This week was all about the challenge of translating high fashion trends to wearable fashion. Most of the time, I’m not very concerned about whether I’m on trend on not, so this week pushed me out of my comfort zone. I decided to take each trend as far as I felt like I could go, while still maintaining some level of dignity and professionalism. So if you see something I’m trying and think, “That’s cool, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable in that outfit,” remember that you can take individual elements and make them work for you. I’m pushing each outfit to its limit (and past some of my limits), but you don’t have to.
The first trend I took on was this year’s take on the Old West. I think Maria Grazia Chiuri’s resort collection for Dior (on location in the high desert) was the year’s best example of mythic western meets haute couture. It has elements of spaghetti westerns, Victoriana, a whole lot of The Magnificent Seven, even a little steampunk. Epic.
I tried not to go too literal with it, because I didn’t want people to look at me and think Rodeo. I didn’t wear jeans or a bandana or fringe – it was more about the feeling that it gave me and the image it gave off to other people.
The base layer is a black dress that I don’t wear that often, but I should. It’s my go-to choir concert dress. It has long sleeves, a hem that hits below the knee, and a collar. On its own, it ages me. Combined with a tailored tweed vest and boots, the older-looking elements of the dress become features. I tied on a scarf to give a little bit of color and pattern and give the idea of a bandana without being that literal. The leather jacket added another tough element to an already tough ensemble, but the scarf and dress kept it from being armor. It’s a mix of soft, worn material and tough, worn leather. The important thing is that it all looks functional and lived-in.
The whole ensemble pleased me. It turned out better than I thought it would. This is my favorite style that I tried this week. If you want to incorporate a few western elements into your fall wardrobe, here are a few things that would look great:
The Warm Fuzzies
It’s all about fleecy-furry-fuzzy things this fall. I’m always happy to hear that comfy things are in style, because I LOVE COMFY. I borrowed my sister’s vest for this one, because I actually don’t own much faux fur (or I do, but it hasn’t come out of the winter box yet and I can’t remember it).
This style is fun and meant to be playful. A faux fur jacket can make an entire outfit look more glam. If it is bright pink, all the better! I went with muted tones for this look, but bright faux fur is really popular right now.
SO COMFY. I want to steal my sister’s vest now. I should just get my own.
Fuzziness doesn’t always have to be in a vest or a jacket form. A furry scarf or hat always looks great. I’ve seen sweaters with faux fur elements (sleeves or panels or collars) and those are super fun. Here are a few more ways to bring fur into your life:
Textiles and Proportion
This look ticked quite a few trend boxes and it definitely felt a little over the top. But I’m here to go big or go home. Here are some of the trends:
Oversized jacket, strong shoulders, belted at the waist. CHECK.
Plaid / check patterns. CHECK.
Earthy browns and grays. CHECK.
This look started with the brown check shirt that I borrowed from a friend. Plaids and checks are back in a big way. This is good news for the Pacific Northwest, where plaid is a way of life. If you don’t own plaid already, be on the lookout for plaid and check material in muted colors and earth tones. Think 1970s, because that’s another huge trend right now.
Wool and tweed and velvet and fur continue to hold our attention (very luxurious). Be on the lookout for wool coats and sweaters at thrift stores. Look in the men’s and women’s section and if you find a coat in a larger size, belt it at the waist to give it some shape and visual interest. Wide belts are back. I used to wear wide belts all the time, but I dragged them out and all my wide belts look like they belong to women who run pirate cruises. Pretty hideous. TIME TO UPGRADE. I’m going to invest in a belt this fall. A grown up belt.
I threw on knee socks and oxfords, because they went with the vibe, but I think it was a mistake. They kept me warm, so I’ll wear knee socks again, but not with such a busy outfit.
Silver and Fall Florals
Silver is the new metallic in town. I love metallics. I have a pair of dull silver oxford shoes that I wear with everything, but I don’t have any silver clothes, so I borrowed a sweater from my sister for this day. It’s gray with metallic threads running through it, so it’s pretty subtle.
I wear florals all year round anyway, so I’m delighted that floral prints are trending this season. If you don’t usually wear florals, start small. Try a scarf or a pair of shoes. In the fall and winter, I usually stick to prints with darker backgrounds and richer colors. If I go for a pastel print in the fall, I’ll pair it with brown or navy to give it some depth.
Silver adds a great spark. Here are some ideas for how to add it in:
And here are some retro floral prints that would look great going into fall:
Fashion is always politically charged, but this year has been pouring out high voltage. Culturally, there have been two collections that defined this year. When we look back at 2017, I think we’re going to remember Gucci’s spring show and Dior’s statement t-shirt.
Gucci has been having quite the year. Instead of having separate runway shows for men and women, they had a co-ed show with men and women walking together. The whole aesthetic was very feminine, including the men’s looks. There was a persistent butterfly theme that represented transfiguration. The message was pretty clear – their future is female and men will become more feminine, until they are almost indistinguishable from women. The worship of women has begun. Dior’s “We Should All Be Feminists” t-shirt is saying the same thing, but in a more straightforward way.
I tried to mimic the Gucci aesthetic on Friday. This was the most difficult day, because I fundamentally disagreed with the whole idea they were working with. It’s like they took all the stereotypical feminine elements of clothes and put them into a blender. Flowers and butterflies and embroidery and lace and pink and bows and bright colors all over the place. Some of the pieces are gorgeous, but they are swallowed by the chaos. This look was hard to pull off, because I didn’t feel like myself. The outfit felt chaotic and forced.
There are some beautiful elements in Gucci’s style, so it has a strange draw for me (strange being the operative word). But I don’t want to be drawn in by it. I’m a woman and I don’t want to be worshiped or put on a pedestal or lifted up as some shining example. That’s a good way to get a warped perspective or get destroyed. I don’t want other people forced to be like just like me. That’s crazy. I don’t want society to be so scared of masculinity that we remove all trace of it and replace it with femininity. We need true masculinity and true femininity, which is so far beyond throwing bows and lace and makeup all together.
If you don’t think about fashion, start thinking about it. What is it saying about you? What is it saying about the culture you live in? Don’t write it off as unimportant. If we keep letting other people dress us, our clothes will keep saying whatever they want to say. So make sure you understand what they are saying.