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· Fashion Notes: Inspirations (The Kindly One)

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Fashion Notes: Inspirations (The Kindly One)
by The Kindly One

I enjoy perusing a variety of fashion trends and looks, each of them inflaming the imagination and widening the horizons of fashion references. Still, only a few of these resources directly influence how I dress. The following are my personal fashion inspirations in ascending order.



One of my more passive hobbies is sitting back and browsing various style sites. This is in part to keep up with hipster trends, because as much as I openly despise the hipster mentality, I really like a lot of their clothes. I also enjoy following what fashion editors wear and learning how to mix luxurious clothing with the more quotidian. That said, there are very few hipster items that would suit me, and the majority of fashion insight I glean is in the areas of styling, layering, and proportion, the last moreso from men than women. I have specifically followed The Sartorialist for lessons in proportion, as with the man above; Chictopia for layering and visuals of how specific clothes look on a variety of body types; and Jak & Jil for specifics on styling and proportion, including where on the arm a glove should end and how to wear ankle pants.



Having lived in Scandinavia, I don't buy into the fervor over how cool Scandinavian fashion can be. Some of it is, some of it isn't. Like anywhere else, there are some girls who know how to dress and end up on all the fashion blogs, perceived as the face of Scandinavian style when they really elevate the foundations of Scandinavian style - leather jackets, boots, scarves, cool trainers, and tight jeans - into their own unique orbit. Still, I took away some lessons from Scandinavian style, including what to layer with leather jackets, how to wear scarves, and to wear clothes that fit. Occasionally, I still glance at Lisaplace (above) for the photography and styling.



There is a vast store of fashion imagery that acts at the subconscious level to form my impressions of what exactly is fashion and my relation to it. All of this imagery resonates with me because it realizes my golden mean in some way, whether because it moves me, it features a look I aspire to, or it offers a reflection of my inner self. None of these images directly inspires how I dress; instead, they are the foundation of how I perceive fashion at large, my measure of great fashion design and photography, and my personal aesthetic. Even though none of this could be directly noted on what I wear daily, it is the foundation upon which all the more direct influences take root. Rather than provide a detailed account of all these foundational images, which would take a whole blog, I have chosen to include the above image of Kate Moss. This comes from the first editorial I can clearly remember loving and incorporates the themes of my most perennial fashion loves: minimalism, the 90s, austerity, the avant-garde, fashion photography, Kate Moss. Other themes not seen here: street style, sportswear, 90s couture, Harper's Bazaar under Liz Tilberis's editorship, exaggerated design.



Though not as rabid a follower as I once was, Ashley Olsen has had a greater influence on my conception of style than any other individual. She's the person who's first influenced me to notice the particulars. She doesn't just wear a scarf - she wears deliberately oversized scarfs to balance (or offset) the rest of her outfit, trousers cut to specific shapes and proportions, and plays with the masculine dress, layering, and bagginess/shapelessness. She's the first person to make me realize how the cut of a pant can dramatically alter proportions (both of the outfit and the wearer), that it is possible to dress in a boyish fashion and maintain feminity, and the limitations of dressing for a petite frame. It's that sense of deliberateness that puts Ashley Olsen at the top of my list. Due to her, I now pay attention to how an item's particular shape and proportions fit into my overall outfit. I realize the effect of something so simple as altering a pant leg by an inch or two, that these simple changes in proportion can greatly affect an overall silhouette. I've also picked up from her how to "accessorize" with clothing. Since I don't wear jewelry, other than a watch, I've learned how to add interest with jackets, sweaters, scarves, and texture.

As for the picture above, probably the single greatest influence I've received from Ashley Olsen is how to dress boyishly and get away with it. This is just a great outfit - the oversize hoodie, the chunky necklace, the general laddishness of it - but she gets aways with it by cutting everything down to her proportions. She doesn't look like she's borrowed clothes from her boyfriend (I've never understood the appeal of that look, it's too sloppy). Everything fits her frame, it's just the aesthetic that points away from the feminine. Of all her looks, it's Ashley's boyish dressing I love best and how I came to appreciate the thoughtful layering of standard American fare, such as grey athletic sweatshirts, worn out t-shirts, and beaten up work trousers. Let's face it: if not for her, I would still to stuck with the delusion that Audrey Hepburn was the greatest dresser of all time. Thank God for Ashley Olsen, Kate Moss, and the rest, or I'd still be wearing dull, basic "smart clothes" in an ongoing failed attempt to look "nice." No, bring me the disordered and the quotidian, please.

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5/13/2009 [6]

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