Sea water levels rose faster in the 20th century than in previous 2700 years according to scientific studies. Great, I don’t care. Remind me to invest in a bejeweled designer life jacket. I’ll tell you what rose faster – Americans’ full embrace of the genderless, anti-fashion zeitgeist. Despite wading in debt, many prefer to spend their diminishing income on technological devices, often strapped around their head, wrists and torsos.
Does style even exist beyond cross platform news publications, Instagram, or fashion magazines? My opinion on this very important matter vacillates between ‘all hope is lost, so I will leave the house in pajamas covered in this morning’s breakfast’ and ‘quick get out your smart phone, she’s wearing Sacai with the newest Roger Vivier sneakers. Thank God I found you. Can we be friends on Insta?’
This week, I felt more positive about fashion and style (two different areas, by the way), when Nora Whelan, Style Writer of BuzzFeed.com contacted me for an article on women and body image. The assignment was to style the staple in every woman’s closet, a black dress. Buzzfeed sent me a smart, black dress from Modcloth.com to style in my personal way.
They came to the right person, hot damn! I can talk about fashion and style until every single cow has come home and you’ve been rendered unconscious.
On a rainy Tuesday, I headed to the NYC headquarters of Buzzfeed, kicking my heels to leave the zombieland, style-devoid abyss known as suburbia. I brought along my friend, fashion designer and stylist, Jamie Kreitman, to assist me through Union Square. And may I add, this area does not have the best curb cuts for disabled people.
The BuzzFeed headquarters are very impressive. The offices are spacious and airy with huge windows and great light. I imagine this fuels their employees to function at full speed ahead. The social news platform appears to be brimming with millennials who not only have a sense of style, but also look really happy to work there. No stodgy drones but smiles all around.
I was escorted into their photography studio, a room surrounded with tall windows, gorgeous views and blanketed in natural light. It was tempting to park myself and stare out the window all day, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen.
Nora Whelan, the Style Writer, joined to oversee the photography by Jon, the in-house photographer. An interview followed whereupon I was asked about my personal style and why I chose my particular outfit.
I love color and layering disparate patterns and textures. For some unbeknownst reason, I gravitate towards retro prints from the 50s and 60s. While planning the outfit around the Modcloth black dress, I chose this candy pink, black grey biomorphic print jacket, designed by British label, Conspicuous, from Nordstrom. I accidentally found it tucked in the back of my closet and haven’t worn in years. I like when the jacket is nipped in at the waist and falls at the hips for a complementary line. To highlight the jacket pattern, I dared to pair bold geometric stockings. Next, I added a plexiglass and crystal bold statement necklace that adds a little oomph at the neckline area. As for shoes, going retro would’ve made the outfit too costumey. So, I opted for studded, sequined wedge sneakers by Ash which highlight the neckline sparkle and the pattern of the jacket and stockings. Don’t forget my pearl encrusted vintage hat. It is the ultimate accessory which literally tops off an outfit and imparts an extra joie-de-vivre.
Cultivating an indelible style sense is not easy. I find that women are either too intimidated with expressing themselves or are overwhelmed by the unlimited choices that exist in a global retail market. Don’t think too hard. Start slowly. Buy a black dress and wear a moto jacket with a bright, print rich scarf. The dress doesn’t have to be expensive, but the leather jacket should be of a higher quality, which will stay in your wardrobe for years. Be prepared to spend at least $600 on it. If you are timid, wear funky tights, then buy a pair of black opaque ones with a thin black seam running up the back of the leg. As for shoes, stay smart and simple. I eye shoes at the beginning of the season, pin them and pounce at sale time. My final hope is that you will explore the vast, eternally inspiring world of hats. If you find the right hat, the rest falls into place.
Finally, be confident. I have worn some of the most bizarre mismatched items that make me look insane. Yet, somehow they work. But you know what? Who cares? Fashion should be fun, carefree and make you smile. Don’t pay attention to what people think. Be creative, free and above all exude confidence.
Just like the 10 beautiful women who styled different looks with a simple black dress; what do they have that shines and is palpable? CONFIDENCE. And it is DAMN SEXY!