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1/21/2012

Big Fat Fashion Blob

Today I want to talk to you about fashion. Yes, fashion. 
No, you didn't click the wrong link, this is not a fashion blog. 
I'm not one of those how-to, what-to or what-not-to wear kind of persons and this is not a site imposing any kind of fashion fascism on you either. 

But the topic is rather interesting, the theory behind it definitely is. 
So, don't worry, no guidebook, in fact, I would consider it inhumane to tell you what you can or can not wear. Not least because telling people what to wear is soooo last season!


Back to topic, the topic being fashion; its nuts and bolts, its appeal and horrors. Every woman knows at least a little something about fashion. I would call it the "mix and match" instinct. 
Other than that, tight shirts with broad stripes are considered bad, especially when the stripes are yellow and black, because it makes you look like a chubby bee regardless of your actual size. 
(By the way: I pet-named one of my cats chubby bee, for exactly this reason: broad sandy and black stripes) 


Skirts should have an appropriate length depending on your choice of shoes and the occasion they are worn to. Hookers may wear a more airy version of a belt-inspired skirt. Oh, and most importantly, remember to shave your legs before showing them. The resemblance to the UGG boot is frowned upon more often than not! Tee-hee I kid! 

But it's true that all of these ideas are high on the list of fashion aesthetics. 

Hubby has this one in red, it came with a complementary closet

Ermmm, what do I know about the fashion industry? Not much, really. I like Vogue and ELLE for their artistic fashion spreads, I think they are really interesting from a design perspective, but these spreads wouldn't make me go out and buy particular items. Other than that, I know that there are certain fashion designers who are more popular than others. 


The world of fashion commerce is divided in stores that sell either expensive or less expensive clothes for us people to buy. The more expensive clothes are the ones all women want to wear, but if they can't afford them, they'll buy cheaper ones that convincingly look expensive. 


Fashion should - at all cost - be worn by you, and not wear you, whatever that means. I think Timm Gunn said that. And clothing should meet a certain level of taste. But this ominous taste level always leaves much room for debate. Lady Gaga wearing a meat dress, Madonna wearing traffic cones instead of a bra in the good old Vogue times, me wearing deer antlers for breakfast... Crazy and completely random? Me thinks yes! Tasteless? 

We just need to have Jean Paul Gaultier tell us it is Avantgarde to calm our nerves and reassure us it's OK to wear them, and then, by all means, a more commercial version of the antler headdress will have made its way in Ready-to-wear fashion later this season, I guarantee it. I wonder who makes these arbitrary choices and if Heidi Klum does have something to do with it. Project Runway, hello! 

But most importantly, the thing I really don't understand is why we need all those restrictions, aka the dos and don'ts of fashion. Isn't it a bit odd for a society that claims to categorically refuse any kind of doctrine to willingly give up the choice what to wear?

As I understand it, and because I also watched the The Devil Wears Prada infomercial, there are selected power players in the fashion industry, like for example Anna Wintour of American Vogue, Marc Jacobs or Diane von Fürstenberg. The latter incidentally opened up a can of worms on the whole intellectual property discussion in 2008, because she sued Target for manufacturing a dress, strikingly resembling a dress she had designed, bearing a similar frog print. I guess it is exemplary that there is more to fashion than meets the eye, meaning big chunks of money to be made or lost. Uniqueness is a big selling point, and brand recognition even more so. I guess the dress was anything else but a shelf-warmer, and she wouldn't have minded letting bad ideas be stolen. 


So, what sells is what we are told to wear - or was it the other way around?
Be that as it may, we let ourselves be fooled by the appeal of right and wrong choices in fashion and we want the precious magazines telling us what is hot and what is not. And who doesn't abide by the rules is either too fat, a slob or - if lucky enough - pronounced a forerunner, depending on the potential of the outfit being seen as "visionary". If there is a statement to be made with the choice, you will be fine. Let it just be a certain 'je ne sais quoi'. I have to say, for my life I like it much better when 'je sais quoi'. Comfy slacks, here I come. Because slacker is the new black.

Fashion-forward just means that it is not a trend yet 


























Photography © Nick Knight for Vogue Magazine