There are two definitive things that unflinchingly make the outfit.
Actually, let me modify that — one of them isn’t “a thing” so much as it is the outfit’s proprietor. I know I’ve heretofore referenced a quote once spoken by Mark Twain (“clothes make the man”) too many times, which he probably did not anticipate would proliferate the way it has, but today, I actually only cite it to side with Theophilus London’s relatively recent adjustment because, “It’s the man who makes the clothes.”
The other thing that makes an outfit, which unfolds several different ways but always boils back down to reveal itself as the progeny of one universal device, is accessorizing. I came to adopt this as fact the first time my mother ever advised me to invest my money in shoes and handbags because I could improvise the rest using close to nothing. Granted, close to nothing doesn’t typically translate to mean, as photographed here, a Derek Lam blouse and Valentino jeans, but it should certainly connote a sense of “I own those ingredients — I can make that, too!” (See: jeans, t-shirt.) Where things get fun is in the styling. Enter the following three outfits:
As a rule, you can assume that no matter the cut, no matter the sleeve volume, jeans and a blouse can almost always function as your blank canvas. Also, by sticking to neutral colors you allow for a more jovial pop where the accessories are concerned. This is precisely why in the first look, I combined a circular Yazbukey Gum bag and a rainbow neck scarf (replete with unicorns though you can’t see them) to offset the black and blue but compliment the cognac-colored tassel clogs. The idea was to treat the 70s like they never ended.
Outfit #2 stripped the quirk and focused more acutely on honing in on a woman’s inner chiropractor. Just kidding. But she does wear back-friendly shoes, what with their pithy stacked heel. For accessories, I meditatively chose of pair of paradoxically youthful shades and kept it simple with the meager inclusion of one shark tooth necklace, hanging from a long silver chain.
And finally, in rendering #3, I took seriously the power of jewelry with a white, bib-style Rosantica necklace and witty Delfina Delettrez bee-cuff to hold up against a pair of studded shoes which could conceivably moonlight as a necklace too (think about this for a second, there are long leather cords that could be tied together and we can be the first living humans to insouciantly wear shoes on our necks!) and a tiny minaudiere that feels a little like a couch my aunt used to have in her home on Long Island, which can’t hold much other than your credit card and dignity. But then again, what else do you need?
Part one of one in a collaboration with MATCHESFASHION.COM.