The Five Stages of Accepting a Fashion Trend You Hate

It sounds cliché, but there is indeed a thin line between love and hate.

Sometimes I’ll love something, like, high heels, then grow to hate them. I mean, high heels look cool, but damn, they hurt. Or if something cool and irreverent becomes over exposed, like the Charles Anastase Dungeon Boots were amazing, but Jeffry Campbell’s Lita knock off, and the subsequent mania over the style made it the most repulsive fashion trend of the century. Overexposure can turn love for a style into hate.

There were so many times when I saw a new trend and thought… “Oh hell no!”

But what about the other way around? There were so many times when I saw a new trend and thought… “Oh hell no!” In 2005, I thought skinny jeans were ridiculous, but for the next ten years they have been a wardrobe staple. I hated boyfriend jeans, but now I like them quite a bit (though still not as much as skinny jeans). I thought “Normcore” was a joke back in February, but now? I’m thinking it’s unavoidable.

Why? Well, for one, activewear has never been so hot. Between every version of fancy sweatpants and New Balance sneakers, there is a person thinking, “Thank god I don’t have to try so hard.” So how did we get from hate to love on this one? Well, it’s quite the same for all trends we hate at first.

Denial

People hate change. We say we love new things, but really, we just like new things that confirm our old things are great. Often times new trends are met with skepticism, for example, as I previously mentioned, I denied the Normcore trend by thinking it was a joke. For months.

Denial is tough to identify because you’re telling yourself it isn’t happening. When you’re staying things like, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” and “No effing way will I wear ______.” Because the truth is, hate is better than apathy when it comes to fashion. Why? Because at least when you hate something, it’s on your radar. Which brings me to the next stage.

That’s outrageous! She’s not wearing underwear! No one can wear a dress like that!

Anger

Once you start hating something, you’re in the “Anger” stage. Over the years, the “Anger” stage has come in the form of controversies. Fashion that offends people for various reasons. Whether it’s showing too much (mini skirts, crop tops, pelvage) or too little (midi skirts, turtle neck sweaters) or “unflattering” (baby doll dresses, boyfriend jeans) people always seem to find a way to scoff and disapprove over fashion trends.

If you find yourself continually ranting about how much you hate a trend, you are in the “Anger” stage.

Bargaining

No, this is not the kind of bargaining where you wait until said trend goes on sale to indulge in it. This is when you start saying things like, “Can I still wear my old clothes?” Yes, of course! But not forever… eventually, there will be new clothes introduced, and they might entail elements of the new trends. For example, if you’re avoiding the Normcore trends, you might realize that almost every store has a version of sweatpants. You might hate the 90′s look, but why are there so many flannel shirts around? It’s impossible to avoid ALL trends.

Depression

This is when you start to feel bad about the trends currently in your closet. You know, “Empty Closet Syndrome.” When you’re saying things like, “I hate all my clothes.” Or, “I need to update my look.” If your clothes are making you sad, you are definitely in the “Depression” stage. Or you might just need to do your laundry. I realized I was in this stage when I started to feel like none of my clothes fit my new life as a mom and a work-from-home person. Nothing seemed appropriate, certainly not high heels at the playground.

Acceptance

The final stage of accepting a fashion trend you initially hated is “Acceptance.” This is when you say, “You know, this trend has grown on me.” When a trend starts to make sense to you and works well in  your life, that is acceptance.

 

Fashion and Inclusivity

The fashion industry has been long thought of as an exclusive world. The reality of becoming a fashion model was always dependent on your height, build, ethnicity, and even age. Growing up in a world where there was only one accepted standard of beauty is a traumatizing experience. Thankfully, those days are nearly over. As the fashion industry is diversifying, we are seeing a more and more inclusive approach to fashion in general. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons inclusivity is now considered a norm in today’s fashion world.

 

Standards of Beauty

 

Personal identity, individualism, and self-expression have become a significant factor when it comes to consumers and how they make their fashion choices. The shifting norms of our culture have put traditionally exclusive beauty brands in a highly complicated position. The old standard of beauty is slowly making it’s exit off the runway, making room for a more diverse approach to beauty standards.

 

Today’s beauty consumers are part of a highly engaged, vibrant audience that is not limited to a single type of woman. Instead, it encompasses a variety of people from all ages, ethnicities, and genders. The standard of “mainstream” is gone, and beauty brands still trying to target this group of consumers will inevitably fall short. Marketers are now navigating a much more complex market and are actually finding an incredible opportunity for growth, authentic connection, and creativity, like never before.

 

Marketing Changes

 

Marketers used to be able to just push their unattainable, “aspirational” standards of beauty on the world. Today, they are forced to look to the consumers themselves and work with them as individuals. Consumers want products that take into consideration their unique needs, whether they are searching for makeup, skincare, or even fashion. They want clothing that is specifically designed to fit their unique body shapes.

 

What It’s All About

 

Self-care, self-love, and body positivity are what today’s consumers are after. They want to embrace the bodies they were gifted with and draw attention to their best features, not merely transform into another person’s ideal of what beautiful should be. When we give people the opportunity to love themselves, there isn’t a reason to want to be someone else.

 

This is such a positive movement and step in the right direction. In an industry that has historically excluded people for reasons such as their skin tone, or their ethnicity, their gender, and especially their body shape, there has never been many options for normal, every-day people. Recent studies point out that this is not just a trend either, this appears to be the long-term solution many women and men alike have been searching for.

 

The Runways

 

If you have not read about New York City’s 2018 Spring Fashion Week, you might be surprised to learn that it was the most curve-friendly runway show since, well forever. It was record-breaking, to be frank. 208 women, weighing more than the standard industry model, were featured in the show. It didn’t stop there. It also showed a variety of models of all ages and races across them gender spectrum.

 

Brands

 

It has always been a challenge for women to find beautiful clothing that fits their bodies properly. Thankfully, this new age of diversity-friendly fashion has given us more options than ever before. Until recently, the most popular brand of clothing for women over a size 12 was Lane Bryant. Now, it is mostly up and coming independent retailers who have been leading the market for inclusive clothing. Various startup such as Eloquii and ModCloth are leading the market currently, reaching more consumers than many other brands.

 

Corporate retailers are slowly catching on as well. Stores such as Walmart and Target have both launched their very own plus-sized clothing lines, and they have been a tremendous hit. These options have consumers ecstatic due to the variety of styles and relatively low price point. Recent studies show that the online marketplace Amazon is looking to branch out and setting its sights on plus sized clothing as well.

 

This is just smart business. The average American woman is between the sizes 16-18. To paint a picture of what that means, an average women’s medium is between a 6-8. When retailers only offer sizes as large as 2XL, they are missing out on a huge marketing opportunity. What they fail to take into consideration, is men and women are not just numbers and dollar signs, they are individuals who now want their clothing catered to them and marketers have to take that into account as well.

In summary, inclusion is so much more than offering clothes in a wider variety of sizes. It is offering consumers quality clothing in an array of price points and styles. It is showcasing men and women of all sizes and ethnicities as models. And it is eliminating the destructive standard we have placed on ourselves, thanks to the fashion and media industry. This is a new age, and it is good to see industry leaders revolutionizing the fashion world.

Red Pants: Trend or Investment?

Once I said in 1998… “Leopard print is so 1997.” I’ve said similar things about camouflage, army green, platform shoes, one shoulder dresses, grey…. and to my knowledge most of those things have hung around. Red pants came on the scene last year. They were just right, adding a “pop of color” to an otherwise drab winter wardrobe. I don’t know about you, but come January, my wardrobe often gets sucked into a black abyss, which only adds to the SAD.

Lately, I’ve been making a commitment to not only getting a pair of boots for the new season, but also an investment trouser. Last year, I got a brown tweed pair by Theory, that just looks so nice no matter what. This season, I initially started with a pair of J Crew wool trousers, but they got destroyed — torn and bloodied — when I tumbled down marble stairs just outside the Burberry SS12 show. Talk about grace!

To replace them, I invested in a nicer pair of Alice + Olivia red wool trousers. I have to say, the beautifully rich color will boost any day. The fit is snug, comfortable and classic. According to my husband it even enhances my derriere! (Is that too much information?) Anywho… it may be strange to say this, but as far as investing in such a trendy piece, it really depends on how much you’ll like wearing it. I bought a leather midi skirt last month, and so far, I’ve been wearing it a few times a week. Because of the quality, it holds up quite well and it’s worth it. As far as red pants go… I have a pair of bright green jeans that I wear almost weekly. Colorful britches work easily with the tops in my wardrobe so it’s almost a no brainer.

As for the red pants trend lasting another season? It may or it may not but as much as I love red, and I love pants… these ones are a keeper.

I’d Like to Be a Fashion Blogger, But I’m Mostly Wearing Sweatpants

There used to be a time when I would dress up every day. Get up at 5:30, go to the gym, curl my hair. Put on makeup. Put on one outfit. Take it off. Try another. Still not right, try on something else. Arrrgh! Nothing looks GOOD, and now all my clothes are on the floor, it’s now 8:15, I’m half naked and if I don’t get dressed right that second, I’m going to be half an hour late for work.

These days, Jasper normally wakes me up at 5:30. We go out into the living room. I read him about 20 baby books (it takes about 5 minutes). We play with trains. I push him around the house in his bobbycar. Then at 8:15, in my sweatpants, I slip on a pair of shoes, brush my hair, and drop the baby off at daycare. Then start work, still in sweatpants until noon, where I take a shower and that’s it. Afterwards I might just put on a cleaner pair of sweatpants. Or I might wear a pair of skinny jeans… the super stretchy kind. And that’s pretty much my sartorial schedule.

The fashion blogger who wears sweatpants when they’re not posting outfit shots is nothing new. I’ve heard many fashion bloggers admit that most days they’re in sweats, working all hours of the day semi-disheveled. Yet, you wouldn’t know it because everything looks beautiful, all the time on their blogs and social media.

It’s great, don’t get me wrong, I love an escape from my unmade bed and microwave burritos. But I wonder how much my life can I really share on a fashion blog when my actual favorite pair of pants is a pair of last season’s Uniqlo sweatpants.

Maybe it’s just a phase.

Or maybe everyone, everywhere is just tired of agonizing over what to wear. The pendulum swings both ways. After years of the the fashion industry trying to top itself in ridiculousness, or as Suzy Menkes noted, the Circus of Fashion where she complained how people wore crazy clothes to fashion shows in hopes of getting internet famous. Because you know, once you’re internet famous, your life is complete.

Or maybe, fancy sweatpants are now a staple for fashionistas everywhere? The Cut listed both sweatpants and sweatshirts for their “stylish basics.” Here’s to hoping. Even though wearing sweatpants as a fashion statement is just as ridiculous as wearing a giant cherry on your head. Yesterday, The Gap launched their new ad campaign, “Dress Normal” which, as my dad likes to say, “Normal is a setting on a dryer.” I’m guessing The Gap is meaning “normal” by understated and somewhat boring.

I actually kind of like it. Elizabeth Moss just needs to unbutton that top button though.

The point being, is that when fashion trends take a turn for the understated, what then happens to the conversation. Does the conversation quiet down too? Do people move on to talk about other things because talking about how this pair of sweatpants is cool, but those pair of sweatpants are terrible gets to be a bit tedious?

Do we all suddenly realize there is more to life than looking good, even while wearing sweatpants?

In all seriousness though, those sweat pants from Uniqlo last season were really good. I wish they would bring them back.

Wearing: Sweatpants: JCrew (Why am I showing the J.Crew after talking so much about the Uniqlo ones? To keep you guessing!) Tee: JCrew • Zip up hoodie: Target • Bag: Proenza Schouler • Flats: Jenni Kayne 

How the Simplicity of Alex Katz Inspires My Style

The worlds of fashion and art constantly cross paths. Moschino’s MacDonald’s handbags nod to the pop-art of Andy Warhol, think Campbell’s soup cans and Brillo pads. Or, in photography, think that 1999 Steven Meisel editorial of Nicole Kidman reenacting John Singer Sargeant paintings. Painters may not exactly follow trends the way fashion designers do, but they do feed off of their environments, and being as most people wear clothes. Fashion does play a part.

“My subject matter is not particularly interesting,” Katz says with a smile…

Alex Katz, 89, began painting in the 1950′s when Abstract Expressionism was en vogue, he noticed no one was painting people, or landscapes. So he decided to take that route. Of course, painting people, there is nothing unique about it. He told the Smithsonian in a 2009 interview, “My subject matter is not particularly interesting,” Katz says with a smile. “It’s not hot subject matter—you know, no crucifixions, no violence, no sex.” His paintings are a stripped down version of the world, which is where they become interesting. Though the paintings span fifty years, they still have a timeless quality. n a sense, his work portrays a universal truth. Even if you don’t live the life of an artist in New York, I can relate to the snapshots of his paintings. They’re like little moments in my memory.

What I find interesting about Katz’s work is that even though his paintings are about nothing really,  he finds a way to make them interesting without resorting to embellishment or gimmicky tricks. The paintings are distinctly personal (many of his paintings include is wife since 1958, Ava) yet universal. So, maybe I wouldn’t recreate a painting for one of my outfits, but in the search of my own personal style, the lesson is, that I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. I don’t have to resort to gimmicks to make my outfits “pop.” They don’t have to be special to be striking.

But… my style does have to be distinctly personal.

(yes, that’s Anna Wintour!)

Objects Without Meaning: The Brand That Doesn’t Pretend, Yet, Still Profound

Have you ever read a fashion label’s about page? Or a fashion show review? Often sounding more like those little placards you’ll find next to a painting in a museum, the language used in the fashion industry is heady, full of rag jargon. I get it. I went to art school, I know all too well explaining to the professor why I used certain colors or imagery. Which, for me anyway, was mostly bullshit… 99% of the time, I just “felt” that it was the right thing to do.

I believe fashion designers, like artists, graphic designers, architects, basically everyone in the visual arts, has a hard time linking that indescribable force compelling them to create to words we can actually understand. For those that can write about art and fashion, they’re like decoders, translating visual language to written. Some writers are great translators, others, well, churn out a lot of gobbley gook, which is why a lot of fashion reviews end up sounding like they want to mean something, but really mean absolutely nothing.

While Objects Without Meaning is a label with wonderful designs, I mean that’s what caught my eye at first… what really resonated was the bold-face admission that their clothes don’t have any “meaning.” They just exist.

“Objects Without Meaning resides in the present with no long-winded story to tell. We propose clothing as an empty vessel, a blank slate to be filled by the many experiences and emotions of daily life, merging nonchalance with a true sense of spirit.”

Perhaps the fashion industry has it all wrong. Our clothes shouldn’t do the talking for us, so why try so hard to make a statement?

Pop in to the Pop Up Shop: Haus of Half Hitch

Sometimes when people go on vacation, they just go. There is a hole where that person was for a bit.

But sometimes, something else comes in, even for a minute and it’s a pleasant surprise.

Half Hitch Goods, a retailer that normally lives online or on an old VW Bus in Hayes Valley, San Francisco, moved into the Birch Floral shop while it’s owners went away for the month. No, we’re not talking squatting. We’re talking pop up shop.

Carrie Cailoutette, the founder of Half Hitch, contacted a few friends, fashion designers The Podolls (who we know, from a previous post), jewelry retailer Metier, and artist Emily Proud, to collaborate for the month of July to create Haus of Half Hitch. The thing you notice first about the shop is that everything is beautiful with a rich quality… not rich like, the Vatican… but rich like full. Wool blankets soft to the touch. A set of linen kitchen towels printed by hand. Easy, yet high quality clothes by the Podolls are complimented by an interesting mix of new and estate jewelry from Metier. If you’re looking for art, you really should not miss Emily Proud’s watercolors, as they are subtly beautiful and also on the affordable side.

The collaboration is true in every way, Metier helped with the merchandizing, Emily helps with the sales, coordinating everyone to help in different ways, and Carrie holds down the fort as she organizes the meeting of four different brands in one space.

“Half Hitch is meant to connect people together through gifting.” says Carrie

Half Hitch Goods is a boutique that specializes in goods with stories.  Most things are made in the US, or imported by Carrie or a few select importers.  “Half Hitch is about shopping for yourself or for someone else and considering that person deeply, considering how a product is made and what materials a product is made with, or the process. And connecting that to the person in some way, whether it’s the country of origin or the materials that the gift is made.”

Perhaps, beyond connecting people through gifts, Half Hitch is connecting people through, well just getting us all offline and in one real live place.

Haus of Half Hitch

Open from July 3rd – 30th, everyday 11-7 Mon – Sat / 12-6 Sun. Located at the Birch floral shop at 564 Hayes St. San Francisco, CA 94133. There will  also be a few more events you might want to stop in for!

  • Saturday July 19th, 2pm – 5pm // Snowcones With The Podolls. A Podolls and Podots trunk show featuring boozy or virgin snowcones served by the design duo themselves.
  • Wednesday July 23rd 7pm – 9pm // Cocktails & Watercolors With Emily Proud
  • Friday July 25th 5pm – 8pm // Gin & Jewels With Metier A special trunk show with Sheri and Trina of Metier showing off one of a kind fine antique pieces as well as modern handmade jewelry.

Samuji: The Pursuit of Timelessness

It may be the middle of summer, but if you’re anything like me, you might already be setting your eyes (and your wish list) to fall.

Recently, I came across this Finnish brand, Samuji, which has exactly the look I’ve been coveting this year. Classic, futuristic, simple, rich in texture and silhouettes, this three-year-old label shares very much the direction many other fashion designers are taking these days: pursuing timelessness.

The pleated trousers with a slightly wide leg and cropped at the ankles look like a pair of slacks had a baby with a pair of culottes. So if you’re afraid to try culottes, but want a pair of updated pants, this is your lucky day. Sumuji’s boxy but lavish wool coats and crisp button down shirts, the collections do have a ring of timelessness, but, in a way, that’s very 2014. I do already own pieces that are in a lot of ways similar to what’s in this collection, but for some reason I still want everything here anyway.

Shoe D’Jour : A Visit to Nine West

My ‘fashion adventures’ at NYFW haven’t been very exciting like last season. I’ve was working really hard on the IFB Evolving Influence Conference, so I missed all the shows I was supposed to go to, then yesterday, the one show I had an invite to, put me in a crowded standing room, and I got claustrophobic and light headed so I left. Sorry, guys… It’s been an exciting, yet tough week.

The one thing I did get to do was  go to the Nine West office… When they invited me to visit their office in New York, I was kind of surprised, really… as it’s a brand that I’m familiar with and have a long history, and they just seemed so big, but it was nice to have the Assistant Creative Director Jennifer Malatesta walk me through the fall collection and tell the stories behind the shoes. I did ask the Jennifer about the mid-market knock offs, as in the Nine West collection, they also had a few ‘inspired by’ pieces, like a Luella inspired bag, and she gave the response that in fashion designs are inspired by each other all the time, and in many cases it’s hard to prove what is what. Which is true, even luxury brands take vintage clothing and copy patterns one-to-one.

Either way, I haven’t decided how I feel about that… as there is a heady, ‘in an ideal situation of course never would I wear a blatant inspired piece of another designer’, and the real life, ‘I like it, and it’s what I can afford.’

Some mid-market brands have been a continuous staple in my fashion diet… Over the last 20 years, I must have purchased 50 pairs of Nine West shoes…. they usually get me at least once a year, sometimes, multiple times, for me, they’ve been the standby, shoes that are affordable, decent and won’t fall apart in three minutes.

I do really like the new collection coming out by Nine West, particularly the thigh high lace up boots, and the bow gloves, they really did a nice job with the shoes this coming autumn and I’m really excited about it coming out… so here take a look… btw… I WILL get green boots this fall. Mark my words.

Loooove this bow glove!

And here is a Luella inspired bag…

Stylish & Eco-Friendly Lounging in Les Lunes

I would like to say that as a fashion blogger, that I am always perfectly dressed at all times. Even if I’m working from home and am not seeing anyone who doesn’t live in the apartment all day.

The truth is, a lot of times I’m wearing sweatpants or leggings or jersey shorts, with a tee shirt, or a tank top in the summer, a cozy sweater in the winter. A comfortable bra. And a ponytail. That is what I wear while blogging most of the time. Heck, I even sleep in one of those Barely There sleep bras.

Les Lunes, a San Francisco based company creates eco-friendly, yet stylish morsels to wear around the house. Most of the pieces are made of rayon from bamboo, a sustainable fabric that is super soft to the touch and almost weightless. The cozy cardigans which are perfect for wearing around the house, yet not too pajama like, if you need to run errands. Hey, there isn’t a day where I don’t leave the house in almost-pajamas.  Might as well make sure they’re stylish pajamas.

totop