Aug 042007

(Thank you for your comments on my last post. Since there are so many great pieces of advice in there I’ll round them up with my own ideas in the next post or so. Thank you for being patient.)

When I first learned and cared about fashion it was because I needed to learn the rules in order not to be uncool. At first it all eluded me. Which colors match which? Why? Why weren’t you supposed to wear green and blue together and then, just a few years later it was no problem? I learned the names of colors, of garments, A-line and H-line, wedge heel, kitten heel…

Fashion was important. It was a grown-up thing. And from the start I learned that it was constantly in flux.

Then I used my “expertise” to judge others. “I would never wear that.” “Look at her.” Once, on a subway, I stared at the woman sitting in front of me with such disdain that I made her squirm. Well, she was dressed all wrong. I’d still like to apologize to her.

My own style, by the way, was not beyond judgement. Instead of cool, and also because I lacked money, I turned to eccentric, never taking fashion serious enough to really pull that off. It all culminated in neon-yellow pants with printed cartoon mice topped with a neon-yellow sweater and an enormous green silk scarf and gigantic pink glasses in the 80s. Neon colored knitted sweaters and bright, cheap earrings hanging down to my shoulders.

Then I followed the lead of a friend, I grew tired of mixing pink, yellow, and green, and started to buy only classic clothes in black, red, and grey. The number of clothes I owned shrunk, but at least my style got better and I didn’t look like a clown anymore who had fallen into the sales bin at a very cheap store. Then other things got more important. I didn’t think about fashion anymore. I started to feel that I was too old to care about things like that. And I had found my style. No need to change anything. If something wore out I replaced it.

But then I started to notice that nobody else was wearing straight jeans with baggy sweaters anymore. Or silk scarves. Well, nobody under 30 anyway. And I started to look at fashion again. After all I can dress like a little old lady when I will be a little old lady. No need to look all dated. (And I seriously doubt that I will ever look little.)

And this is where I am now. I’m no longer buying fashion magazines, I find them boring. I look at other people instead. What are young women wearing? Those between 16 and 30? What of that might work for me?

And in the last few weeks I have found “A Dress A Day” and “The Sartorialist“. I found them through Lia who claims to have no interest in fashion. Those two blogs have made me think different about fashion again. They are looking for the unusual, the personal, and at least Erin from “A Dress a Day” doesn’t exactly follow current mainstream fashion. Her blog is all about the deep love for vintage dresses. It happens that right now dresses are “in” again but I have the feeling that she will continue to love those dresses and wear them even when they will be out of fashion again.

In the process of re-inventing myself before turning forty I also subscribed to Missus Smartypants for a brief period. You get recommendations for what to chose that is appropriate for your body type. Very helpful. Also a friend once told me I should reconsider my love of black, grey and red since I look far better in browns and such. (I wrote about that in “Color, orange …“.) And I discovered “Friday style” which is very lovely too (You just have to love somebody who writes about fashion and writes headlines as “Because healthy is always stylish.). Reading those blogs give me inspiration without having to wade through pictures of incredibly thin and badly styled models and half a magazine of ads.

So, there still is a little of that quest for being cool in my interest concerning fashion. There is also a love of beautiful things. I used to go window-shopping at Munich’s most expensive fashion boutiques. I never entered one of those. I didn’t even wanted to have the clothes for me (they wouldn’t have fit anyway) but I loved looking at them. Like going to a museum.

I’m still puzzled that fashion has become as important to me as it was when I was 13 or so. But then maybe this is part of midlife crisis. Who knows. Just now it gives me pleasure to think about clothes and look at them. Not that I shop a lot, I don’t. And I’m still mostly wearing jeans and tees and sneakers. But I try to chose flattering ones.

And you? Are you interested in clothes? Or not? I’d love to know.

  11 Responses to “Fashion”

  1. I’ve never developed an interest in fashion. I am big, and many women’s clothes don’t fit me.

    But capri pants are a godsend. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I love clothes, I kind of think of them as an extension of art, and I am an artist. So, when I look like crap, I feel like I am bringing down property values, you know?

  3. I came back from an inspired shopping spree for the job I know I want to read your mail.

    In my cupboard hangs a demure grey skirt with a flirtatious pleat and bow. A cream silk chiffon skirt with oriental flowers and a small frill peeping out showing polka dots. A formal white and black striped shirt cut like a japanese wrap around with a chinese colar.

    Standing in the shop seeing myself in a job I love I suddenly felt the urge to wax my legs and cover them with a golden tan while slipping my feet into Italian shoes.


  4. Um, hello. YES.

    I like beautiful things too.

  5. While I love clothes, I’m also extremely price conscious, especially over here. Long ago I learned to primarily go with classic things that suit my build and frame rather than ‘what’s in’ because, well, I’m not a teeny bopper anymore and those things ‘go out’ just as quickly. (Marketing ploys in my mind.)

    When I lived in the States, I was a big fan of Banana Republic and INC International lines because they had small sizes in long lengths that suited me… And I loved Ross Stores for tops and ‘playclothes’…

    Sadly, I live primarily in denim right now – jeans, skirts and shorts – because it’s most practical. Plus there’s the matter of that 5-8 pounds I have left to lose in the middle. Sigh.

  6. You know, I’ve found myself thinking more seriously about fashion again too – mainly because it’s become obvious that to not look like crap, I’m going to have to make more concious decisions about how to dress my new, matronly body.

  7. I am a jeans, khakis and black a-line skirt kinda gal. Clogs, cowboyboots and sneakers punctuate the simplicity. Sorta thrift stroe rocknroll.

    I used to be skinny, having children plus a fridge full of food has ended that dream.

    But I love clothes, complicated dress up kinda stuff, but for me, now, I like to keep it simple.

    My heyday of dress up was the 80’s.

    what fun.

  8. I have always had an interest but never paid much attention to what others were doing. Well, except that time in the 70s when I bought every outfit I could find that was worn by Barbra Streisand in “A Star Is Born”. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I liked bohemian clothing most of my life. Gauze skirts, embroidery and such.

    Now that I’ve been doing the Thai thing for a long time, I really don’t pay any attention to what I see around me.

    The Thai stuff is alternately hyper-feminine or clunky old hippie, depending on the circumstances.

    It seems to work for me. It’s colorful and bright, vibrant colors and comfortable cotton. (I don’t care for the silk stuff much.)


  9. I think that as you get older you learn (through making big mistakes in the past) what clothes suit your shape. I have learnt that you can adapt what is fashionable at the time with what shapes suit your shape. I love clothes, funky bags and shoes. I think it is important to have a style that is right for you, to be individual.

  10. Neon clothes. Has there ever been a worse fashion trend? No one looks good in neon.

  11. I’d like to say that I’m interested in fashion, but to be honest, as long as I can get a shower and dressed into clean comfy clothes, then I figure I’m a winner.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.