Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Style Revolution

I've read some excellent posts lately about the evolution of personal style. Some bloggers, like the incomparable Skye, are veritably schizophrenic in their creativity. Others walk a tighter edge, and yet manage to be ever predictable in their elegance. It got me thinking about me, natch (what else do I do in this egocentric playground??) and about what I'm up to, stylistically.

Time was, I only dressed to look skinny. Not svelte, not slim, not willowy - I wanted to look a) tall b) flat and c) vaguely hungry. Of course, no amount of black was ever going to drop me off at that restaurant. Cuz I am a) short b) buxom and c) always eating. But youth is about experimentation. And experiment I did with the world's blandest array of cashmere, wool, silk, cotton and synthetics, all in various shades of noir.

It took having a baby, gaining weight I found challenging to lose and then losing that weight to determine that the goal of style - at least of my style - is not to look like skin and bones. I mean, there are so many stunning things to wear. So many beautiful things that come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and colours and textures and patterns. (Sidebar: Those of you who remember the early '80s must remind our younger sisters that textiles weren't anywhere as forgiving or malleable as they are today... I mean, if you had booty back then it was a challenge. And boobs? Well forget the crisp white button down with Lycra for some added give... Hello, they didn't even have Lycra when I was a girl. And everyday I walked 5 miles in the snow without a hat :-))

At the cusp of (gasp) middle age, I find myself giddy with sartorial desire. And rather confident, what with life having kicked me around a bit and me still being here. So I've made it my personal style mandate to get it on with as many looks as I possibly can - within the spectrum of my attractions, natch. I'm aiming for promiscuous, peeps. I'm a style slut. And those styles will do it with anyone!

Right now I'm seeing the following cadre of caddish fads:
  • Vintage - and by this I mean older than 30 years. I do like those mature looks. They have experience and they are rich.
  • The 80s - cuz sometimes you've just got to get back to where you once belonged.
  • Ultra-now: Welcome to asymmetric mystery fabrics, avant garde tailoring, hell, lame leggings.
Moreover, I do try to mix it up. You know, sometimes it's "group style" - the 70s loving up the 50s. The 60s with the 00s. I need to be free, you know?

Remember, Lovelies: Practice unsafe style. You have nothing to lose but your inhibitions.


  1. yes I need to play a little more. I know what I look good in but I never tend to go too close to the boundary of things.. predictable as you put it. As I read all these fab blogs I'm seeing more interesting things and understanding things more.. that gives me comfort and confidence to try some crazy stuff although I haven't shown that in my blog.

    No matter what age.. as long as we are alive our wardrobe should be alive too I think (as some author said in a book). That's what I'll do for the rest of my style life. experiment and be playful.

  2. You do all the daring that I don't dare to do.

    I stay with my safe punk and preppy looks. Mutually exclusive, I know, but I do it anyway.

    I really like your menu of looks; it's adventurous and creative.

  3. Seriously, life before spandex was such a grind for us curvy girls. I think it's a sign of hard-earned wisdom to dress to your figure. Most of us have to drudge through years of dressing for the body we WANT before we start focusing on dressing for the body we already HAVE. Some people never get there. Good on ya for a timely arrival. ;)

  4. You're right, dressing when we were younger was about following fashion; regardless of how it suited our individual bodies, or else dressing against ourselves, trying to look thin and hungry as you say.
    I am trying to think of what defined my style in the 90's and I don't think it existed. I just wore that corporate uniform of high street extrapolated Armani, with minimal personality or flair.
    Whereas now, having got my body back from 2 babies and learned to appreciate it, I don't follow any trend that doesnt flatter me individually; and I strive for a unique take. Whether that be thrifted (and therefore out of date) or from the sale rack, or even from the kid's department, I don't care. As long as it isn't recognizably mainstream.
    And yes, Hallejeuia! Praise all the angels that big bumptious bottoms are finally acceptable. Why didnt we just listen to our boyfriends 20 years ago and embrace the big butt? It is there, you can't run away from it, and it is very comfortable to sit on.

  5. Unsafe Style - I love it!
    I've never given much thought at all to why I dress the way I do, until this blogging thing started. I'm still not really sure, I'm a playful person by nature but I know it goes deeper than that.

  6. I think since I started blogging I have evolved my style, but since a few years I have been trying to practice the unsafe style.
    What I got... People staring at me, co-workers gossiping... but also the support of many bloggers and the fun to play with clothes and to try putting "my artistic side" on.

    Insightful post K. Great.


  7. As long as you keep wearing those white Camero jeans I'm a happy camper!

  8. Great post, I think it's fun to experiment with different styles, I find it hard to have a "difinitive" style... it would feel a bit like wearing the same perfume or jewellery every day

  9. Playful is a great word to use, Songy. The blogs have totally inspired me too.

    E: You fall into the predictably elegant category. Not bad, IMO!

    Sal: Bow to the person who invented the flexi-mystery fabrics :-)

    Hammie: Comfie indeed! Don't you think that returning from the post-baby body is a special kind of accomplishment?

    Skye: You are a true innovator - reusing things from the past with things of the moment to create excellent looks. It's playful with an undefinable extra!

    Seeker: Don't you love it when the work friends think you're nuts?! It means you're really working it :-)

    Wendy: Words to live by.

    Mattie: I'll be wearing them just for you :-) I have a special post up my sleeve. I just need the time to pull it together.

    Bronwyn: It's true, the more you mix it up, the more exciting it is. That's something I'm really learning with each new look.

  10. i agree with ur philosophy of unsafe style, i practice it on most days (except when i am lazy!). :-)

  11. I await with baited breath the resulting photos of this experiment. I think all of my experimenting with style was done in the 80's/early 90's. That is not to say that I won't mix it up, but I know what works and what doesn't, and it is easier to be brave within that framework. Lame leggings will be seen here on Roller Disco day.

  12. C: Wait till my style experiment in tomorrow's post. :-)

    SKM: Roller disco day is right around the corner for me. I have a wacky post lined up that is very unsafe :-)