Anya Ziourova, a perfect example of the type of dressing I gravitate towards. Low-key comfortable casual pants and tops, but with killer outerwear and not too much other fluff. You can tell she's not obsessed with being pretty, but wears outstanding pieces and let's them be the focal point. Her jacket is the star, not her.
I had a lengthy discussion with some friends the other day about fashion, something I don't normally like to talk about in real life. There are a lot of interesting observations one can make from the blog world, particularly in fashion blogging.
There are different types of fashion blogs - aspirational, lifestyle, narrative - and tens of thousands of readers that they cater to, yet they all seem to get jumbled together. In the end it becomes one big muddled corner of the internet, funneled into a popularity contest of who is the prettiest or coolest. Everyone assumes that if you happen to blog about fashion, you're a "fashion blogger" and that you have the same common goals of success and notoriety. Not the case at all however. Who's to say that we all want to "make it big" or what that even means?
When I use the word fashion it means something very specific to me. Maybe it's my background in the industry or maybe just my own biased aesthetic, but it comes down to a level of respect for design and the actual art of creating beautiful clothes. The term fashion thrown around so loosely in the blogosphere nowadays, seems to have become what I actually consider just...apparel. For me the main distinction between the two is the focus being either on the design itself or the person wearing it. Or even further, the difference between art and shopping.
We now see the emergence of a defined blogger style that's become the front runner in aspirational dressing. Where readers used to look to magazines and celebrities for inspiration and new trends, they now look to the internet and fashion bloggers. There's no one right way of dressing, to each his own. But the observation I'm making here is that this blogger style seems less of an appreciation for the art of fashion, and more about piling on every trend all at once and looking as pretty as possible. Maximum buzz. That's what people want to see right?
And there the line is drawn.
For me there are two great divides - credible fashion people and, because of my failing descriptive skills, let's just call it the preoccupation with looking good - the most obvious difference in the two being the emphasis placed on beauty in oneself. To put it simply, fashion people don't care about how the shirt will make their boobs looks, or whether a skirt will be tight enough to accentuate their butt just so. They look at the merit of the individual item and appreciate it for what it is on its own. In the other, there's this concern with how pretty an outfit can make oneself appear with the right hair and makeup, the fashion element becoming secondary. Is the art being showcased or is the person being showcased? Take Anya for example, she doesn't seem preoccupied with looking like a super model or being the hottest thing to walk through the Tuileries. Does that mean she takes zero pride in beauty or looking good? Of course not, it's just probably not her first fashion concern. And the same could be said about people like Emmanuelle Alt or Julia Sarr-Jamois.
There's not one mode that's better than the other, it all comes down to personal preference. I'm not going to judge someone for wanting to look pretty. I mean, in some way don't we all? However, as someone who respects the craft of fashion, I think it's important to recognize that there is, in fact, a difference and to call it what it is.
There was a time when the It Girl was someone truly aspirational, when information moved slower, and people had time to discover themselves and develop tastes. While the internet is a miracle tool in uniting the world and getting news at lightning speeds, it also makes haste the development of who we are as people. Popular things, beautiful things, It things are fed to us as gospel and we eat it up and suddenly want to buy into it too. It's so much harder to be an individual in this day and age when everything's been done and redone and then redone better. But you know what's truly individual? Simply being you, even if what you are is the same as the person next to you. The courage to not try to be something you're not for fear of falling behind. Your It Girl - do you want to look like her or do you want to be her because she really is someone noteworthy?
Not only as a reader, but as a person, I think it's prudent to question everything. Questioning someone isn't insulting to the person (well, depending on your intentions), but rather a means by which you gain perspective on whether they're really worthy of your admiration. Questions lead to answers and answers lead to clearer pictures. Why wouldn't you question me, a stranger on the internet, and wonder why my life seems so great? (Does it?) Why I have an endless closet? (I don't.) Why would you accept that everything on your screen is the god's honest truth? The easiest way to know yourself is to be aware of what's around you and to pick up on the subtle distinctions between things that others may not see, to know how you are aligned with those things.
There is a lot of identity in fashion. Do you know who you are?