I haven't read this new book by Garance Dore of course -- it's just out. But I have read several reviews of it in the media over the past several days.
And it intrigues me. Dore is not talking about fashion as consumerist consumption but rather personal style as an expression of inner values. The idea of the outside communicating the inside . . . something like what Susan Peirce Thompson talks about in her Bright Line Eating videos, about wanting to wear a body that is congruent with who she is as a human being.
I know that I burble on about "outfits" here from time to time and have a little bit of an undeserved reputation for being "fashionable". (Which actually has the effect of making me more reticent about this aspect of my life than I might otherwise be . . . )
Truly, being fashionable is not it for me. I love to think about what I'm wearing as an expression of who I am, and one means (of many) to keep me motivated to maintain my body, so that can continue to wear the clothes which express who I am on any given day or occasion.
Don't spent a lot on clothing. It's cast-offs from girlfriends who've by and large outgrown items they once loved -- or sales rack items -- or ebay "new with tags" -- or etsy vintage jewellery: all of that. But almost never do I go out and buy an outfit , new, at anything remotely close to full price.
Love to put together items I have (some of them for over 30 years) in different ways. Love to find the courage to be slightly outrageous and possibly even faintly ridiculous: never taking myself very seriously.
If at age 64 you're prepared to wear a black velvet strapless with above-the-elbow black satin gloves, a giant sapphire and white topaz cocktail ring OVER the gloves, and sequin-toed evening slippers, and a black velvet fur trimmed wrap, and -- yup, I bailed on the fascinator!!-- then it's so important the "outfit" doesn't wear YOU. Right? Because if you're self-conscious, it doesn't matter a bit what you're wearing: it's never going to feel right. Or look right. Right being: this is who I am right now.
You put it on, you forget it, you focus on other people (who may themselves be feeling self-conscious), you have fun: and we did. DH looked fantastic in his black tie and pleated shirt and pearl studs and cummerbund and patent tuxedo shoes and red bow tie: with just a glimpse of the red satin lining of his jacket flashing . . . . I've gotta work hard to deserve this handsome guy!
We couldn't dance much: I'm still in too much pain (I know, I know: my own darn fault, I do get that. Live and learn, right?)
Pictures? They don't capture the spirit of the thing and it's the spirit of the thing that counted. If it's useful at all for me to burble on about this topic, it's in so far as one other person might also think about what to wear to express who he or she is, today: right here, right now.
And who I am is just as likely to be corduroy skinnies with ankle boots and a cashmere sweater -- and a padded denim jean jacket with Mongolian lamb collar and cuffs! That sounds good for today, actually: gotta get some groceries!
But it was certainly a nice moment for me last evening when a complete stranger approached me in the buffet line and said (respectfully, kindly), "You look absolutely beautiful."
Yup. Helps keep me motivated, no question about it! Helps me feel congruent and integrated, inside and out . . . body, mind and spirit.
Style helps me love my life.