Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Style = Perception + Confidence + Risk.

In a million years I would never consider myself a "pulled together" person, with great style. Unfortunately, some of my friends seem to have this perception of me, and I swear to you, I'm not spouting off false humility here - I really don't know what I've done to deserve it. (But thanks, friendsies, for the compliments, I really do need the ego boost now & then) Really, I just think I'm a gal who thinks about clothing a little more than I should.

I also find it hilarious that the other day, while shopping for dishes at a local high-end retailer, not one, not two, but three women approached me and thought I worked there, and asked me for fashion advice. Not "What aisle are the over-the-knee boots on?", mind you, but "So, do you think I should try over-the-knee boots this year, and which ones are your favorites?" type of questioning. I blush!

Because, you see the thing is, I've been obsessed with fashion since I was a little girl. I remember my favorite thing to do, in third and fourth grade, was to make my own paper dolls, out of the cardboard inserts that came in my mom's pantyhose packages, and make them colorful, inventive little outfits out of computer paper and colored pencils. But for a girl who's mom dressed her till I was in the sixth grade, there wasn't a lot of fashion actually happening in my life, as much as in my imagination.

All throughout junior and senior high school, I definitely marched to the beat of my own drum. I look back now and I see that what I thought was "classy" and "elegant", by high school standards was probably really grandma-ish. And then there was the infamous "Elvis Costello" glasses incident. I distinctly remember being in the 8th grade, and seeing a pair of glasses in a Vogue magazine, and thinking they were top bananas. That year, at my annual optometrist visit, I begged and pleaded with my mom to let me get a pair just like them, and I did. Years later, I can see that for 2 long years in middle school, I looked like a miniature female version of Elvis Costello. Not hot. Imaginative and innovative, but not hot.

It was that imagination and risk that fueled my desire to be a fashion designer, well into my early twenties. After more research into the profession however, I let the growing insecurities of youth rob me of that dream. I realized that without a natural talent, and a fierce competitive drive, I'd never be able to hack it. And looking back, I can see that I believed I just wasn't that girl - the kind who was good enough to make it.

So, my history and love for fashion has been deep rooted my whole life, practically. Yet, even now, thirty-some odd years later, I still would never label myself as fashionable, or stylish, despite my slight obsession with it. That being said, every season, I always try to stay on top of the latest trends, while still utilizing what clothing I have in my closet. Yet, inevitably, I get drawn into one or two looks, and try to make them work for my annoying body type.
Every once in a while something works, and then, well you could say I'll run with it.

This season, fall, has got to be my favorite though. You can cover up!! You can layer!! Boots! Cardigans! Tights! Hats! YAY!!! Yet, it's still warm enough that I'm not limited by the confining fashion choices that Minnesota winters offer ("Do I want to wear this huge parka today, or that huge parka today?") This fall, I've decided to take a risk on skinny jeans, and let me tell you, it's one that has definitely paid off. I love them! What did I do before them? They look great with tucked in boots, and the proportions of them are perfect for the flowy, blousy kind of tops that hide all my insecurities and imperfections. Plus, I really do believe that maybe my legs are best bodily asset, so why not show them off?

In any case, taking risks on items, such as skinny jeans, isn't something that comes naturally to me, and so for inspiration I hit up all the good magazines, like Lucky, Glamour and Vogue (a perennial favorite since youth... I'll probably be 60 & still reading Vogue... thank you Anna Wintour, I love you!) for pictures of outfits that I can just copycat. And this season, one store/ad campaign has hit ALL the right notes for me. Piperlime.

For those of you who don't know, Piperlime started off as Gap, Inc's shoe affiliate, and only recently started venturing into fashion/clothing options as well. And OMG do they do it so well. I'm totally obsessed with their entire fall campaign, and am copycatting all the outfits in the ads, to phenomenal and bliss inducing results. So this, a huge shout-out to the Piperlime fall campaign, is the real reason for this rambling post. Just to say this one thing really - I love Piperlimes fall ad campaigns, and yes please sir, I'll take one of everything!!!!

Sidenote: The whole point of their ad, dubbed the "Let's Get Dressed" outreach btw, is that no one should have to schlub it in public, so for goodness sake ladies, put away the sweat pants, say goodbye to the ratty old tee-shirts, and class it up already. It's a fiery cry against the over-casualization of our nation! And frankly, I couldn't agree more! They've been getting a lot of flack for this "mean girl" approach to fashion too, mind you. Some recent tweets by the brand include "If the frienemy sees you out in public in your TV watching clothes, then the frienemy wins", and my personal favorite "Every time you wear sweatpants in public, a single guy leaves New York". Bahahahah!!! A little harsh, maybe, yet I can't say it didn't crack me up. One website actually went so far as to call their campaign bitchy, but admitted, that hey, it works. Bitchy, mean, whatever, it's definitely imaginative and hilarious, and really, there is a small hint of truth behind it.

Now, admittedly, this is a motto I only half-heartedly follow, being someone that twice in the last week has been out in public all day long in her Vikings sweatpants, a plain white tee shirt, a baseball cap and flip flops! The me of 20 years ago would be mortified at this laziness and probably throw a double-thick fall fashion issue of Vogue right at my head, and rightly so. But in my own defense, I think my reluctance to get completely on-board the "dress it up or just stay in" train is that after six months of being unemployed, I'm getting quite used to wearing my ratty old tee-shirts and sweat pants all the time and have become so accustomed to their comfort factor that I forget I'm actually in them before I make that Target run. And it is Minnesota, where let's face it, the fashion standards are way more lax than in my gloriously put-together hometown of LA. Still, I know that deep down somewhere in my soul there still resides a woman who believes you can be attractive at 7 in the morning, who knows that there are no ugly women, just lazy ones, and who longs to dress up every day for work, or dinner, or somebody or something. .

Sidenote to the Sidenote: Matter of fact, this morning, even though I was wickedly tired from a late night party, body parts aching and kinda crabby, I still managed to throw on my favorite skinny jeans, a pair of black buckled boots, a black cardigan, a plaid scarf, a headband, my favorite black military inspired coat, a fresh coat of lip gloss and go meet a friend in the wee morning hours to return his key thingie. As he pulled up to the meeting spot, still in what looked like his pajamas (unless he's taken to wearing wife-beaters in 50 degree weather for the fun of it), the first words out of his mouth were "Well at least one of us looks cute". The me of 20 years ago would be so proud. At that moment, the me of right now was kinda proud.

Anyways, back to the whole reason for this post - I digress. For those of you who've not seen any of the fall Piperlime ads, I'll be addenduming this post with some pics from the campaign. Read 'em and weep!!! (Hopefully you'll weep out of sheer emotional inspiration, and not because your sensitive little feelings were hurt by the blunt honesty of their ads). For now, just remember, those ads are mine to rip off, so don't copycat my fashion copycatting!!! Seriously. And one more time, for good measure - Oh how I LOVE PIPERLIME!

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