Monday, July 7, 2008
e.g. sportswear (Olympics), farmers, firefighters, sleepy University students
If clothes only serve a practical purpose, why wear them in the Bahamas, in a moviehouse, or in your livingroom?
If clothes are only meant to accentuate your looks, why not wear lingerie all day? Yes, a rather vulgar notion, but the point is, many sheep conform to society without knowing why, and your answers will help to jolt them out of their dull reverie.
Look here for even more spectacular Harper's Bazaar shots from the fifties.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Like all loving grandchildren, Val thanked her grandmother for the nice dress and then altered it severely. She is now putting off the day when she tells her grandmother. Photo on the left.
This outfit I like for its simplicity, and for the two details that you can't see very well--her red hair band and her necklace, which has nice designs. I also like the printed cloth on the wall but I can't give her credit for that.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
The hub of inspirational street fashion, Hel Looks, has provided me with my first subject. Please remember, this is merely a casual analysis, not an informed opinion. Also, nothing I say is a comment on this person as a person, but only on the way she dressed herself. It will be a positive review, never fear.
a. Choose outfits according to context and relationship.
She is wearing a striped collared shirt that adds an air of formality and care to her clothes, indicating that she cares about her appearance, and therefore, for the people on the street who have to see her. Nothing about her outfit is offensive in the West, generally. Her glasses give me the impression that she can be serious and focused if she wants to be.
b. Be aware that clothes tell a story.
She is carrying a weathered (leather?) briefcase, obviously because she wants to, not because she can't afford a new one.
[Side note: This ties into our generation's palate, formed by a deep-rooted nostalgia for the past. I think the cause of our nostalgia is a lack of story and tradition in our own lives that we believe was present in the past.]
The briefcase may be important to her because of where it came from, or, she may just like things that do not look factory-made. The little belt also adds shape to the shirt, flattering her figure, which is more the fifties look - a time when convention was very important, for better or worse.
[Side note: It's true that one-dimensional (American?) consumerism loves products that are flat, clean, and shiny new. The irony is that we, nostalgic and environmentally friendly as we wish we were, spend just as much money on worn clothing and accessories, all so that we can feel down-to-earth. Our desire to be more simple by wearing anything that looks historic and therefore from a time of hand-made goods - as if it was bought from Mr. Degas next door in his little shop - requires us to live anything but simple lives. However, it's a good thing that we turn away from the anonymity of the suburban commuter's culture. Whether we will ever be more than fake versions of the past is the real concern.]
c. Be imaginative.
She isn't wearing completely matching colours. The sweater is bright and bolder than her shirt, but still informal enough for on the street. Her black flats and grey leggings take care of the cute factor. Her hair, in my eyes, is the most important part of her look, because it's a little wild in a playful way without being unattractively out of order.
[Side note: Our generation's obsession with cuteness seems to be connected to our desire to be simple. Being cute is a child-like characteristic, and childhood is often less stressful, because of one's ignorance of the complexity of reality.]
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Immediately, these keywords come to mind: wealth, pleasure, suntanning lotion, perfect blue skies, sunglasses and manicures, men's suits, shine, leisure, drinking, sex.
Nothing is wrong with any of those things when they're enjoyed in the appropriate contexts, but this picture is a world of exclusion, where nothing else is allowed in, not to mention that the relationship between the man and woman is very clear - there is no sense of trust, child-like wonder, knowing love, or anything that could allow for imperfection or human frailty. The man overcomes the woman, while she coldly glances up at him. They inhabit a harsh, unkind, gated community, and all of this is evident merely based on the way they have chosen to carry themselves and dress themselves.
c. Be imaginative. You are not a carbon copy of Paris Hilton, even if you wish you were, so use your imagination and do something that might relieve people on the street from the boredom of routine. All rules are only there to give you something to work with - as with being given a piece of paper, or a piece of land, what you make of the basics is the exciting part. There are so many ways to express and communicate through your clothing, whether you celebrate, mourn, flirt, dream, or work.
I will try to use these rules to evaluate clothes, in a series of posts, so that I can test their relevance. If you, dear reader, have your own ideas about rules for dressing, please share them.