Posts Tagged ‘reflection’
it is a beautiful day here in wellington — the sort that makes you feel that spring might one day come. the sort that makes you forgive the dark and rainy day yesterday. it’s the kind of day we all need once in a while. i am not sure what i’m going to do with this lovely day. but it feels like it might be a day to look forward. to take a little holiday, even if only for a couple of hours. and to think about what might come next.
i have so much to tell you that it’s almost hard to know where to start. but for now, at least a start’s been made. hi, you guys. hope you’ve been well. let’s take this ride together .. what do you say?
the autumn/winter collections are in store, coincidentally at a time when i have (a) hardly any money to spend and (b) a need to equip myself with a slightly more corporate wardrobe than i’ve been rocking this past few years. (i did say slightly. there will be no navy suits for *this* bunny, unless martin margiela makes a deconstructed one).
so instead of spending actual money, i present you with things i would buy if i could, thus indulging my magpie-like eye for the sparkly and new (ooh, a shiny penny!) here are three things i really, really want at this point in time.
exhibit one: the dress
the karen walker bunting dress. isn’t it beautiful? the rockstar actually picked this one out of a magazine, believe it or not. there is something about colourful prints on a dark background that men really like, it seems. and i like it too. although it isn’t exactly an autumn dress, it looks so fresh among all the nude colours and ditsy florals — or big shoulders and studding — that it feels like i’ve been looking at for ever :-/ i think with a base layer, thick tights and boots, this would transition through a wellington winter just fine.
exhibit two: the accessorything
this belt harness hybrid from kate sylvester is calling me and i may have to succumb. i love the dark brown, the raw edges of the leather, the solid hardware. it stops it all from looking too dominatrix-y for everyday wear, which is often a problem with these harnesses, i think. this would look equally fabulous over a blouse and skirt as it does over this divine oversized coat. and the socks and shoes! i die. thinking about it, there is something a tiny bit reminiscent of an old-style girl guide uniform about it, which is probably why it appeals. the rest of my guide uniform was pretty horbz, but i loved the belt. wish i still had it.
(also, snaps to kate for the fabulous lipstick .. and for always, always having great gothy-post-punky music playing in her stores. she rules.)
exhibit three: the totally lush and rich scent
well, i ask you: if you could smell like daphne guinness, why would you not? according to the fabulous review on now smell this (my favourite perfume blog) daphne has notes of bitter orange, incense, saffron, rose centifolia, tunisian jasmine, tuberose, iris, patchouli, oud, amber and vanilla. it is produced by comme des garçons, who consistently make some of the most interesting fragrances around. i sprayed it on a card at mecca cosmetica, sniffed it joyously and put it in my bag. for the rest of the day, every time i opened my bag i was assailed by this rich, heavy, spicy scent .. oh my gosh, just gorgeous. i want this. it is the kind of perfume that turns heads .. like ms guinness herself, of course.
anyway. that’s just a little of what’s been rocking my socks. for now, i shall lust on ..
(images from karenwalker.com, katesylvester.com, doverstreetmarket.com)
so i got dressed this morning but haven’t quite had the courage to commit fully to this outfit. i am wearing my wayfauxrers (couldn’t face putting my contacts in), a lazy oaf t-shirt which has “j’aime paris” written on it, a black miniskirt from glassons, grey tights and red russell and bromley brogues. i tucked in my shirt and felt like i was channelling alexa chung, a little bit.
but then i stopped and thought: is this outfit mutton?
mutton is a difficult concept for those of us in the latter half of our thirties and beyond. it basically means that you’re dressed age-inappropriately. i have a dear friend in london whose sister refers to him and his husband affectionately as “les moutons” because they wear north face jackets, worn jeans, trainers. i think my friend looks terrific .. he’s consistently one of the most stylish people i know. but in an era where hipster girlies at mighty mighty wear clothes that my grandmother might have considered too frumpy, where smart teenage boys wear clothes which hark back to music videos made before they were born, where the most stylish women i can instantly name — carine roitfeld, daphne guinness, amanda harlech — are all older than me and still rocking it really hard .. what does age-appropriate even mean?
more fashionable minds than me have considered this question; indeed, it’s a staple of the glossy mag to run “age issues” where they look at style through the lens of those in their 20s, 30s, 40s et cetera et cetera, pass the ambien. the 20s are always represented these days by alice dellal, whose fearless style i admire; the older women, well, it’s the usual array of your helen mirrens, your mary quants, your duchesses of devonshire. all, in their way, fabulous. none, with all respect, that helpful when it comes to interpreting rules for ordinary women.
i used to have quite strict rules about this stuff, purely for myself. no midriff. no short skirts. no upper arms on show. no bikinis outside latin america. oh you know, i was quite the self-editor. but then i realised something. none of this made me feel more confident about the inevitable process of getting older, the unavoidable slide into what is (for women) the uncomfortable invisibility of middle age.
like any person who’s nearly forty, my body is showing the signs of a life well lived. my pale skin shows the tracery of veins beneath. i have scars, laughter lines, freckles (or, as a dermatologist would probably term them, permanent sun damage from living half my life in the southern hemisphere). i fail the pencil test. but you know, i feel better about myself now than i did when i was a skinny, tanned, neurotic little thing of 17. on the whole, my body’s holding up pretty well. what’s disintegrating as we speak is my ability to give a toss what people think. i don’t think i’ll miss it.
as i have grown older, my confidence in my taste has grown. i am not afraid to wear clothes that are a little challenging. that call attention. that the 17 year old me would have rejected as too weird, not attractive to boys. glasses? in public? are you crazy? i squinted for years because i was too shy to wear my corrective lenses outside of darkened lecture theatres. now, i don’t care. maybe boys would think i was a nerd these days. but i’m not interested in those boys now.
so a pox on my rules, such as they were. just as the term “middle aged” loses its meaning as one approaches its ambit, the words “age-appropriate” might need to be banished to the charity shop pile of language.
i’m not saying that there should be a free-for-all. at least, not for me. there are certain things that a woman of my age should avoid, i think. barbie pink. any outfit that would look adorable on my super-gorgeous four-year-old niece evie. any t-shirt with a slogan that says “princess” or some such. egregious embroidery of hearts. cartoon characters, no matter how ironic.
there are some overall styles that don’t work, either. the gothic lolita style, much as i think it’s cute, isn’t for me. if i went for the feral tank-girl look, i would not look sexy; i would look like i need to be put on some kind of watch list. the preppy-princess look so loved by blair waldorf just looks matronly on me; i will never be the kind of girl who can wear a chanel suit, but my credit card will be the better for it. and i think too much skin, in a setting other than the beach, is just a little tacky. if i get my legs out, i cover up the rest.
but you know what, ladies? those are my rules. they’re not necessarily anyone else’s. if barbie pink makes you happy, wear it. if you feel good in cutoff jeans and a midriff top, who cares if you’ll never see 40 again? pair them with a flannel, cowboy boots and a stetson and i think you’d look pretty rocking, to be honest. if you’re wearing dreads and combat boots and it makes you feel cool and powerful, then i bet people turn their heads in the street to check you out. be confident. work it. pick things that suit your body, pick colours that make your skin glow, the rest is up to you.
so, then. i am not sure that i’ve added much to the debate here. but i will walk out into this beautiful summer day in my mini-skirt and brogues, head held high. no mutton today, not here. not ever.
you’re not supposed to take photos in the newly-reopened wellington art gallery, but i didn’t read the gallery advice thing properly so snapped a couple of quick pics at the yayoi kusama show. a nice lady came over and said i shouldn’t take photos. i said to her “oh i’m sorry i didn’t know .. would you mind if i kept that one, though? you can’t really see the work, it’s just the reflection i like”. she smiled and said it was okay. so here is myself and the rockstar, reflected in one part of an installation which is all about — ta daa! — narcissism. kind of apt, really?
(oh, and what i’m wearing, just so i can pretend this is an outfit post: battered chuck taylors, battered diesel jeans, customised uniqlo cardigan which you can see better in this post. oh, and my wayfauxrers. i have been a bit slack on the style thoughts and outfit documenting, but i’ll get back on that, promise promise.)