Archive for November, 2012

November 29, 2012

Fashion values: the unbearable balance between being unique and on trend

My very own bowler-deemed-cloche hat from Marc by Marc Jacobs, courtesy of the Outnet

Is it just me, or everyone instantly thinks of Milan Kundera when confronted with the word “unbearable”? Nevermind that; let us enjoy however the fact that we (I) were (was) reminded of one of his great novels, a particular one which pays homage to the bowler hat at a certain crucial point — The Unbearable Lightness of Being is what we are talking about, friends — and linger on the headpiece for a few minutes.

(…)

Hats are, I believe, a great transition point in terms of personal style. When one decides to wear such headpiece on a regular basis, an important point has been made: “I truly don´t care if you think I look ridiculous”. The fact is that unless you are Queen Elizabeth II, your hat may be passionately criticized by the public in general, not in the constructive way; let us remember that most of the regular people — those who think Anna Dello who? is a weird, crazy woman, A.K.A the majority of the population living on Earth — find Philip Treacy fascinators absolutely ridiculous.

However, when moving back to the fashion grounds — meaning those places in which the letters A,D,R have a meaning as obvious as F,D,R do — your choice of hat will speak even more loudly of the commitments your soul has made to sartorialism: will you go with tradition, emulating gangsters with a fedora, early twentieth-century starlets with a cloche, Fred Astaire with a top hat…? Or will you prefer to instead pay homage to a Cézanne painting — or Carmen Miranda, it all depends on your own personal references — and go for a piece rather similar to a basket of fruit?

What is unique, and what is trendy, when it comes to wearing hats? Everything or nothing? Is there a hat equivalent to what Isabel Marant wedge sneakers meant to fashion this year (this is extreme rhetorics, as the obvious answer is NO)? In fact, what kind of opportunities are created and destroyed for a fashionista when such a massive takeover occurs — should one stay true to the sneakers because even though they do not display one´s unique eye for style anymore, they are still rather cool; perhaps more importantly, they are so now? On the other hand, how far from whatever is so now can one go for the sake of outlining strong personality and still be fashionable? To me, there is clearly a dialogue between trend and not that for its subtlety, makes it all the more magical when a look really works — try to notice how originality actually emerges from very private dialogues between the old and the new.

Hats are, to me, the epitome of such discussion between uniqueness and trendiness — because there is very little else that strongly evocates timelessness and at the same time, as strong and potentially insane as this particular accessory; the attitude, here, comes from deciding to tell your own story in the form of a thing you will wear on your head.

November 9, 2012

Virtual shelves and our propensity to buy expensive clothes

This scene wouldn´t have happened in our days — Vivian would have had net-a-porter

I have recently developed a theory about designer e-commerce and our propensity to buy expensive clothes: I think the internet makes us more comfortable purchasing items from tried and true, high-quality brands than we would should we follow our “normal”, physical world inclinations to such indulgences.

Firstly, the internet is far less intimidating than fancy, shiny stores with tons of security and two huge guys in black suits and sunglasses suggesting you might be regarded as a delinquent as you may or may not be allowed to enter the whimsical insides of a Prada store — and if you do, you also may or may not receive the approving nod of the salespersons in place, a doubt that provokes great fear of reliving the dreadful experience Julia Roberts had on her first day shopping on her movie Pretty Woman — without having Richard Gere on hand for a next day redemption splurge.

Secondly, and I think this is my most interesting breakthrough, the internet does not provide the sense of cut, quality and detail one achieves by physically experimenting with many options, online, realtime, pun intended. Thus, a respected, though expensive brand offers a guarantee that what you see is what you get: I definitely feel more safe about how a purchase will fit me and about the quality and detail of the fabric if the item in question is Stella McCartney and its measurements correspond to mine, then if I buy from a fast-fashion shop, even though I do buy a lot of stuff from the latter — if in a real store, not a virtual one. There is a reason why they are cheaper: not only that they copy designs and use materials of (usually) lesser quality, but also the fact their cuts are much more industrial and less supervised and their finish idem.

Last, but not least, it is rather rare to see a big red lettering outside a Gucci store shouting “SALE – 80% off” — not so much on net-a-porter. So why not spend a few extra bucks — a few, maybe not so much — and instead of buying three items of lesser quality, get a great pair of shoes for about 150 bucks? I often subscribe to that sentiment.

So how do you feel? Do you think you are actually more inclined to purchase designer clothes on the internet than in actual stores made of brick and stuff? Are your reasons similar to those I have exposed here?

November 7, 2012

On elections

Elections are over and Obama will be ruling a very important part of the world for quite a while. And even though there was a lot of talk about the Americans being rather torn between him and Romney, I just never really got where exactly those so many Romnatics were supposed to be — I don´t think I even met any, although I do know they exist somewhere. Anyway, that shouldn´t exactly be an excellent point considering the fact I am not American, nor live in America, but then again, taking into consideration the rather comfortable win that kept Mr. O. exactly where he is for another four years, I guess it was an excellent point anyway.

As a citizen of a world that still largely depend on the US for its stability and wellbeing, I did keep my eye on the American presidential elections. My point today is to remind everyone that blissfully, the US conserves many characteristics intrinsic to democratic republics and one of those is the fact the President is not all powerful and much of what you vote for is for coherence and ideals, as well as the action that is promised. So patience is required if (a) the President cannot live up to all his promises in one term, but does show coherence in his pursuits and (b) overall, considering how things were when the President got there, things did get better. To me, it comes to a matter of balancing the candidate´s intentions and competence, not simply to making a checklist of what has and has not been achieved among everything that has been promised — promises are a reference of intention, as achievement is a reference of competence.

Having said that, I will now have tea.

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