If you ask people who’ve met me in passing somewhere out in the scene, you might hear my personality described as “dramatic”, “loves attention”, “loves the limelight”, etc…
I’ve always been a little bit, shall we say,
irrational, devoted when it comes to my Sunnies. Like certain women from Texas who have a thing for bouffants, I’ve always believed that bigger is better. Or, in the words of Magdalena de la Cruz, the protagonist of my novel So L.A. “As long as you have a good purse and big enough sunglasses you can get away with anything in Los Angeles.”
Case in point? See “Post Exhibit A” (archived by my mother) wherein I rock a gingham chambray jumper and fashion a pair of red sunglasses in perfect “Sunnies-Quite-Possibly-Bigger-than-my-Face” style. I was maybe two.
Come to think of it, it could be said that the best part about Los Angeles is the fact that you can wear Sunnies anywhere, anytime, always. It matters not that you’re indoors. Nor does it matter that it’s after dark. I’m going out on a glamor limb here, dangling dangerously from a date palm tree, but I’m going to admit that in addition to sporting Sunnies to match my dress, I may even have sunglasses for different qualities of light. I mean, doesn’t everyone?
My best pair of Sunnies, by far, were a vintage pair of off-white Dior glasses (see “Post Exhibit B”). They were HUGE in the best possible way. And they died a tragic death in the hands of my daughter, who, when she was two, went on a spiteful sunglass busting bender. She just snapped every pair she could find: crack, pop, burst, like a wishbone the week after Thanksgiving. I was devastated. In fact, I still am.
In the hours after, when I was in shock and unveiled disbelief, I rushed out of the house with my puffy eyes exposed and drove them to three (yes I said three) certified optometrists, an ophthalmologist, a jeweler and a patio-glass repair man (that was when I was really desperate) but all six told me the same thing: Ma’am I’m sorry but…
Even still I couldn’t part with them. I keep the left “arm” as well as the right “three-quarters” of these glasses (of these tinted, broken dreams) on my desk as a reminder of who I used to be. They are joined by four other, less meaningful pairs, that were also busted by the baby. It’s a variable vintage sunglasses graveyard.
My current (favorite) Sunnies are newer and slightly smaller (not by choice) and much less fabulous, but in quintessential Didion fashion, they are about three-and-one-half inches round and a muted grey (perhaps because I am still in mourning?)
Bridget is a friend, mentor, inspiration, advisor, twitter follower, confidante, et cetera…
I learned a lot about self-acceptance from Bridget’s writing advice during my years as an undgrad (and afterwards).
As it turns out, writers view words as instruments by which individuals connect to others. I learned that writing can be formatted in any way as long as the message and the spirit of the message are successfully transported to another — carrying with it the essence of its source.
Writing is a vehicle.
And, unlike perfectly formatted bullets on a memo, the musings of a good writer isn’t only concerned with getting you to point B –– she wants to take you on a ride!!!
Congrats on your beautiful book, B. And, thanks for the ride.
So you still think style’s just a bunch of fluff?
Katy Perry’s photographs by Jannson in Interview mag beg to differ.
When you’re in the media’s eye and every step you take is scrutinized, publicized and tweeted, it’s tough to create a brand without your audience’s approval and agreement. It could be even harder to break out of your teeny-bopper persona … unless you’ve got the right tools and strategy to to make your desired new message clear.
The photographs of Katy Perry below successfully reposition the celebrity and communicates a clear message. What’s the message???
Take me seriously; I’m a talented and professional performer.
(Blk/Wht Photography by MIKAEL JANSSON)
#3PCstyle details: https://myprettypinkponies.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/3pcstyle.pdf
Join our Twittter/Pinterest conversation with Fashion Designer, Lando Ortega tonight at 6:30 (PT).
Lando provides us with his expert opinion on the following:
- Does fashion or style matter? Why/Why not?
- What kind of impact does styling and fashion have on women?
- How do we dress for who we really are (vs. who we wish to be) – body type, fit, style, fabric, drape…?
Please feel free to interject with follow up questions and thoughts after our guest has responded to the current question. Thank you!!!
Resources: Edith Head's How to Dress for Success Sasha Charnin Morrison's Secrets of Stylists: An Insider's Guide To Styling The Stars
Some consider the art of dressing, fashion and styling as a superfluous use of one’s time and energy. They’re right. Fashion can be overthought and when combined with the forces of retail marketing, fashion can result in addiction to consumption.
The Hollywood cliché of the teenage girl’s obsession with her image, shopping with her friends and becoming an over-accessorized one dimensional version of her true potential stems from a very real power fashion magazines, shows and other media have on our values. It can be a limiting existence to live life pursuing an impossible opportunity to become another Kardashian sister.
However, if taken seriously without being obsessively vain, the art of dressing becomes a tool for the sophisticated individual. Fashion – or, in the case of our topic, dressing – is akin to a product’s packaging in that it serves several important roles.
We liken the importance of dressing to the importance of a container; both are extensions of the product itself and both help create a product’s appeal, ensure its preservation, and operates as a means of communication between the brand and its target market.
If you open most books about packaging, you’ll learn that an effective package provides a product with the following:
As a professional possessing valuable skills and talent to offer the world you, too, are a product that needs to be packaged appropriately to appeal to the audience you aim to reach.
Think about it. If a product’s packaging didn’t accurately reflect its contents, how would the buyer react upon discovering that the delicious marshmallows he brought home from the store were instead a package of raw tofu???
Being inappropriately ‘packaged’ will result in disappointments.
Proper Packaging: clothing that serves its purpose
So, how exactly do we package ourselves? Glad you asked.
Dressing up or down (or not at all) can be fun. However, when functioning in society, there are responsibilities we must honor before fulfilling our desire to amuse ourselves and do whatever we’d like without regard for rules.
Like a product’s container, our clothing must serve its primary functions before it acts as an extension of our individuality and brand’s message. Typography is useless on a box that doesn’t properly secure the eggs on its way to your kitchen from the grocery store.
In other words your clothes have responsibilites. Your clothing need to fulfill their responsibilities before they can scream, “Louis Vuitton!”.
As a courtesy, we’ve developed a guideline in the form of a checklist to make sure your outfit is at the very least serving its primary purpose.
1. Containment – Does it sufficiently contain and cover its contents?
2. Protection – Is your outfit appropriate for the environment, weather, social context you’ll be wearing it to? (i.e. flip flops outdoors during a snowstorm, etc…)
3. Convenience – Does your clothing allow you to move comfortably and with ease? Does it fit you properly? Will you have difficulty performing at your optimum level in these clothes?
4. Information – What message does your clothing communicate to society as a whole?
5. Marketing – Are you wearing any symbols or styles that will connect with the specific group you wish to appeal to? Will your market be attracted to you given how you are presented?
(To be continued…)
When I worked full time in corporate America, I was always polished and groomed at the office. I worked in an environment where presentation and details made a huge impact on the perception of one’s sense of professionalism.
That said, it was always so refreshing to become “un-pretty” during weekends.
What does it mean to be “un-pretty”? First, let’s take a look at what “pretty” means:
I define ‘pretty’ as being polite, pleasant and polished. “Pretty” is the very essence of being a lady — coiffed hair, a manicure, a poise presentation, warm, approachable and socially graceful. (Think of a house party’s hostess – friendly and sociable). Someone “pretty” offers you coffee and cookies when you visit their homes. The “pretty” girl tells you how great you look (to simplify the concept); she is concerned about whether or not you’re comfortable and considers what your preferences are.
When I use the term “un-pretty”, I’m not implying that I made an effort to look unattractive (although, a lot of times, this was the case). What I mean is, my style of presentation was less ladylike and lacked the polish and niceties one would expect from a pageant-trained woman.
How does one achieve a “pretty” look?
Feminine make up highlighting the shape of one’s eyes + full lips + groomed brows and hairstyle + polished ready-to-face-the-camera style + tailored and put-togehter – any piece of hair out of place
I love the “un-pretty” side of my closet as much as the polished and tailored pieces I own. It’s necessary, at times, to wear wrinkled shirts, athletic shoes, cotton tees and unruly hair. I say this because I think it’s an advantage to be comfortable even without having to project the socially-constructed version of “girl”. You can be attractive in various ways — wearing pearls and a tiara or sneakers and a baseball cap.
To me, an un-pretty style can convey the gritty sexiness of Marlon Brando’s Stanley Kowalski.
Un-pretty means dressing with style without having to make a lot of effort — in So Cal this laid-back style is one that many non- L.A. natives try very hard to emulate. It’s the confidence in one’s self without having to look like a doll who took two hours to apply make up.
It’s an image that actors and models (who spend their working days in full make-up) naturally have on their days off. A look that conveys the understanding that if they wanted to, they could very well shave their scruff and be as pretty as they come. The “unpretty” girl doesn’t necessarily say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ in a bubbly voice. She may give you a smirk or a nod of acknowledgement if she’s pleased with you.
Simplified, the “unpretty” girl asks you for a smoke without taking into consideration whether or not you approve of her smoking. She is not as self-conscious as her socially-graceful “pretty” girl counterpart.
How does one achieve this un-pretty too-cool-to-care style?
“undone hair” + cotton tee + element of relaxed or athletic gear – bubbly persona – string of pearls – “matchy-matchy” accessories + grit + attitude…
– Gwen Stefani
This quote speaks to how essential image is for a person’s success. Gwen Stefani’s style and character is just as much a part of her identity as her musical talent. It wouldn’t be the same if she showed up to “work” lazily dressed in frumpy clothes. That’s not what her boss (fans) pays her for.
In a similar way, professionals are expected to dress according to what their business, industry, leaders, clients, expect of them. It’s part of your identity as a responsible and successful pro.
Do you agree?
The lovely American fashion designer was born in California to a Dutch mother and an Indian father.
Wikipedia tells us that the designer got her start by working part-time at a retail store, Contempo Casuals, at the age of 14…Her trajectory spiked exponentially upward from there…
The official YouTube channel for fashion designer Rachel Roy.
Rachel Roy’s designs capture a sense of lady-like glamour with a subtle feminine edge. With knee-length pencil skirts and blouses, the label’s aesthetic catches the eye with a familiar and classic silhouette. However, by combining unusual colors, patterns and fabrics, the lady-like silhouette becomes modern. Cool.
Rachel Roy’s style is one a career-focused young woman can wear with confidence (without having to dress like the boys).
. . .
Yet strangely, Los Angeles is not a town for high fashion, for $5,000
head-to-toe designer outfits. “We’re behind a little,” Cota admits. “Or
we don’t pay attention. Fashion Week in L.A. is not the strongest. It’s
not a priority.”
We disagree wholeheartedly.
There are many [mainstream] styles distinctly “L.A.” (that is, styles organically-raised by subcultures “born” in our town). Those who contributed to the article seem to have been too busy to watch L.A. “looks” go from underground to boutique to mainstream Wal-Mart.
In this case, the quote above was coming from the perspective of a designer/business-owner who is more likely speaking to the popularity of fashion and style in terms of business revenue. “Style” in L.A. doesn’t always generate revenue for store-owners because not all L.A. socialites (unlike their East Coast counterparts) necessarily feel required to carry luxury-brand handbags to gain admission into exclusive social circles. Some do. However, others use some form of “cultural and/or social currency” (more on this topic of “cool” later) to “belong”. It’s less likely for an L.A. socialite to be dismissed for not having blood ties to Andrew Carnegie. Thus, display of “old money” is less relevant to become popular in this town.
That doesn’t mean “L.A. is behind”, Mr. Cota. It just means we can use many alternatives to luxury brand clothing and accessories to demonstrate to others just how “cool” we are.
There’s certainly a backlash from all the unkempt and boho looks
perpetuated by non-L.A. folk which drive more and more Los Angeles
denizens to adopt tailored and manicured self-images just to counter the
stupidity of wearing $500-dollar printed Hanes cotton Tees marketed as
“vintage”.L.A./So Cal is the birthplace of many now-mainstream-trends. Love ’em or hate ’em, here are a few distinct “L.A. styles” (among many others):1) Chucks – “..The Mexican kids doing the…rockabily thing…” you
mention in your article above helped bring popularity to Converse’s
Chuck Taylors. Once only worn by “greasers”, these ‘played-out’ shoes
(in various patterns and flavors sold by shark-y Nordstrom salesfolk)
seen even on midwestern homecoming queen L.A. transplants were
popularized, if not born, here.2) Graffiti prints – popularized
by Stussy, a retail brand which originated in the 80’s from Laguna Beach
became universally popular for its graffiti-inspired shirts. This
version of “cool” or “urban” – incorporating nuances from
skaters/surfers – was quite distinct from the NYC’s definition of
“urban” (read: hip-hop). The grafffiti/”bombing” style print was
exclusive to “L.A. identity” during the 90’s.
3) Terry cloth
loungewear (a la Juicy Couture) – (image below) as hideous as they are (terry cloth
tracksuits + Ugg Boot combos) were born and raised in So Cal (read:
please blame Orange County). I went to USC and my girlfriends and I had nightmares about velour tracksuits even years after college (Thanks, Greek Row). I’m not proud of the “I’m-gonna-wear-my-GOOD-sweats” look, however, it is
distinctly “L.A.” (if by “L.A.” you mean trends not associated with NYC
or other large metropolitan cities).
trust-fund-bohemian-types who labor to achieve the “…nonconspicuous
are the most unoriginal, self-righteous judgemental L.A.
transplant-types. (Totally non-sequitir, but I needed to vent).
the girl who conspicuously consumes (and isn’t ashamed of it)
|the worst gang in Los Angeles|
- Michael Stars and the comfortable yet fashionably sexy tee (no smelly bohos here).
- Baywatch and the tan, fit and “shapely” physique (medically-enhanced).
Chuck Taylor All-Stars: the official shoes of the ’84 Los Angeles Olympics
Below is a message from the generous and beautiful co-owner, Jennifer Cohen…
Come join us for our 1st Annual Summer Blowout Sale!
Everything 30-70% off!!!
Designers included are Helmut Lang, Elizabeth & James, J Brand, Raquel Allegra, Cynthia Vincent and many more!
One day only, don’t miss out!
Thursday June 9th 10am-6pm
238 S. Beverly Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry