Have you ever been walking down the street, or sitting at a coffee shop, or standing at a platform, waiting for any form of mass transit to collect you when suddenly, she walks by? In one poised glide, no matter what you’re wearing — it could have been the outfit equivalent of a Michelin star as far as you were concerned — it falls ineffaceably flat.
You now feel vulnerable — favorite shoes no longer prized, swing coat instantly defiled. But you don’t even know her. And she doesn’t know you, thus making it reasonable to assume that she absolutely did not want to make you feel like sartorial pond scum. So what did she do?
Put simply, she wore her personal style. And see, once the vulnerability begins to fade, a different feeling consumes the afflicted. It becomes far less about what you’ve done wrong and much more about what she did right. Slowly but surely, maybe unwittingly, you start to chant intrinsically, favorite shoes retaking their throne, coat swinging convivially: I can do that. I could be that girl.
I’ve been thinking a lot again lately about what constitutes good style and bad style and though I completely understand that the most accurate metric to gauge the two is actually just a deeply subjective and often inexplicable affinity or aversion, that doesn’t quite cut it for me.
One possible line of demarcation, which I really want to run with, might be in understanding the visceral reaction that a woman has to another person’s style or a specific object. In the case of the above-photographed outfit, I strategically combined items that I bought, well-knowing they weren’t “me” so to speak, but that my wanting to have them meant something good.
First, there was the tweed Marc Jacobs jacket, which I found on Yoox for $300 and bought because one time I saw Lauren Hutton wearing a Chanel version with a white t-shirt and jeans and thigh high boots and I really wanted to approximate at least one element of that look. Then there was the leather, full mini skirt which I frankly only really wanted to pair over a pair of leather pants which aren’t inherently me for the same reason that tweed isn’t: because they’re not denim. They were motivated by a combination of Barbara Martelo and France at large.
As for the shoes, which I bought with a gift card two summers before The Blogger Renaissance, I think I was trying to dip my toes into the beginning of what’s now the exhausted 90s redux but wanted to do it as modernly and therefore ironically as possible. (Because, really, what kind of Doc Marten wearing citizen of the expired era would spend upward of $1k on seemingly tantamount boots?)
Polygamously married to one another and conveyed using my body as the tarp, of course, I like to think I look so very me and maybe, too, that you could be this girl.