Saturday, August 24, 2013

how to read the suckers

So I've been trudging skipping and dancing my way through a bazillion fashion magazines these past few weeks (Ok, technically only four. But Instyle was 716 pages and Vogue was 900+ so I think we can all agree that total is more like a bazillion and less like four.) and I've been thinking a lot about the ways one can read through the pages of these suckers and make it out alive.

With the release of every major season change, I inevitably read posts on fb about how people looked through the whole InStyle and didn't like one outfit- thereby assuming that either they, themselves, aren't very current in their style choices or that the fashion world has gone off its rocker. Understandably! And I'm totally not trying to make the reading of fashion magazines something profound, but I also think that one should walk away with some yield, some return on their investment of time and pennies.

So if you have always wondered what could possibly be worth your time inside those fashion mags, read on. And if you have anything to add, please! Add on!

1)Look at the adds/runway pics as art, not literal style demonstration. The runway is like an exaggeration of real life. If the point of the outfit is to say "leather is in" the model may come down wrapped in strips of leather like a mummy who belongs in the final scene of Grease. The point of the artistic demonstration is to say "Hey, leather is in. A leather baseball hat or motorcycle jacket will totally work for you."

2)Pay attention to the footwear in the ads, as well as in the articles. All mags have some to-the-point style tips, but you can also gather other stuff by looking at the ads. Like heel thickness (chunky heels are in this season- but so are pointy toe pumps, again.), eye shadow colors and nail polish colors (oxblood red for your nails and a good, smokey eye, like always.), and the fit of clothes (swingy skirts, a la 1940s.). Ads are art, also, so even those should be filtered with your best set of MoMA eyes.

3)It's all up to you to apply the current trends. For example, one hot color this season is a bright, deep blue. It can be a dress, a shirt, or even a pair of earrings. You do it the way it fits into your style. The point isn't to do what you're told, it's to take what's happening and make it personal.

You know, this whole time I can't help but remember a scene from Devil Wears Prada:

Miranda Priestly: [Miranda and some assistants are deciding between two similar belts for an outfit. Andy sniggers because she thinks they look exactly the same] Something funny?
Andy Sachs: No. No, no. Nothing's... You know, it's just that both those belts look exactly the same to me. You know, I'm still learning about all this stuff and, uh...
Miranda Priestly: 'This... stuff'? Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select... I don't know... that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue, it's not turquoise. It's not lapis. It's actually cerulean. And you're also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent... wasn't it who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff. {Italics mine.}

So read the articles, scan the ads, and giggle at the runway photos. I find it fun to personally translate current trends however the heck I please. And I'm not saying that being trendy is the end all, be all to life. I just figure that we are all going to dress in it eventually, whether it's full-price, or sale rack at the end of the season, or the second-hand store in a year or two. So we might as well make it good, right? ;)

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