There are two important things to note in this photo. On the one hand, the fashion. Light denim dungarees strategically cuffed at the thigh, a leather jacket double knotted around the waist in a dark color that’s not quite black, a Victorian under-blouse full of character and story. This is personal style in pure form. But is that because of what she’s wearing or what she’s doing?
Never mind the camera, look at that smile. That authentic, what’s-that-girl-laughing-about, I’ll-have-what-she’s-having smile. Across the pond it seems that anything less than what Tommy Ton captures as such is, for lack of a better expression, frowned upon. But this is not the case in the other cities–why?
What is it that renders so unfashionable about friendliness depicted through photo?
This woman, also shot in London, bleeds style: distressed, ripped jeans, a counter tonal blouse of the same fabric, a gold choker so thick it resembles a turtleneck. Would it have looked vastly more capital-F-Fashion had she hid her teeth and sunken her eyes, prompting the uninitiated to wonder what exactly it is that goes on during Fashion Week?
Maybe it’s vanity. I for one have certainly spent time comparing my smiley face to my stoic face but have resolved that there is little appeal in what looks like an angry chipmunk with thick eyebrows wearing more layers than her body can sustain. On a more visceral note, smiling just makes me feel better. Such is not the experience for everyone though and whether the contemplation of smile vs. frown actively occurs among others is not very important. For some, a frown exudes what they perceive as the more attractive versions of themselves. But does it detract from style (italicized for dramatic effect so please enunciate here) at large?
When the New York Times wrote about the end of true indie Street Style in September, I couldn’t help wonder if it was, as documented, the outlandish clothing that instigated the story or more subconsciously, the contrived nature of what seemed like photo after photo of fashion figure emulating alien/super model.
The photos brought forward today lack the conceivable artificiality that the Times criticized back then. These women own their looks. And whether or not what they’re physically exuding speaks to the temperament of current street style doesn’t really matter. The message conveyed is something different, more powerful and has little to do with the clothes on display. It’s about inspiration first and foremost, how they obtain it, maintain it and broadcast it for the rest of us to seek our own.
Photos are frozen memories after all and I don’t know about you, but I’d certainly prefer to indulge in happier ones.
So tell me, what kind of affect does smiling have on you?