There was a significant stretch of time (I’m talking years) when I could not enter an Intermix without feeling the need to immediately discard every article of clothing that possessed the walls of my closet. A close friend of mine refers to what I was then experiencing as “fashion panic,” defined in Merriam Webster’s dictionary as an “Anxious state of being perpetuated from self inflicted neurosis about a lack of uniform style identity.” Actually, there is no such term set forth in the dictionary; she and I are just crazy and perhaps a bit confused about what it really means to be confident in one’s own style making decisions. Ours is a problem that is undoubtedly shared by swarms of people, and I have found that the more style muses I’ve exalted, the more I’ve doubted myself and believed that I simply would never measure up to these demi gods.
Then I realized that this was actually completely true. How could I possibly hope to own my style in the way that fashion icons like Emmanuel Alt, Olivia Palermo and Erin Wasson do, without first identifying who I really was and then projecting that honesty to the outside world? In my last post, I referenced a Gore Vidal idea that has come to define the way that I conceptualize my personal aesthetic. Vidal suggested, “Style is knowing who you are and what you want to say and not giving a damn.” In studying photos of Emmanuelle Alt and trying to achieve her laid back, rock and roll chic attitude, while entirely foregoing my own refined, more polished approach, I looked and felt entirely inauthentic. I think it’s a great idea to incorporate tid bits of inspiration from muses across the board and to enhance our creative minds through the inculcation of ideas generated from the disparate sources that surround us, ranging from other people to old movies and even to different types of architecture, but it’s of equal importance to demonstrate a personal knowledge of who one is and what one really likes when building a fulfilling wardrobe. Do you truly love the idea of rocking nautical stripes or are you just doing it because Olivia Palermo looks so good in them? I’ve come to realize that I don’t particularly care for stripes of any kind; yet, I used to have four cotton tees hanging in my closet with navy, royal, and yes, even red horizontal lines splashed across the fabric, like paint on a canvas. It was because I had seen this trend in so many magazines and on so many celebrities that I subconsciously convinced myself that I, too, should don the most up the to the minute look.
So when my girlfriend and I were discussing this notion of “fashion panic” just a couple of months ago, I finally thought to ask myself why exactly I was experiencing a sense of dread every time I made a clothing purchase. And the answer came to me as smoothly as a package from shopbop arrives free of charge three days post purchase. It was because I was adhering almost solely to ideas set forth in magazines, trying to emulate the essence of other people’s styles, and by implication, the essence of who other people are, rather than who I am.
To discover who I was both from a fashion perspective and from a personal one, I had to start from the ground up. And believe me, this is still very much a work in progress. There are those enormously talented street style bloggers who can pile on a truckload of accessories and pair mismatched prints, appearing perfectly polished and purposeful. When I tried to do this, though, I looked more like an unmade bed than a glamorous fashionista. It was Mary Kate Olsen (on a bad day, generally speaking, I love her style) meets Steven Tyler. And, that’s because I just wasn’t there yet, which is okay. Since I do appreciate quality accessorizing, though, and the unexpected kiss of color that this skill can lend to any given look, I began to conjure up fail proof options that would converge my minimal, polished aesthetic with a whimsy twist; thus, the idea of “Metallic Monday” was born.
Through the incorporation of just a few glistening gunmetal gems (three to be exact), I was able to accessorize my outfits in a way that made sense but didn’t absolutely overwhelm me. It’s that old saying that one must wear the clothes; the clothes must not wear one. With just a bit of strategizing, and sans the sensation of any fashion panic, I used a crystallized IPhone cover, a pair of silver brogues that I found in Europe last summer, and an Anne Fontaine bow brooch to provide the additions that my wardrobe has long been lusting after. I adamantly believe that any woman can implement this same tactic to effortlessly accessorize, as well. The cherry on top is that the assimilation of a few simple metallics can span the globe of professions, making it painless for women who don’t work in fashion to retain their femininity, their style, and their luster (no metallic pun intended here) with just the clasp of a strategically placed bow brooch. I, for instance, am trying to get into the field of broadcast journalism, which is largely renown for its clean and conservative look, and yet I have this gnawing passion for style and its evolution. What to do? Simply snap the sparkling bow brooch onto my blue blazer and click my bold brogues together before getting on camera.
I see a lot of people who are unhappy with the way that they look and feel because they’ve pursued a career/lifestyle that does not necessarily allow for the exhibition of much fun or femininity. They don’t believe that beauty is something that’s attainable for the everyday woman, so they merely peruse a magazine or flip on the television for a quick fix of glamour. Just as simply as that, they then dismiss the source, pushing it aside, along with all of their visions of allure and intrigue. Fine, we can’t all go to work looking like Rihanna (someone who will inevitably be featured multiple times on this blog due to my ever present and borderline unhealthy obsession) everyday, but that doesn’t mean that we have to be unremarkable either. Metallic Monday is really about taking a few unique pieces that work with virtually any ensemble and altering the feel of a look entirely. And really, why sport an ordinary, buttoned up blouse when you can just as easily affix a sparkling bow to your collar and be on your way?