Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Peter Pan (ducks head)

I need to add another fashion personality. It's one I'm ashamed of, because it doesn't say anything original or creative about my approach to dress. If anything, it implies that I am a slave to fashion, or at least overly suggestible. So I hereby announce Fashion Personality # I've lost track: Alexa Chung.

I came to this realization when I found myself craving, desperately, a Peter Pan collar. But not one of the big round ones that were on the hideous blouses of my youth. No, a refined one, more like a regular collar, but rounded. I used to hate rounded edges on clothing, especially collars. This was a constant across my multiple fashion personalities. But I couldn't help myself. Pointed collars started to seem blah, if not outright wrong. So much so that I went to two Uniqlos to track down the shirt, and bought a size too big because they still had (but now discounted to an acceptable $30 - $50 had seemed steep for a dress shirt for someone who works at home or in libraries) the +J platonic ideal.

And I began connecting the dots: ombré hair? Not currently happening, but it did happen, so, check. Breton-striped shirt paired with army-green whatever and rain boots? Check. Shrunken fisherman sweater? Check. Shorts with tights underneath? And so on. While I can't say for sure that Chung herself has worn each of the things I've bought with this fashion personality in mind, nor can I rule out all other influences (shorts and tights having been very much the thing when I was last studying in Paris) there is, more often than I'd like to admit, a subconscious WWACW decision process taking place.

Aside from the embarrassing fact that I am buying things because a "fashion icon" or "it girl" or whatever is wearing them, making me the worst kind of consumer of all (even if I'm not precisely buying more than I would otherwise - it's that this is guiding purchases I'd make either way; I'm if anything buying less than usual for the simple reason that I live in the woods and don't do much online shopping), what bothers me about this is that the Alexa Chung thing is precisely what I'm always advising against, namely taking fashion inspiration from people who'd look good in whatever they wore. E.g. the "off-duty model" trend in style blogs.

Alexa Chung is, in part, a model, but that's the least of it. She looks like the prettiest girl in my high school class, but elongated to runway model height. I... found out at my annual checkup that I'd gained three pounds and half an inch of height, and left beaming because this makes me 5'2" and a half. The main social component of my life in the woods is going to a 3pm coffee hour for academics. (And I'm not knocking the coffee hour! It's just not a very "it girl" activity.) No matter how ombréd, no matter how daintily rounded my collars, I will never be confused with Alexa Chung. But some part of my shopping-and-styling-that-which-I-already-own brain can hope.

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