Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.—Coco Chanel
Fashion is something that eludes 98 percent of all people. Take this wedding dress, for example, from designer Catherine Fritsch; as wonderful a concept as it is, the dress didn’t actually sell until years after this photo was initially released. The problem isn’t with the dress, but the not-quite-in-touch fashion opinions of those who turned it down. Thinking of all the brides who went with dresses as staid and boring as their now-married lives makes me sad. Fashion is about expression and personality and when one chooses less-than-interesting fashion for themselves they’re not exactly putting their best foot forward.
This photo also reminds me of just how much people change over the years. Originally taken in 2011, our model, Erin, was a bright, young college student working on her degree. She’s now married with a beautiful little girl and is head of a relatively significant government agency. Makeup artist Christopher Thompson now runs a haunted B&B in Atlanta, Indiana. Catherine Fritsch rebranded last year and her Rue Violet line generally sells quite well. Isn’t it wonderful to watch people grow?
Speaking of growing, let’s get to today’s list:
5 Signs You Are A Fashion Failure
When you see a dog wearing the same outfit as you and the dog wears it better.
Just because you saw something on last season’s runway, or your favorite celebrity, doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. Consider how a garment is cut, whether it’s full or tailored. Full cuts are more generous and work with a wider variety of body types. Tailored looks, though, especially those designed to be tight around the hips and waist, make the wearer look like a sausage bursting from its casing if their curves don’t match the designer’s ideal. It’s better to have a wardrobe that actually looks good on you rather than trying to adopt someone else’s style.
When there’s no Pantone® number to match anything you’re wearing.
A couple of caveats at the beginning of this one: if you’re legitimately color blind you get a pass as well as if you’re young enough your mother still dresses you. For those who don’t know, Pantone® is the color-matching system used by printers to make sure they’re printing the correct color. Pantone has identified hundreds of thousands of shades of everything and indexed them numerically; they pretty much have ever visible color covered. Yet, every once in a while I’ll come across someone who has put a color combination on their body that even the Pantone book doesn’t cover it. No, dear, it doesn’t look good no matter what your friends say; they’re laughing behind your back. There are color wheels and charts all over the Internet. Use one.
When people follow you because they’re sure you must be on your way to a circus.
I’ve seen designers send some pretty bizarre looks down the runway, but nothing beats the collision of styles that occurs when some people start mixing separates. Not everyone has a talent for matching styles and fabrics well. As a result, we see things like polka dots and ruffles mixed with denim and lace and two or three different animal prints along with stripes running in three different directions and eight contrasting colors all in the same look. No. Stop. Barnum & Bailey is not a personal style. Seek help.
When you’re wearing fishnet and the park ranger gives you a ticket for carrying over the limit.
The only thing that really looks good in fishnet every time is fish. Sure, we see a lot of it on the runways, but the best applications are as accents or carefully matched accessories, and even those don’t always work in the real world where we have to figure out how to dress ourselves. Remember, fishnet exposes what lies beneath it. Do you really need what is under your fishnet exposed? Also, just because fishnet is flexible doesn’t mean its tensile strength should be tested. Fishnet is ultimately a tailored element; don’t push it.
When the tags in all your clothes say “Made In Bangladesh.”
Check the labels in your clothes before you buy anything. If the label says made in Bangladesh, Taiwan, Singapore, or Vietnam, know that your garment is assembled by the poorest of the poor, typically in conditions worse than those in which we house our farm animals. Among those, Bangladesh is likely the worst. If you’re buying clothes from H&M, Wal-Mart, Target, Old Navy, Penney’s, K-Mart, or any other discounter, chances are you’re contributing to the economic enslavement of thousands. Read here, here, here, and here for more details, then change your buying habits.
One of the many things I dislike about American buying habits this time of year is the over-emphasis on sales and who has the lowest prices. Fashion isn’t cheap. Quality clothes aren’t often found on the racks of discounters. Where and how you spend your money makes a difference in the lives of thousands of people. In the shopping realm of the holiday season, today is Small Business Saturday. We strongly encourage you to take advantage and look for garments made by local designers. Sure, you’re not going to find any $5 price tags, but your money is more likely to help someone rather than contribute to their enslavement.
Use some common sense, people. Shop smart. Happy holidays.