Tag: style

Corsetry

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Restrictive is the best way to describe a corset. With the lingerie market trending towards lacy bralets and relaxed styles, why are these old-fashioned contraptions so appealing? Seen at Dior, labelled a “boob cage” by many critics, corsets represent females dressing in a way that does not allow movement and activity. A lady of leisure. Not a worker. Therefore, does the new corset, heralded by Maria Grazia Chiuri of Dior, mean something different given that this is the same woman who is now selling t-shirts with feminist slogans for hundreds of dollars a pop? Does it represent the unrealistic body standards young women are trying to conform to now, a teeny tiny waist with big hips and breasts (often achieved through surgical augmentations)? Or is it merely a corset? Something pretty to look at? You decide.

Coachella Capsule Wardrobe – 2017

COACHELLA WARDROBE

 

On the back of my previous post about Coachella and the influence that the festival is having on retailers, I decided to style a set of what, in my mind, would be a perfect Coachella wardrobe. I tried to have as few pieces as possible, especially ones that I thought were interchangeable but still looked good as when you’re at a festival you don’t want to take your entire wardrobe. Some of the items I included were high-end (which is not uncommon at festivals nowadays) but they are also substitutable for fast-fashion pieces as well.
The first look is a lace bralet with lightweight flowly culottes and Puma sneakers. I could actually wear this look as I have most of the elements at home (besides these exact sneakers). My reasoning behind this was that you could wear the sneakers on all three days so your feet stay covered (no open-toe sandals at festivals), and the other elements were so you didn’t get too warm. Coachella is held in the desert and it seemingly gets crazy hot. I added bangles and a watch to this look because your arms would be on display so it added something fun. Finally, the crossbody bag is so you can be handsfree. The second look consists of the same shoes and accessories (minus the bangle) but this time with a mesh top and denim cut-offs. The same denim cut-offs would be worn the following day, this time with a spaghetti strap bodysuit (or tank). The final look has the matching kimono for the culottes from the first look.
Let me know what you think? Who could you picture in these looks?
Looks I liked from previous years

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo as a style icon is funny to me. I’ve never thought of her as fashionable. She was, however, known for being unapologetic about her heritage at a time when Mexicans were unpopular in America. In fact, it is not much different now than it was then. Ever since Donald Trump suggested building a wall, anti-Mexican sentiment that was often hushed has once again being exposed. The issue of race is so complicated in America, something that has become increasingly apparent in recent years with the abundance of murders and attacks on, basically, anyone who isn’t white.

Frida Kahlo, besides being a talented artist, was known for not liking white people. Despite this, she speaks to a lot of women, including white women, for her uncompromising nature. She painted herself in natural dress when women were shunning that look. She let her eyebrows grow into a monobrow, even though that is thought of extremely unfeminine. Was she a feminist because she did what she wanted or have we painted her as a feminist hero without her making any true statements? This is something I’ve wanted to explore.

My Grandparents, My Parents, and me (this is my favourite painting)
My Grandparents, My Parents, and me (this is my favourite painting)

I have always been drawn to her artwork because I find it visually appealing. On top of that, everyone knows Frida Kahlo as her image is iconic. I can understand why she is hailed as a style icon because her look is unique. However, there is more to the woman than that. For example, a famous painting of hers at the MoMA in New York explores her familial background. It has two sets of grandparents on each side, one white and German and the others Mexican, then her parents, then her. It is important that she chose to identify with her Mexican roots instead of the white side of her family. There is another self portrait that she did with her two selves, connected by veins. It shows the duality of her, as like many women she had an image that she presented to the public and an image of her true self. The painting is believed to represent two sides of her after her break-up from her husband who cheated on her. One side is broken-hearted and rejected whilst the other side is well-presented and still appealing to her husband.

The Two Fridas
The Two Fridas

Maybe it’s Kahlo’s spirit that makes her an icon. It’s nothing to do with clothes or appearance. It’s about attitude. A nonchalant way of living that many people strive to achieve, and often never quite manage to reach. One thing is for certain, Frida Kahlo stayed true to who she was and didn’t change herself to suit the male gaze or the typical white beauty standards. That is a true skill that all women should learn. Be yourself, not who someone else may want you to be.

Further reading on the artist & the cultural appropriation of her work (and her as a person)

“Quit Appropriating Frida Kahlo” – Resistance Always, WordPress (lots of good photos on this post too)

“Stop Bastardising Frida Kahlo” – a popular post that went around Tumblr

“Frida Kahlo would hate your Frida Kahlo shirt” – Golden Gate Xpress

Personal Style, again

I was on the Village Voice website earlier today and I came across an article in their fashion section from 2015. In it the writer chronicles her trip on the train in New York where she seen a whole bunch of people wearing the same items (Herschel backpack, flannel shirts, Shrimps fur coats etc.). The article ended up being an exploration into personal style and whether we, as New Yorkers, still have it.

There used to be a perception of a big city style. New York was black, polished, and streamlined. Now it’s a mix of everything. Furthermore, the big city style has reached the suburbs. I remember watching Working Girl for the first time and being hit by the makeover that Tess had in order to work her way up the corporate ladder – and she was already a New Yorker. Nowadays that kind of thing doesn’t need to happen. You don’t need to spend a small fortune to look professional. You don’t need to go to fashion shows to know what’s cool. The internet has democratised fashion to a level never before reached. It’s for the masses now. Fast fashion helps too, knowing that a look on the Gucci runway will be replicated in Zara often before the original hits the stores. We can all be a part of it.

This then made me think of quotes from Raf Simons’ recent interview in GQ:

I was actually someone who was very often saying that fashion keeps thinking that it can serve everybody, that it can be there for everybody, high fashion. I’m sorry, but high fashion was always for a small environment. High fashion by nature used to be extreme. Right now we define a lot of things as high fashion, but they’re not high fashion. They’re clothes. They’re clothes on the runway with a nice little twist of styling and coloration. Everybody thinks it’s high fashion. Bullshit. There is very little high fashion.

He thinks that fashion isn’t elite anymore, which is definitely true. Anyone can be a designer. Anyone can make it big, whether that be as a creator or an influencer. Your clothes are merely clothes, and put them on the right people and they can become a trend and you can solidify yourself a place on the must-see fashion show list on every fashion news outlet out there. Look at Vetements and the constant stream of coverage the brand gets. Raf’s interview is actually a good read in terms of gauging his opinion on the current state of fashion and the brands that are at the top. He is unafraid to share his views because he knows he is in an almost untouchable position and that without him and his archive, many brands would struggle to produce collections. He is arguably one of the most influential designers of the century thus far.

But going back to the point of the original article, the writer was saying that in the pursuit of personal style, we all end up dressing the same. Maybe it’s because we are all exposed to similar influencers or maybe it’s an attempt to be different and just ending up the same, accidentally. Either way, there is little truly original personal style left out there. The conclusion that the writer came to, after interviewing various subjects, was that although we all wear the same items, we wear them in different ways or with different things, hence making them individual once again.

Honestly, I’d argue otherwise. Sometimes I will buy something then six months later when I encounter a lot of other people wearing it, I’m put off. I feel like something is less my style, more just mass acceptance fashion once it becomes a trendy item. Trends have the ability to ruin an item, to make it unwearable. I’m not someone who is super out-there with my dress sense or someone who cares too much about being totally individual, but sometimes it bothers me when I end up having something that turns into a trend. In a way its embarrassing as you feel a little bit like a clone, or like you can’t make decisions for yourself so you copy others. Conversely, that’s just fashion. If it doesn’t hit the masses, was it ever fashion in its true definition? Or was it just clothes?

Another aspect of personal style that actually upsets me is seeing celebrities being lauded for their style and originality and trend setting abilities when their looks have all been picked for them by stylists. Literally nothing that many of the bigger influencers wear (Kardashians, Hadids, Selena Gomez etc.) has been picked by them. They pay a stylist to curate a wardrobe for them to wear. It’s very strange to me to see these people being called style icons and entire websites and Instagram accounts dedicated to chronicling their sartorial choices. I’ve touched on this before previously but it is something that is truly baffling to me. Then on top of that, said influencers undertake collaborations with brands to “design” collections. It’s odd. But it’s fashion. As Raf said, fashion thinks it can cater to the masses and this is exactly what that phenomenon demonstrates. Fashion is pop culture. 100%.

 

Further reading

“Is Personal Style Dead?” – Village Voice, November 2015

“Raf Simons on life in New York, designing under Trump, and the New Generation of Designers who look up to him” – GQ, January 2017

“Personal Style/Celebrity Stylists” – from my website, June 2016

“What the Hell Happened to Personal Style?” – Vogue.com, April 2016

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When styling this look I imagined a cocktail party on a week night, say you’re heading there straight from the office. Take off the white shirt you had on underneath the blazer, swap the tote bag for a small cross-body style and wear stilettos. A true day-to-night look, office-to-evening concept.
I particularly like the peplum style of the blazer. I am yet to find a suitable alternative on the high street. A good pair of black pants is a staple in every woman’s wardrobe. I actually have many different styles of black pants but I’m still looking for the perfect cigarette pant. Is there a brand you would suggest?

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I can’t make up my mind on outfit blogging. On one hand, I hate it. I really don’t care to look on a blog to see somebody’s outfit, unless they’ve practically made an editorial (in which case, I could never do it because I don’t look like a model, nor could I pretend to). I’d rather look on Instagram for that. On the other hand, I love it. I love clothes and seeing how different people wear them. How I’d style something is so different than how others would and vice versa.
Recently I’ve started watching a lot more YouTube channels that cater towards fashion. It has taken me literally years to find channels like this (they all seem to be make-up ones) but once I’ve found a few, YouTube recommends others. I love watching people’s videos, especially outfit videos but I hate the long, drawn out posing that people do. I suppose you have to do this to show off the clothes but I can’t help but picture myself doing it and just cringing.

I want to showcase my outfits somewhere. I think it’d be fun. However, I know that I’d never have the confidence to do anything like that. For one, I hate getting my photo taken. I am not in the least bit photogenic. How come bloggers and vloggers always are?

For now I think I’ll stick to Polyvore but in the future maybe I’ll branch out. We shall see what happens.

Animal Print Evening Look

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If you ever look at my Polyvore, you’ll probably notice how often I use this Saint Laurent bag. It, along with its nude counterpart, is one of my all time favourite bags. I think they go with almost every look, hence why I use it with so many. I actually think that it would be a worthwhile bag to invest in because you could get so much use out of it, and I know it would be at the top of my list (or maybe second to a classic Prada) if I had the money to buy an expensive bag.
As for these asymmetric strappy shoes, I love that style. I own several pairs of flats in this style but not any heels and I think I’d buy a pair like this, perhaps in a suede. When I originally seen shoes like this I loved them because they reminded me of the neckline of Marilyn Monroe’s pink dress in How To Marry a Millionaire – one of my favourite films.
The crop top reminded me slightly of Nicki Minaj’s Mugler look at the 2015 BET Awards, perhaps my all time favourite look of hers. I think it is a top that I’d wear myself, although you’d have to wear a pesky strapless bra.
Finally, the Altuzarra skirt is a classic. The style is wearable for anyone and the print is one that can look glamorous if done right. Leopard print is tricky but as long as you’re not vulgar with it, it can look great.