Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Advanced Fashion -- Do Try This At Home

I love it when I'm right...

So the Marni top is back from the cleaner and the YSL skirt is back from the tailor and I bunged them right on and here it is.

First off, time to bust out the self-tanner and take care of the runner's tan on my arms. Yoiks, that's unattractive. Secondly -- whaddya think?

(I NEVER feel sillier than when I am posing for these pictures, and I? Am a pretty silly woman, my friends.)

Me, I kinda love it. No, I don't kinda love it, I full-on love it. (Click on photos to make 'em bigger.) I have a feeling most folks will not. I have a feeling most folks will be discombobulated or discomfited by this. Some might even react violently, or at least vehemently. I fully understand that this is the sort of outfit that is going to provoke a strong reaction in people. I'm a little amused by that, because when you consider the grand scale of How Weird an Outfit Can Be, this really doesn't even register.


Someone called Annabelle Gutman. I have no idea who she is. I don't want to know who she is. Oh, so much wrongness in one place... I feel deep regret at having inflicted this upon you, but I'm making a point here.

So. When you big-picture it, my little skirt & top combo is pretty tame. I might be talked into throwing a long ivory cashmere cardigan over the ensemble to bring it down a wee bit, but then again I might not. Right now my primary quibble with this look is that the top is longish and full -- I may have to wear a pair of Spanx or something of that ilk to tuck it into in order to make a smoother line under the skirt, and that gives me pause. Post weight-loss, I sort of did a Scarlett O'Hara, fist-shaking, as-god-as-my-witness renunciation of Spanx, but that may have to fall by the wayside. (I've also been thinking Spanx might be in order for the other skirt I bought at the same time as this one, since it's unlined and I'm never going to find a double-vented, me-colored slip that won't bunch up underneath it.)

Why does this work for me? That's a tough question to answer. Breaking it down, I feel like any given color in the entire outfit works with any other color -- there's no color clash. The silhouettes of both pieces are super-simple, so there are no extra bells & whistles to add to the busy-ness. I think that prints have a similar...
feel to them, and the fact that they are abstract make it easier to see them each as sort of a color field rather than a pattern -- my eye sort of glides over the print & takes it in, rather than focusing on any one part of it. If one of these pieces were a traditional floral, say, it wouldn't work, because I think I would focus on the recognizable object or a discernible pattern in the print and that combined with the randomness would be jarring.

Oy. Blah blah pretentiousfashionspeak fishcakes blah. The short answer is, I dunno, it just does. I just look at it and think, "Yes. Good. Like it." Why do I like Mark Rothko's paintings? I dunno. I just do.

I'm still on the lookout for a good solid navy top to wear with this skirt (of course, a simple thing that is apparently
impossible to find, story of my fashion life), which would provide me with a less eyebrow-raising option. Because I have to confess, I'm not sure I'll ever wear this outfit like this. High as I like to wave my fashion freak flag, I know a lot of folks will find it pretty difficult. I have a couple of IRL friends who will go to bed with a migraine after one look at this, and perhaps I should not inflict it on them. This makes me a little sad. The truth is that I frequently walk that tightrope between what I want to wear and what I feel like other people want me to wear. I know that will come as a surprise to many who know me and consider me the most outré dresser of their acquaintance, but the truth is I modify my sartorial impulses quite a bit on a regular basis. I love fashion, but I live in the real world, and my real world happens to be Austin, TX, where cutting-edge is approximately as sharp as a butter knife. So next time I start yammering away about being yourself and wearing what makes you happy, the rest of the world be damned, feel free to call me on my BS. I gotta be me and all that, but I don't want to embarrass my friends to the point where they don't want to have drinks with me, and so I dress accordingly.

Honestly, I think I like this outfit too much to let it languish unseen, even knowing that it's going to elicit all those backhanded quasi-compliments I've gotten so many times over the years: "Wow, I would never have thought to put those things together!" "Gosh, I could never pull off something like that." Or my favorite, "Well, you can wear anything!" (Really? What does that even mean??)

And the next time anyone looks a me sideways, I'm going to whip out a photo of Feathers McKiniwax up there and tell them to count their blessings -- it could be much, much worse.

Photos: Style Spy, gofugyourself.com

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Susan B said...

I have to tell you, I think it's a cute combo and really NOT that outré. And you know my own level of fashion cutting edge is somewhere between butter knife and that little paring knife that you always keep meaning to sharpen but never do. Wear it.

Jessica B said...

Whatever. The outfit is awesome. You look awesome and I totes think you should go for it. And you'll know that you look awesome no matter what anyone else says. Awesome.

materfamilias said...

Oh, I hope you do take it past your front door -- I was intrigued when you suggested this combo earlier and I'm convinced by these photos -- I really like this, and I think you look fabulous in it!

Claudia said...

yeah.... go for it! You know that I'm not quite so much butter knife as, well, spoon, and I say wear it out for drinks somewhere very expensive. Hopefully with someone else buying :)

Someone said...

"Oy. Blah blah pretentiousfashionspeak fishcakes blah."

Truer words were never spoken!

I like Rothko too, though as a former art historian I might use different terminology.

Anyway...I like the outfit, LOVE the skirt...however I think the shoes may not quite be up to the other pieces. Ankle strap is too much horizontal, though nude is a good choice of color.

Must commiserate, too, on the problem of non-coastal fashion language barrier. I grew up an hour from NYC and in Boston, and despair of having many understand my nonverbal fashionspeak here in the Midwest. Sigh. Amazing what a pain that really is.

Anonymous said...

Please, please don't let others rule your style! Please, wear this outfit!!! You look great and if you want people to reach "greater" fashion levels in TX (or around you), it has to start somewhere, somehow sooooo... Here you are ;-)
Gros bisous!

sarahn said...

It's not difficult, it's lovely. People will look twice, but in a good way. Wear it with pride. Wear it with a neutral wide belt to break up the pattern-mashing. Go forth and be you.

Anonymous said...

You're really over-thinking this.
It works. So go with it. :)
Karen G.

Anonymous said...

I think these pieces look great together, and I'll put my boot in anyone who gives you the side-eye.

That said, if I'm going to feel self-conscious in an outfit, it's usually best I don't wear it. Here in Portland (land of ubiquitous Gore-Tex and jeans at the symphony), wearing a 3" heel gets you scowls from women on the street. Much of the time, I dress down to avoid that kind of negative attention.

The people who say things like "You can wear anything" and "I would never think of wearing that together" probably aren't backhanding you with brass knuckles, even though it might feel that way. They're just envious that you 1) have the creative sense of style they lack and/or 2) have the self-confidence to wear what you love, even if it means standing out in a sea of jeans and college t-shirts.

Lillian said...

I'm not too crazy about this combo. To me it seems like the two patterns and two strong colors are just shouting at each other - rather than getting along!

Lillian said...

I'm not too crazy about this combo. To me it seems like the two patterns and two strong colors are just shouting at each other - rather than getting along!

Leah said...

I think it's beautiful, and I don't think very many people would think otherwise - WEAR IT!

madame suggia said...

Love. It. Wear it, wear it, wear it!

vee said...

Feathers McKiniwax! ROTFL!!!!

This outfit is fantastic, especially once you get the shirt to behave. Personally, I'm a big fan of Flexies, because let's face it, even the firmest of bodies can use a little help making sure the lines of an outfit are smooth.

Elaine said...

I don't understand what's supposed to be weird about it. It's quite sharp. I can think of many places that you could wear that without raising a single eyebrow.

If you ever happen to run into Feathers McKiniwax, first of all, I'm very sorry to hear that and second, please tell her to never allow herself to be photographed from that angle. It makes her look like a troll. A scary, blue-feathered, stumpy troll and I suspect that's not the look she was going for. Do you suppose she realizes that her "come hither" look would in fact make most men want to "go thither?"

Thumbelina Fashionista said...

Two things:

1. I also love this outfit. Normally I'm not much of a print gal, and I never wear more than one print at a time. That said, I still think this works. You look great, and I think if you love it as much as you do, wear it!

2. YOUR ARMS...My God. They're amazing. Do you and Michele Obama have the same trainer?!

HeatherB said...

I absolutely love it.

Your dear Ms. Gutman needs to put down the crack pipe.

Anonymous said...

wait a minute. . .did we not JUST see you a couple of weeks ago out on the town in in ankle boots, fishnets, tulle and a fur collar?

I think you're going to be just fine in this pairing.
PS I have a fancy party Friday. . .what's your (and other readers') opinion on a black velvet dress (that one I bought from you, SS) in April??? It's not going anywhere--I'll have it next winter so I'm not desparate--but I haven't gotten to wear it out yet. . .Opinion anyone???

StyleSpy said...

Holy cow! I'm a little overwhelmed (in a good way) by the reader support here. Done and done! I will be wearing this outfit at the next available opportunity!

Gosh, my readers have excellent taste...

Someone -- I should probably get some pointers from you on how to articulate how I respond to Rothko other than, "They're just so beautiful they make me want to cry."

vee -- are Flexies less... er, fierce than Spanx? If so, where can I get some?

Elaine -- I think the thing that slays me most about Feathers' get-up is the mary janes. Mary janes!!!! In what universe do you look at that outfit and think, "Ooh, I know. Mary janes!"

Thumbelina -- the arms are the result of many, many years of working behind a bar and a 4 to 5-mile a day running habit. Plus my dad's good slow-twitch genes. Thanks, Dad!

Heather -- obviously she has to put it down, because she sure as hell doesn't have any pockets to stash it in!

Melissa -- you make an excellent point. As to the black dress -- WEAR IT!! Get all gussied up & send me a picture!!!

A Doll a Day said...

Flexees (sorry, spelled wrong in my last post) are much less "fierce" than Spanx. I think Spanx are great if you have an extra 20+ pounds you need sucked in (been there, done that), but I'm a big fan of the Flexees power singlet, which allows one the option of wearing a separate bra (essential for us bigger busted gals) but still smooths the line from breast through thigh.

You can find them at most major department stores, and here's a link to the power singlet at Macy's:


I usually wait until they go on sale (a typical sale price is 30% off and it happens a few times throughout the year) and then stock up.

I also really like their light control thigh slimmers in the summer under skirts. They keep thighs from chafing in the heat, since no matter how thin I get my thighs will always touch!

dana said...

Ok, I wasn't seeing it until I made the pics larger. And I'm totally there! The blue is dark enough and the off white, taupe? in the skirt is off enough, you are not channelling Betsey Ross. The nude sandals are perfect. Can you do a baby soft off white cardigan with a red belt? I only say that b/c my arms would freeze in the a/c.

dana said...

And fer some crazy reason, I keep picturing the McQ black lace top with that skirt. ???

Sydne @ ThinkThruFashion said...

Absolutely LOVE the combo. Very unique, but not too zany to scare people off. And it doesn't hurt to have your rockin body!