Fashion musings, Outfits


One of my favorite nuggets of fashion wisdom came from a magazine (Allure, maybe?) years ago, when a model-of-the-moment was asked for her best piece of advice for looking confident. Her answer? “Never look in a mirror.” It may have been intended as a tongue-in-cheek statement, but what if it were taken literally?

If there’s one thing Paris taught me, it’s that looking effortless goes hand-in-hand with feeling effortless. And after a month of being mirror-handicapped, I think there might be something to be gained from losing the mirror.  I’ve always considered it an integral part of the daily dressing routine–hell, I even named my blog after it. But what I’ve often found is that relying on a mirror is a slippery slope that leads to nitpicking every detail of an outfit, and it isn’t too long before you wind up with the sartorial equivalent of an overly botoxed face.

Now that I’m back in the presence of a full-length mirror, I’ve found that I’ve gone right back to seeking its approval before heading out the door. I’ve kind of even considered getting rid of it. I’ve tried self-imposing a ban on using it, though like a toxic on-again, off-again relationship, I inevitably find myself right back in front of it again. And you know what? My outfits haven’t been that great, or at least I haven’t felt as great in them as I did when I was dressing without a mirror. I think this might be because the mirror shows all of the possible worst case scenarios. Having scrutinized my outfit from every angle, I know all of the things that could go wrong with my outfit, like if my shirt comes untucked here, it’ll look more Hannah Horvath, less Hanne Gaby Odiele.

Dressing in front of a mirror is, quite literally, dressing to be seen. But if style is all about confidence, and confidence comes from within, shouldn’t feeling good in an outfit be enough to take that blind leap of faith out the door? And really, what does a mirror know about style, anyway? Does it have pattern-clashing credentials? Does it even know how to pronounce Balenciaga?  After all, if the end goal is effortless, I can’t think of what action throws caution to the sartorial winds more than saying “To hell with it!” and heading out the door with none of the usual visual affirmations a mirror provides, but with all of the comforts of knowing you feel good in an outfit fully intact.

I trust my gut to make most of my decisions, anyway, so why shouldn’t some of that same responsibility carry over to dressing?

As per usual, this post contained more questions than answers, and now I have one (or two) for you: do you rely on a mirror to get dressed in the morning? Or, have you made like Samantha in the first (and what arguably should have been last) SATC movie and eschewed them from your routine entirely? Tell me–I’m dying to know your morning routine. How you like your eggs, fried or fertilized? 

Fashion musings

Which came first, the outfit or the style?

It happens every few months or so, and it just so happened to have hit again this past week: I look into my closet and can’t find anything to wear.  Suddenly the printed trousers that looked so chic last week seem gaudy today; the cut off shorts no longer evoke a sense of grunge, instead they scream “I haven’t showered in a week.”  And thus begins the following series of rapid fire questions:  Okay, so if those pieces aren’t my style, then which ones are?  Wait, what is my style again?  Do I even have a style?  How the hell am I supposed to put together an outfit if I can’t even define my style?

That’s when the closet identity crisis really hits. And all the Real Housewives’ Personality Quizzes in Bravo’s arsenal can’t put me back together again.

This, my readers, is what is known as a fashion slump.  Suddenly nothing in my closet looks like my style, and I’m left uninspired and feeling a little awkward in whichever outfit I ultimately decide on.

Recently I stumbled upon an ever-so-timely episode of What Not To Wear, where the main protagonist put together these loud, crazy, costume-y vintage outfits, and I assumed she would have had a wild personality to match. Instead, it became painfully apparent that she used her outfits to compensate for what she felt was a lack of personality on her part.  Then, as reality TV so often provokes, I experienced a sort of deep, philosophical, style-induced inner monologue of questions: Is it possible to draw a line of distinction between a crazy outfit, and what is simply an extension of someone’s personal style? While we all wear clothing, at what point does the clothing wear the person? And, most importantly, the question that began the post–Which comes first, the outfit, or the style?

I’m a big believer in the power of fashion.  However, an outfit should never be used as a cover-up or something to hide behind.  Good style, like good design, isn’t glaringly obvious; rather, it works best when the form blends with the content, or in other words, the personality of the wearer with the clothing. And this isn’t to say that the best outfits are boring ones, and the worst are the extravagant ones.  The best outfits are the ones that you feel the most comfortable in, the ones that perfectly meld your personality with your style.  Style is a visible expression of your personality, and I’ve found that the women whose outfits I’m most drawn to are the ones who have a clear aesthetic that you can tell matches their personality, and they look all the more confident and radiant because of it.

Anyway, my answer to the above posed question is this: Your outfit should never speak louder than you.  Go ahead and experiment, and of course branch out and try a new trend every once in awhile.  And if crazy, wacky outfits are what you feel most comfortable in, then by all means, go for it. But clothing should never be used as something to hide behind or to cover up what you feel may be shortcomings in your personality.  They should be used as a visible explanation of your personality and interests, a walking billboard advertising you, if you will.

That all being said, I think it’s good to have a bit of a style revolution every few months.  As we evolve, our style should too, otherwise it wouldn’t be a very accurate representation of our personality. So, bottom line? What you wear should be an expression of who you are, but it should never be something you hide behind, and don’t be afraid to let it evolve.  Pretty empowering when you think about it, eh?

Aaanyway, this is really just a fancy way of saying stay tuned for what may or may not play out to be an experimental period for this blog.  Fun times, they are ahead.