While no one by any stretch of imagination would consider me a fashionista, I do actually have a great interest in all the ways each of us have available to creatively express ourselves, and that absolutely includes how we adorn ourselves.
I also think it’s true what Epictetus declared: “Know, first, who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly.” There’s something satisfying about this for me, the possibility that our clothing/adornments get to reflect our internal selves externally. It, of course, can be complicated – it’s hard to deny the impact of social norms and personal finances and a myriad of other things. But I love the idea that I read about in some fantasy book ages ago about stashes of costumes hidden in caches in every forest. No one owned anything, including clothing, but they were free to borrow whatever they chose and everyone was delighted. How perfect is that?
My interest in textiles, especially those richly textured, has been with me for a long time. For years I’ve kept a journal in which I attach swatches of materials and fashion illustrations. It’s sort of the secret closet I don’t actually have, and it delights me no end.
My current musings about clothing were likely precipitated by two books I recently finished reading. First up, The Secret Lives of Dresses by Erin McKean. I was charmed by this one – the tale of a young woman who takes over her beloved grandmother’s vintage clothing store and falls in love with the dresses and their stories.
In keeping with my practice of awarding a rating based on floriography, the language of flowers, giving a hint at the plot as well as my appraisal, I would offer a bouquet of Ambrosia (love returned), Dogwood (durability), and White Periwinkle (pleasures of memory).
Fashion Forecasts by Yumi Sakugawa is another delight, filled with the strange illustrated musings of the author of what fashions might look like in the near future. It was originally produced as a limited-edition zine to accompany an art installation she did, and the book includes photos of the installation as well. I’m awarding this one a floriography rating of a vaseful of Saffron Crocus (mirth), Garden Ranunculus (rich in attractions), and Larch (audacity and boldness).
What’s your take on fashion? A fashionista? Someone with a clear style that reflects the inner you? Or perhaps a devotee of Gilda Radner who famously said: “I base most of my fashion taste on what doesn’t itch.” Do tell – you know I love to hear.
No fashionista, I. In following my spirit, the clothing wrapped accordingly. Which I suppose supports Epictetus! I do love fabric, though. YAM xx
I’d say you’re got it down perfectly Yamini – following your spirit. 🙂
I’m more of a Gilda Radner. I have my teacher outfits and some snazzy boots, plus a couple of royal blue dressy dresses. But mostly I wear short/long sleeved tee-shirts(I collect them from places I go) and sport leggings, mostly Under Armour. I’m definitely on the casual side! I loved the book “The Language of Flowers” which was fascinating. I didn’t know (before then) that such a thing existed.
Gilda was a wise woman indeed. It’s fun to peek into each other’s wardrobes and get a sense of people isn’t it?
Hi Deborah – well you fascinated me … I’ve ordered Dresses … as sounds a delightful book – which I may well give to a goddaughter … seems to be entrancing in its tale. You’ve also directed me towards Epictetus … who I must explore at some stage! Cheers Hilary
What a fun idea Hilary to perhaps share the book with your goddaughter. There’s something delightful about passing on books and sharing thoughts about them that seems to grow relationships in unexpected ways. You’ve to love that. I’ll enjoy reading about your explorations of Epictetus if you decide to share them someday.
I’ve always loved fashion, although I would only describe myself as a fashionista in an alternative universe. My mom, who was definitely a fashionista, was an expert seamstress and sewed many pieces for me when I was a kid and in my early teens. Her favorite designers were Chanel, Yves St Laurent, Carolina Herrera and Mary Quant. She thought Coco, Yves and Carolina too sophisticated for my age (true), so she would draw up patterns for Mary style dresses and outfits. I loved what she made for me, and it would fit perfectly. By the time I was 16ish, I was on to blue jeans and peasant shirts, of which she made many…peasant shirts, not jeans. For awhile, before her health issues, Kayce and I talked about designing and selling clothing on a small scale. We still talk about designing textiles, all of which can be done via computer, these days. Kayce has designed and sold some, and it’s on my ‘wanna do list.’
Besides my twenty years and counting subscription to Vanity Fair (great ads and articles) my other guilty pleasure is the weekly designer runway video emails I get from Vogue. I think, these days, my favorites are Carolina Herrera and Karl Lagerfeld’s last five or six seasons for Chanel. OMG, his florals were gorgeous and the details always exquisite. He always had his own vision, unique and beautiful. He was a Master.
I’ve been a Gilda most of my adult life. Nowadays, I’m back to jeans and peasant blouses, soft and roomy.
Wow Pattie – I can’t believe I didn’t know any of these things. How fun to discover this new-to-me facet of you! I can absolutely see you designing textiles. In fact I think you should sketch some patterns, have them printed by some company like Spoonflower and then use them to cover some of your sketchbooks. You could be a walking advertisement of you and your many talents!
Decades ago, I did training to become a model. As fun as it was, decided not to pursue a career in that branche. Some fashion styles, these days, I just don’t understand…too weird for my taste, haha.
Never both anything because it was or is a trend. Always staying true to my own taste and being a Mimosa Pudica, whimsical at times, my mood regularly is in line with what I wear. At the same time, I love to wear black, even when cheerful 🙂
What a fun post to reflect on the connection with fashion and clothing!
I love that you’ve always been true to sense of self Patty. You may not be a working model, but you are very good at modeling behaviors and attitudes that uplift and unify. So maybe you are the best kind of model after all. 🙂
Your response made me blush. Thank you!