Monday, January 28, 2008

My Fashion Philosophy: Follow the Leader (Not that it's necessarily a good thing to do so...)

Do you think the outfit the girl in this picture is wearing ^^^ is attractive? Like, upon first glance, would you exclaim “this outfit is hot!” or would you be more inclined to say “WTF was she thinking?” I mean, I’m not a fashionista, but I get it. Like, notice how the yellow and black in the tights corresponds with the yellow in the dress. I surely noticed that… after someone else pointed it out to me. LOL! And notice that cute little Fendi clutch down there in the bottom-left hand corner of the page?

I didn’t either. (Until someone else pointed it out.)

As I said before, I am no fashionista. Merriam-Webster defines “fashionista” (yes, it is a real word - in the dictionary!) as “a designer, promoter, or follower of the latest fashions”. Designer, I am not; promoter… nah. “Follower”? Well, yes. That would be a good way to describe me. If someone points me in the right direction, I can see why a certain outfit is fashionable. But I have to have that guidance. When I was a kid, my mom always taught me to never “put a figure with a figure” (meaning stripes don’t go with polka dots), and that if I wanted to wear a vibrant color or a print, I needed to pair it with a neutral color. As I got a little older and my friends started expressing themselves through their clothing, I never caught that creativity bug because I was still bound by the rules drilled into my head in my youth.

We all know, as evidenced in previous posts, that I am risk averse. That aversion also manifests itself in the clothing that I wear. Black is a staple for me. When (if) I decide to wear an actual color, it is always paired with denim, black, chocolate brown, navy, or charcoal gray. I feel as though I need balance… I am afraid of looking like I am trying too hard, so I play it safe and don’t try at all.

I am often scolded by older women in my life, saying that I need to loosen up with my clothing and have fun with color and style. But I am afraid. Afraid to look like a poser, like a wannabe. So, I just stay in my lane. Nothing too crazy over here.

That picture above is Ms. Genevieve Jones. She is a New York-based socialite (with a somewhat shady past) who manages to effortlessly move and shake her way through the trust fund crowd. She is now known as a fashionista. When she first came on the scene, I’m willing to bet that she couldn’t afford a stylist, so I’m gonna assume that her fashion-ability comes naturally. But almost immediately, she was a “person to watch” on all the best-dressed lists. That’s quite a feat since fab dressers come a dime a dozen in The Big Apple.

Sites like Fashionista and Project Beltway prove that regular, everyday people can have an incredible sense of style. I don't know anything about the creators of Fashionista, but I know Project Beltway was started by a young woman here in DC who got tired of hearing that people in DC have no style. So, she took to the streets of the Nation's Capital with her digital camera and started taking pictures of people she encountered who were wearing outfits to die for.

My MALE best friend was just born stylish. He is not gay, just a straight man who cares about the way that he looks. He can reflexively put together an outfit. Like, he can take a look at one piece of clothing and tell you what to pair it with to make a killer outfit. Which is why, on a dreary day in October, he was captured by the creator of Project Beltway and featured on that site for his fashion sense. He's also been featured in The Washington Post for the same reason. I kid you not...

But, there are some of us that will just never be the wo/man that other wo/men watch in awe and wonder – where did she get that dress? Or, hmmm… I would’ve never thought to put that ties with that suit. (And before you ask, yes, women do look at other women. In most cases, women STUDY other women to see what they have going on and whether or not they could do it better.)

In an effort to try to gain some fashion sense by osmosis, I took a look at a few of the young ladies featured in the Streetwalker section of Picture this outfit*: yellow cowlneck sleeveless sheath worn over a grass green long-sleeved crewneck dress, paired with leopard print tights and gray slouchy boots. A number of the comments suggested that this was a fashion miss, but noticed this woman and marketed her as a fashion-winner for taking the risk! As a result of not playing it safe… not pairing her yellow sheath with something black and boring, she chose to be the one that stands out in the room. And, for some reason… I got the outfit. Immediately, I understood it. And I LIKED it.

When it comes to fashion, I am a good follower, so I guess that makes me a fashionista after all! A Brown Girl in leopard tights could be coming soon…

At any rate, it takes a very self-assured person to gamble on an outfit like Ms. Jones and/or woman in the leopard tights. If you see someone in an outfit like Genevieve’s you know that person has to be somewhat comfortable in their skin to just put together any print and or color combination that they feel like sporting on that particular day. It’s all about having the guts to rock out. And, let’s face it y’all, confidence is clearly the most fashionable accessory of all…

*FYI: this is the picture to which I was referring. Does the outfit look the way you pictured it? is it a fashion hit or miss? Now that I review the pic again, I think she could’ve done the outfit with a different choice of footwear and it would’ve made the outfit even stronger.

A couple other cool outfits:

(she got her tie from a member of a Mariachi band. no joke...)

(And this... *sigh*... this outfit just friggin ROCKS! there's no other way to say it... this is what I aspire to. I'll be 30 in less than 2 years. I don't have very long before I will look like a grown woman pathetically TRYING to look like a youngin. Yikes!)


Lives life in the safe lane said...

I'm pretty 'boring' too, but I'd like to think I generally look ok. I am too scared of that many prints. But that's fine by me.

Arlene...blackorchid said...

shame i know where those tights came from - Roberto Cavalli H&M collection...LOL. Anywho, I do like being a fashionista, but I've always somewhat expressed myself through my clothing. I've said this before, try something you're comfortable wearing in a color you'd never wear. Even if you hate the color, you've tried something different. Thats all fashion is about, expressing yourself!

Kindred said...

Hmmm you know I loooove looove looove fashion.. Girl this was such a good blog! I remember having that convo with you about your choice in color - I think u were trying to be daring with your footwear! But basically the accessories are the easiest to experiment with color.. so what if you wear only choc brown, navy, black gray.. pair it up with some funky colored tights, bangles, purse footwear.. that way you are still comfortable in your own stle, but you are just adding to.. DARE TO DARE!! LOL

hugs and kisses
your ATL Kindred Spirit