I’ve been thinking about clothes more than usual lately, for a number of reasons: a) it’s been so hot and my wardrobe needs supplementing to help me endure the temperature without boiling to death and b) I’ve recently started a new job which is really physical and that means, once again, that I need to get the appropriate practical workwear. Oh and c) I’ve found it maddeningly difficult to find anything appropriate and really nice in the shops to fulfil either of these categories. For a while I even thought I might be losing my knack for charity shop bargains. Ugh.
Anyway, I recently stumbled upon This Blog and I really, really love it. It’s very funny and has a bit of a negative slant – as the title suggests, most of the entries are about ripping to shreds some of the uglier or less practical trends to crop up on the high street or among what might be termed the hipster set – but it’s not indiscriminate loathing, it’s critical and deadpan and funny and charming.
It’s a conceit that you might think dates fast. Some of the trends that get really rinsed – especially in earlier posts – include harem trousers and those Ray Bans style sunglasses which are a little less ubiquitous now than back in like 2008. Oh and all that stuff about bright colours vs neutrals: at present it seems like fashion is going through a very neon phase and I’m kind of tiring of it, although I think colours aside the point about fit and construction still stands. But! I think the reason I like it so much is the real spirit of affection and positivity about developing your own tastes rather than buying into trends. It seems like such an obvious point but magazines and adverts and shops are so good at convincing us that trends ARE our own tastes. Fashion isn’t the most important thing in the world but that’s maybe that makes your personal style an especially good area to experiment with how you gather influences and decide who to follow or tune out.
Here are some posts I really liked. This one criticises fashion blogs and the way the fashion industry has absorbed blogging as a platform. I’ve been meaning to write something similar for ages but now I have no reason to do that because everything I could hope to say is right there word for word. I’m not even sure how to commentate on this because my feelings are basically just agreement.
This one is about female celebrities all looking the same. Earlier this week I got a magazine from Asos through my letterbox (thank you previous tennants!) and while there were more cute cardigans and things than I can usually find in the average Asos mag (thank you previous tennants from other places I have lived!) there was a really gross attitude in some of the articles. In the Brit Marling interview for example they compliment her Prada handbag and then mention in snide brackets that its beauty will only last the current season. It’s borderline threatening and squarely in Mean Girls territory. I think my least favourite thing about fashion magazines is any use of the word “update”. The idea that your wardrobe needs an “update” just so it looks slightly different is so frivolous and of course privileged. I mean, it costs enough to “update” your wardrobe when your clothes start to wear out, or a heat wave comes along, or you get a new job.
My boyfriend, when I read this to him, point out that Asos magazine is basically just a catalogue designed to sell stuff from the Asos website, which is true, although no less irritating. I guess that’s the stance I’m so relieved to see scrutinised, the system of being told what to wear and how to attain it rather than applying any kind of critical thought. The vast majority of the fashion industry seems to be entirely devoted to stripping the fun, the joy and the decision-making out of choosing how to present yourself visually. Of course there will always be some people who want to put the least possible effort into that sphere of their lives, which is fair enough, but they deserve better than to be led astray into the realm of weird half-sheer skirts, hawaiian shirts, platform trainers, bindis, mesh and Sydney Opera House skirts. I mean, effortless isn’t the same as following orders.
When I started to write this post, the movie Just My Luck was playing on the background on E4 and there were actually some really cute outfits going on. The kooky girl from The OC played Lindsay Lohan’s Edie Sedgwick-esque kooky friend and there are a few really funny tongue in cheek references to stuff like The Rocky Horror Picture Show and performance artist Bernie Seale and Lindsay Lohan’s personal life (“at least you were wearing underwear!” Or was this movie made pre-meltdown? I don’t know, it’s still funny).
“It’s a technical term for a lot of water where it shouldn’t be.”
I mean, it’s not the worst dialogue. It’s pretty funny. I can only attribute its 5.1 score on IMDB to indiscriminate Lohan-bashing and no, I can’t defend much of what she does these days but it’s not a bad film at all, except for the gratuitous McFly promotion, yuck. The noughties: a good decade or a bad one, culturally and aesthetically? It’s hard to tell just yet, isn’t it?
I don’t know. Anyway, I’ve been so neglectful of this blog that since I started writing this post, things have kind of started to get better. Here are some outfits to round the whole thing off, and quite possibly discredit me completely as any sort of expert on matters of style. I have no advice to give, other than just try to be you, and resist the urge to get too naked this summer because you may get sunburn in intimate places.