Friday, September 27, 2013

Outfit Tastes Part One

Luckily for time-poor style bloggers like myself there is Instagram. Not only can you take a quick shot of your ensemb on the go (no tripod and self-timer required!), if you are already out and about you can score a cool background for your picture without necessarily having to plan an excursion ('I saw this blue wall near Woollahra the other week, it was kind of near the row of art galleries? But if we drive around for a while we'll probably find it again...?') and these are all GOOD THINGS.

And so lately I have been "micro-blogging" all over my Instagram and loving it, loving it readers! But the thing about Instagram is it prioritises* the image- no room for proper explanations of context or the ever-fascinating motivations behind dressing which is part of what I love about style blogging. So here is the rejoinder to my outfit Instagrams of late, if you will (and I am!)

So you'll remember these pants from here. Nick bought them for me in Michigan- in Holland, to be precise. They are actual football pants in the team colours of Hope College's football team, the Dutchman (fyi Holland was 'settled' by Dutch immigrants which explains the town name and also the patriotic orange and blue team colours). Luckily for me, these pants were left on the rail, the lonely unsold remnant left at the end of the season- I guess there wasn't a footy player weedy enough to fit into them?- and they cost the princely sum of $5. I still remember the incredulous look of the guy working in the Sports Goods store when I came out of the change-room flushed with success (sort of like 'why does she want those? Is she crazy?' Maybe a little bit, Sporting Goods guy. Maybe just a little bit.)

The thing is the pants are fitted. And I mean fitted. Which is fine and everything but were also a bit of a styling challenge- if I wore something too fitted on top, I felt too neat; but too loose on top and I was cut in half. If I layered an oversize shirt over, I lost the amazing laces detail in front. But you know what? Paired with this Dries Van Noten white shirt the texture of a fancy dinner napkin and all of a sudden I feel amazing. The kind of fresh orange and white combo I love colour-wise (burnt orange suits everyone! Black, white, rocking a tan (fake please) or computer-screen wan, it is universally foxy. Try it, you'll see) and enough fabric on top to balance the skin-tight party going on all over my thighs.

So there am I in perhaps the most beautifully lit photograph ever taken of me, standing on a street near work for a streetstyle photograph. Unfortunately I was not smiling in the photo so inevitably look sullen, so I cropped my head out of it- this way is much better, trust me. And also, it brings the pants up into the centre of the frame where they truly belong. 

And then last week I went to the Art Gallery of NSW's 'Art After Hours' thing. It's a regular thing, it happens every Wednesday night and there is live music and a wine bar and the gallery is open for wandering up until 9pm. And talks and movies. And lots of interesting arty types to discreetly admire the wardrobe choices of. So anyway I wanted to dress to do justice to the occasion (I always hanker to dress more carefully when I'm going to an art gallery- like an homage to the works, I guess. Is that weird?) and also I was meeting this goddess:

This is Bekah. I could write a whole blogpost about what an amazing, beautiful and talented woman she is but for now you need to know that she lives and breathes art (and was so gracious when I, puzzled by some of the contemporary pieces, asked her what classed them as art and not just a photo someone took. More than that, she gave thoughtful, intelligent and non-judgey answers which tells you so much about her) and also, as you see, she has incredible style. This is the kind of outfit Bekah wears every day- it's not what she wore that night which you can sort of see here:

She told em that earlier that day she was trying on the black top with the cut-away back you see here, and had just pulled the dress she was already wearing already down in the change-room. Catching sight of how it looked with the shirt, she just bought the top and walked out of the shop to wear her dress as a skirt for the rest of the day! Ah I love her. (Here she is looking at one of my favourite contemporary Indigenous Australian artworks on display at the moment, 'Minyi Putu' by Jakayu Biljabu.)

(proper colours here)

So there we were, wandering the cool passages of the gallery when. I. Saw. This:

Tracey Emin. In the flesh. 
I have loved her work ever since 2004 when I discovered her work through a collaboration she did with Longchamp (the 'International Woman' series? It's still not over. Although, this article talks a little on how Emin later felt exploited by the brand, that the collaboration was just part of a 'PR drive' rather than her original sentiment that it was making her work more readily accessible). She also did a series of neon writing pieces, one of which was hanging nearby this quilt so she is right up there in my favourite contemporary artists category. 

I just stood and looked and looked and stood. And then started to wonder about the construction, like any good fashion nerd worth her salt. I peered around the back to see how it had been sewn and then this happened:

Unintentional outfit/artwork matching. Just took my homage dressing to a whole 'nother level.

So here I am wearing my beloved second-hand Bernhard Willhelm check dress, plaid tights from Myer (their tights selection is fantastic, I highly recommend), the Jil Sander neon strip shoes** and this beautiful quilted coat my Granny sewed entirely out of Liberty florals in the 1980s. It is also fully lined with Liberty florals, sigh

It is another piece it took me a while to figure out how to wear, mostly because the quilting adds quite a lot of padding to my arms and torso- that's the whole point of the shape of the coat but for a self-conscious, body-conscious teen/early 20s-er the last thing I wanted was more bulk on my body. Luckily I hung onto it, recognising the beauty and craftsmanship and love stitched into it, and now I wear it whenever the weather cools enough to slip it on. Or whenever I have artworks to blend into.

images 2, 3 and 7 belong to Bekah

*I wanted to use a version of 'primacy'- primacises? That's not a word. But maybe it should be! Thoughts?

** Funny story about the Jil Sander neon strip shoes: maybe I've mentioned before how much attention these shoes garner from male passers-by? Not sexual attention, but entirely shoe-admiring attention. I see their eyes following my feet and often get a 'cool shoes!' as I walk past. My favourite instance of this was when I was recently flying back to Sydney from London. I was at Heathrow Security and I'd just hesitantly walked through the magnetic barrier thing. It didn't beep (always a relief even when I know I'm not wearing any metal, what is that?!) but the eyes of the male guard were fixed on my shoes. Uh-oh... do I need to take them off and walk through again? NAH! 'I like your shoes!' he says with a smile as I stand there uncertainly. Best!

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