Reflections

Sartorial Resolutions

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It was one of those nights where, at 3 a.m., a closet cleaning seemed like a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Inspired by a few glasses of wine and a barrage of finals work that needed desperately to be done, but more importantly needed to be avoided, I started tearing through my closet and pulling out anything that caught my eye for the wrong reasons. This one hadn’t been worn in years, that one I just didn’t like, this one didn’t fit.

It was the last pile that grew the quickest. To my left, that tuxedo romper I loved, and bought even though it was only available four sizes too big, foolishly thinking to myself, I can make this work (I couldn’t).  To my right, about six pairs of pants of varying washes and wears but with one thing in common: They were inexcusably long. The wheels started to turn that maybe there was something wrong with my closet.

Cue another night, two weeks later, same time, when I found myself sitting on the floor of my apartment, methodically hemming all of my pants. The inspiration came after the recent purchase of a pair of Gap jeans that hit my ankle so perfectly that it opened my eyes to the length that pants should be. It was then that a crushing realization hit me: Have I been wearing poorly-fitting clothing my whole life?

 

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I think it must have begun with one wrongly-sized item bought out of a lack of sizing options, and spiraled from there. The oversized clothing trend in the early 2010s certainly didn’t help. Also filed securely under “Not Helpful” was the trend amongst bloggers to recommend buying clothing from the boy’s section at J.Crew because they allegedly had way better clothing. They did, but there comes a point in every 20-something-year-old’s life when you have to admit to yourself that whatever money saved by shopping in the kids’ section is not worth the judgmental glares.

This closet situation isn’t unique to me. I’ve had a male friend lament to me on several occasions about the difficulty his god-given proportions presented him with when it came to clothes shopping. It seemed part of his torso was convinced it was a small, while the other part felt more at home in a medium.

Whether it be length, an in-between waist, or a torso that can’t quite decide its size, we all have weird workarounds we have to account for while clothes shopping. Sacrifices must be made. The aforementioned friend has created a system of buying smalls and owning the fact that his shirts, in the fit department, will always come up a bit short.

 

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At a certain point, it becomes more about being honest about your body’s proportions. For me, this means making the shift to buying petite jeans, despite a nearly-lifelong campaign against being pegged as a petite. (Can’t we come up with a better name? Like ‘More Badass packed into a smaller size’? Petite just sounds so dainty.) It requires some extra effort, sure, but it’s probably a lot less effort, than, say, spending five hours hemming your own pants.

And so, in the spirit of New Years’ resolutions, I’m offering up my guidelines for shopping for clothing this coming year:

I admit…

  •  that a belt will not make it look better. I own very few belts and despise them all, so relying on one to make this item work is not realistic.
  • that no matter how cute the idea or fit of the garment is, an XL will always fit me like a trash bag. Always. Except at H&M, and then it fits like small.
  • if a pair of pants needs to be rolled more than twice, they are officially too long and not made for me. There are a billion pairs of pants out there, and this is 2015. Find a pair that fits.
  • regardless of chicness and general oversizedness, I am not an Olsen twin and never will be. Don’t be fooled by the similarity in stature—they were born with the genetics to make it work. You were not. Put it down.

 

What about you? Which guidelines have you created for shopping? Do you also find yourself buying clothing more suited for a 300 lb/6 ft tall man? Tell me, let’s commiserate.

 

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Reflections

What is Fashion, Anyway?

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This post contains a fleshing out of ideas that were set in motion after attending Teen Vogue Fashion University, that only recently became coherent thoughts. While there, I noticed everyone was certainly fashionable–that is, they were wearing the latest trends. Asymmetrical, or mullet skirts, fur, top knots, maxi dresses, pastels and lace abounded. However, what seemed to be a bit less represented was personal style.

The internet and social media have played a fantastic role in shaping today’s world of fashion. Websites such as Pinterest, as well as personal style blogs, have allowed consumers to have greater access to trends in fashion. And because of the instant-update nature of these websites (as well as their popularity), it has allowed trends to reach a greater audience in a much shorter period of time.

Consumers that normally wouldn’t have had access to the runways can now go online an live stream the shows, and often Pin their favorite looks (as well as shop, thanks to Moda Operandi) straight from the runway. We no longer have to wait until next season for trends that appeared on the runway to appear in stores; in just a few short weeks, those trends will be available for purchase in fast fashion houses such as Zara and H&M.

All of this has, in a good sense, led to the democratization of fashion. Gone are the days when fashion editors are the only ones able to participate in the trends. However, at the other end of the spectrum, it has also led to a lack of diversity.

Because trends are so readily available for the viewing, consumers are constantly told what is in this season, and what is out. This leaves much less wiggle room, if you will, to experiment. We know what is fashionable and what looks good together because we are bombarded with images of it everywhere we click on the internet. And I’m guilty of it as well–a search of my closet will reveal plenty of mullet skirts and jackets with leather sleeves. It’s hard to ignore trends when they’re all we see, and even harder when they’re the only thing we can shop for in stores.

Although a part of me may die every time someone wears them, we do need people wearing Crocs and Uggs (or, shudder, the ubiquitous Uggs and shorts look) for the sake of diversity. Because, without technically unfashionable people, fashionable wouldn’t be able to exist. I would go so far as to argue that there is no such thing as fashionable today–rather, there are only different types of personal style. If you know what looks good on you, wear it and own it, and if maxi dresses aren’t your thing, don’t worry. There are plenty of other styles out there ready to be worn.

So, the takeaway? As difficult as it may be to go against the fashion grain, cultivate your own individual style. This may mean focusing less on what’s trendy, or it may mean wearing only trends. Find what works for you and wear it, because everyone has the ability to have their own voice in fashion today. It is a democracy, after all.

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Outfits

Cut It Out

Recently I’ve noticed an increase in strategically cut clothing in my wardrobe. One explanation might be that trading out the climate of Maine for that of Florida has led to creative innovations with my clothing, in which cut outs become something closer in kin to air vents, and less of a fashion statement. However, while climate certainly plays an important role in wardrobe choice, there may be another force at work, that force being the one that asserts the position that sometimes wearing a garment with cutouts is simply much more fun. Below, a series of photos:

From the top: A traditional black dress becomes a dress with a view of the shirt underneath when a window is installed into the back. The next features a romper with legs, or a jumpsuit as it is otherwise known. This one hails from Free People and also happens to have a drop crotch, which is either intentional or due to a poor fit, I can’t decide. Lastly, a dress that is no stranger to this blog shows off its many, many cutouts while also functioning as an effective air conditioner. And although these three looks center around the cutouts of the clothes, it should also be pointed out that sometimes, the best cutout is the one on your head.

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Outfits

One Dress, Two Ways

 

One dress, two ways, or in other words, the outfit I liked so much I wore it twice. The first iteration dabbles in the skant, with a pair of jeans underneath the dress.  In the second, the skant makes itself scarce and the outfit becomes less tap dance performance, more  fashion show appropriate with the addition of ankle boots. A leather jacket toughens up the look, and my face becomes somewhat of a kaleidoscope with face paint courtesy of Tawney’s Body Paint at last night’s SoLily Glitterama Fashion show.

In the last photo, you may notice a toolbox in the lower left corner. This is because I spent the majority of this past week building a loft, realizing it was built backwards and thus was structurally unsound, slept in it anyway for two days, then finally took it apart and reassembled it the right way. I’m not a carpenter for a reason. My weekend of woodworking aside, however, how was your weekend? Did you undertake any big projects? If so, here’s to hoping they went right the first time.

Want more? Read my recap of the SoLily Fashion Show here.

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