Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Pretty, predictable... pass.

My outfit probably makes me look extra short today, and you know what?

I don't care.

It's cold (*sigh*), it snowed today (*sigh* again), I'm wearing dark jeans and my grey old Navy V-neck sweater (*sigh*... again) with tall black boots and an orchid pashmina scarf.

I rolled my pants hems once to get through the snow to my car and just... decided to go with it. I just needed to do something different. Mid calf length anything is totally against "the rules" but what the hell, I figured I'd give it a shot. These boots don't show my small ankles as well as I usually like, but whatever, I'll deal.

Mah new boots - Nine West "Mixer" - check out the external zipper!
In my twenties I'd often wear fairly aggressive clothing. A typical go-to was punky knee high black combat boots with loose, below the knee cutoffs (yes, and suspenders) and I think this has a sleeker version of that same aggressive feel. I've been feeling out this sort of British motorist *thing* lately and I think I'm going in the right direction.

While the effect on my profile probably isn't ideal, over the course of the day something about it felt right, and I decided that what I sacrificed in silhouette I felt I had gained in feeling properly settled in my skin.

If everyone wore the same stuff the same optimized way there'd be no space for personal style.

I've gotten a lot of the basics of "don't actively hamstring yourself" down I think, so now I'm starting to get a feel for my actual style; as compared to what happens when I put my collection of generally reasonable but bland clothes together in the most predictably inoffensive way.

Some people feel you have to learn the rules before you can break them. I don't necessarily agree with this; there are definitely those for which the rules have NEVER applied, but for the rest of us there is some utility to the practice.

The Matrix (1999) The Woman in the Red Dress

When I was in high school I just plain didn't understand preppy style. Shirt from A column, pants from B, how boring! In my late twenties I embraced it, because it meant I generally looked presentable-ish but didn't have to think about what I was wearing.

Consequently I never had to think about what I was wearing.

Except when I wanted to look *good* as *I* defined it, that's when I felt like I had a wardrobe full of nothing. Sure you can put together something that follows all the rules and looks perfectly nice but that only works if you're just going for "nice".

There's a British woman named Florence Colgate who had been determined a few years ago to have a scientifically "perfect" face. Symmetrical and ideally proportioned she is most certainly pretty, but hardly what I would consider terribly interesting. In fact I consider her notably less interesting even then the other women most commonly listed as extremely close (i.e. Elizabeth Hurley, Kate Moss, Angelina Jolie, Jessica Simpson, Marlena Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, the Bust of Nefertiti).

How will she stack up through the ages against the sloe eyes of Myrna Loy, the unmistakeable square jaw of Sophia Loren, the generous mouth of Rosario Dawson, the unearthly angularity of Tilda Swinton?

When I mentioned Florence did you know instantly who she was? Could you bring her face to mind? Will you be able to do so in twenty years? What about Meryl Streep, Uma Thurman, or Eartha Kitt?  Do you remember them because they are perfect, or because they are interesting?

These pics taken about two months apart differ only in the boots and scarf.
When I think back to these outfits which one of these makes me look more proportionate and nice, just like everyone else walking into the supermarket? Which one am I likely to remember and revisit?

Additional modeling talent provided by Quincey, nosy ginger cat extraordinaire.

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