their ability to pull off basic.
But “admire” might be too harsh of a word. Instead, its the ones that put the effort into the details that inspire me. Its the personal twists in accessories that make me see less of the clothes, and more of the person wearing them. It’s the small and tedious things many might just simply lack the patience or imagination for, that another will go all out with just because its who they are. Because its within those details that lie the true personality of someone. Its those interesting little twists that say so much about who someone is, or how they feel, without saying a single word. In other words- in a world full of LBD’s, it’s the small things that play a big role in making you so largely unique.
And isn’t that what we’re all striving for?
For my SATC fans, we know the show was famous for its [sometimes questionable] fashion. But you may remember there were a few pieces that made it through the entire run of the show because they represented the characters so well. Most memorable was Carrie’s necklace- it was such a huge part of her identity, it even became part of the storyline in the series finale.
Now fast forward to today, where the word “basic” is now an insult. Yet its amusing that we do so much talking to express who we are, and yet so little in letting it shine visually. And the best part about accessories? They can be as expensive, or as cheap as you’d like them to be. The price of unique finds is usually based on how much time you’re willing to spend finding them. For instance, if you’re someone who loves to comb antique and second hand stores (me, me, me!!), then you already know the gems that are waiting for you, often at ridiculously low prices. I’m talking cheaper than Forever 21 here. No, really. But what you save in the money department, you will spend in time. At the same time, if you’re someone who loves shopping (Again- me, me, me!!), this isn’t a problem. Though you’ll probably want to go on these adventures alone, or risk being annoyed by the inevitable whining from your boyfriend. But if you’re going for vintage one-of-a-kind pieces, this is the only way to go. Even flea markets have proven to be beneficial hunting grounds. And you can use going to one as an excuse to load up on fresh local produce- even if you only use the aforementioned fresh local produce to make organic mojitos. I wont tell.
Just be sure to make on for me….
Now its important to note, combing vintage stores is only good for collecting. You cant just go on a mission one day to find a particular piece and expect it to be hanging out at the antique store down the road. Accessories aren’t ice cream- it doesn’t work like that. Instead, these adventures are for “building”. They’re for days when you have some time to kill, an open mind, and you can simply look with no pressure for items that speak to you. And only you. I cant explain it other than, you’ll know it when you see it. Some of my favorite finds were completely unexpected, yet once they came into life, they made me question how I could have ever been “me” without them.
But accessorizing isn’t just about the actual accessories, but rather in how one uses them. Which brings me to my next point- literally anything can be an accessory when you’re creative enough. Think of how boring fashion would be if we only used things as they were originally intended? One example of this I think we can all remember would be Lady Gaga’s meat dress. Though I’m still not sure what the final verdict was on her daring choice (Did we love it…? Hate it…? Eat it…??). The point is, she took something conventional, and made it unconventional. She turned heads and made a major statement using something many of see every day. And while you don’t have to go as far as using actual food (please don’t use food) you can add major impact in other ways.
Example: A few days ago I was styling a shoot. I had the sudden idea for a particular look, but didn’t have the wardrobe with me to support it. Knowing that there was a secondhand store right below us, I ran down with my “I’ll know it when I see it” mentality. Within 5 minutes I discovered a silk scarf, and 5 minutes after that it was tied effortlessly around my model’s torso as a top. Going off pure instinct, it was the perfect addition to an outfit that was already a huge risk- and it all paid off beautifully. It became one of my favorite looks for the day, mostly because I know without a fact that look is 100% unique, born from a idea that was in my mind at the time- and there’s a lot of pride in that.
But every day can be like that if you’re willing to put forth the effort. There’s no photoshoot required for you to treat the entire world like its your personal runway. Because IT IS. And I need you to pay really close attention to this one- you don’t need to be a model to dress like one. You got that? You don’t have to be Lady Gaga to make a statement. You can do it every day, all day, in every unique way you can think of, and for any reason you feel like.
Like button-downs. Basic, boring button-downs. Someone woke up one day, looked at a button-down, and thought “What if I put this on backwards…?”. And so they tried it.
And it worked.
Then someone else took their button-down and thought “What if I tied the arms and turned this into a tube top…?”.
And that worked.
And so on…
You get my point here? Like the Field of Dreams of fashion, you just gotta build it.
So next time you feel like you have “nothing to wear”, or you’re bored with whats in your closet, just stop. Step back. And really take a look at what you have. There is nothing more exciting to me than the challenge of being able to create virtually any look I’d like with just a few well thought out pieces. Or wearing something in a way I never thought of before. Or pairing one piece with something totally unexpected. But that’s the trick- you have to care. You have to make the effort. You have to be willing to take chances. And you have to be willing to get it wrong sometimes. Because there really is no wrong when it comes to style, as long as you feel good about you.