Rushmore Rules

A tribute to Wes Anderson’s 1998 film and also, the importance of changing your uniform’s name

11.20.14

The satisfaction of declaring a uniform is ephemeral. The uniform itself, if it’s a good one, will last — that’s the point — but that self-congratulatory high five starts to feel more like a left-to-right-palm seal-clap once the novelty of no novelty wears off. Spend two seasons max in nuanced variations of the same outfit and you start to feel like Pepper Ann or Doug Funny.

Our sartorial minds are frustrating that way. Those who lead busy lives or have tightly-kept budgets or who feel anxiety when faced with 10 different styles of jeans take comfort in knowing that the right choice, the only choice, is waiting for them each morning. Even if your uniform is not a matter of simplicity — perhaps you’re actually someone who thrives in chaos and lives for that spontaneous, wild moment of going rogue and adding a brooch (watch out world!) — you’ve still set the repeat button on your daily look because it reflects the drop-pin holding court on your current timeline.

Recently, I don’t feel “right” if I’m not wearing high waisted jeans and a turtleneck. (For the former I’ll blame Leandra and the ’70s. For the latter, Diane Keaton.) Something about that says something about me right now. It’s like a craving that comes about due some unconscious trigger — the end of fall? November? Stress? The need for comfort? — and until it’s fully satisfied, it won’t go away.

But that’s the thing about style…it’s never fully satisfied. That’s what keeps it chugging along; what encourages us to buy new variations of the same exact thing. It’s why uniforms seem to repeat themselves in different iterations, and if insanity is repeating the same thing over while expecting different results, then the majority of us are officially kooks.

There’s a remedy to the madness, however. A way to trick your own mind, to scratch the itch while satiating the need for repetition:

Tell yourself a different story.

A few years ago I took inspiration from the Dead Poets Society. Thanks to Spring ’14, it was new-prep runway. I’ve cited books, my grandfather, the men of Milan — the list goes on, but the outfit stays the same. And now that it’s almost winter and that nagging need for a jolt in my wardrobe is back, this season’s story is Wes Anderson’s Rushmore.

I’ll just need one blazer, like the main character, Max.

While I can only praise his green velvet suit — mostly because the best version I found is over 3k), I definitely can find a great shirt to wear backwards, like his love interest, Rosemary Cross, does in one scene.

To further copy Rosemary (a master of the basics) I’ll need one simple crew neck knit, a modest skirt, a pair of loafers, a touch of blush, maybe a discreet chain.

And then, for color, I’ll pick up the same “pop” the movie does, and consider red:

There’s something to be said about the cliché, “Don’t fix what isn’t broken.” We’ll keep on trying the same thing and expect new results, because as humans who crave familiarity, it’s what we do. But when you switch the narrative, it changes your perspective. When you view the same story through a different lens — even if the outfit barely changed — it somehow makes you feel a little less insane.

If you’re anything like Steve Jobs and uniforms are your thang, have you thought about what uniform you’d wear if you were a cartoon character? Or you can just screw the uniform and start YOLO dressing

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  • Loved this Amelia. So good.

    I’ve always romanticized about the prospect of having a uniform but my heart is much too fickle. I fall in love with new people everyday on the street. I see a boy or a girl in the library with rad proportion or color combinations and suddenly, nothing I’ve been doing feels valid any longer. This may sound like a typical symptom of intimidation or jealousy, but I would say quite the opposite. Rather, it’s about acknowledging that there are always people out there who are gonna do it better (or at least differently) than you are, and that we have the privilege of mingling with these people and ultimately letting their influences/style fuse into ours.

    But what you said about about approaching the same narrative with a different perspective is so true. Whatever the look may be, if we seek inspiration from it in a genuine way, it will inevitably become just another offspring of our deeply-planted seed.

    • dustUP

      I’m sure that you manage to inspire many random fellow students with your unique vintage finds.
      Reinventing oneself is healthy!
      I had a vintage dark blue velvet boy’s suit 20 years ago, in mid 90’s and deadstock dusty pink one 5 years ago. Wish I saved them for you.

      • You are so kind. I would’ve worn them so proudly for you. Xx

    • Lua Jane

      This last part practically sums it all up. Yes uniform is great, but there are like thousands of things that inspire us daily. From other people’s outfits to TV and other sources, we get bombed by ideas and the point is to somehow make our own interpretation of it.

  • The backward oxford though! I need to re-watch this though because it has been far too long.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMd2gB9L8So

    • Amelia Diamond

      Hahahah that’s the best line ever. O R THEY?

      • Kelsey

        I saved Latin! What did you ever do?!

  • I have to see this film now!

    http://www.FashionSnag.com

  • Accidental Icon

    I guess for me the question is what exactly we mean by uniform? Is it the same clothes or the same style? Although I may wear different pieces of clothes in different ways there is still an essential me that always gets conveyed in what I would call a uniform like way.. Is your uniform a single color, like black or a consistent piece like a beautifully cut blazer? A uniform can mean you are like others and if you like those others it can make you feel cozy and part of a group. If it is a not really nice group then you might feel oppressed or act in ways that aren’t really you. An interesting post thanks.
    Accidental Icon
    http://www.accidentalicon.com/

  • Kelsey

    If there is an actor that embodies the varying iterations of a uniform, its Jason Schwartzman, you nailed it Amelia. From all his Wes Anderson films, to Bored to Death, to Listen Up Phillip (just released, watched it last night!), the tweed overcoats, leather patches, and, every now and then, a beret or tortoise shell eye wear act as an extension of his character and he wears it well. Wouldnt seem natural to see him in an Ed Hardy deep v

  • amalieilund

    I really agree with you on this, Amelia. I do the same look for a season or two but then it gets boring – I almost suffocate in the similarity. And thankfully Wes Anderson is so freaking intelligent you can’t help but draw inspiration from his work!

    • Agree wholeheartedly.

      • amalieilund

        Aaaand I’m in the process of trying to find inspiration at the moment… Cold weather sucks.

  • Aydan

    My uniform at my new job has become dresses every single day. Today I actually put on a whole outfit centered on black skinny jeans and ankle booties with a wondrously fluffy sweater to only change five minutes later into an olive green dress with the aforementioned booties. I need to add that this was my second day in a row attempting to wear the black skinny jeans. I guess I just like uniforms!

  • I have to watch Russhmore now- I’ve ssen every other Wes Anderson movie and alwas felt inspired by the way his characters dress
    http://d12vb6dvkz909q.cloudfront.net/uploads/galleries/17832/darjeeling_limited_010.jpg

  • Everything Wes Anderson does is golden.

    http://tostylewithlove.com/

    Daphne