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.

 

I Feel Like I’m Getting Dumber

I used to think I was really smart. Until we moved and my new teacher tested my reading level by giving a paragraph to read. I sat there, and even though I could read, I couldn’t concentrate at all, the paragraph just looked like a bunch of letters. So naturally, I couldn’t answer any of her questions about the text, and naturally she put me in the dumb kids reading group. It wasn’t really called the “dumb kids reading group” but we all know that’s what it was.

[I’m] smarter than a most cats but not as smart as Stephen Hawking.

Even though I wanted to be “really smart,” it became pretty obvious that I am really just “regular smart”. Like, smart enough to be able to decipher IKEA instructions, but not smart enough to understand Walt Whitman or (insert any poet) Henry David Thoreau. Smart enough to be able Google a dumb question, but not smart enough do my own taxes. Smarter than a most cats but not as smart as Stephen Hawking.

In my quest to be “really smart,” I used to do things like be seen carrying around Nietzche, even though I never got past the first paragraph. I even wrote poetry, of which I was pretty certain that even though I had penned it myself, I was no closer to understanding of the meaning than poetry written by other poets.

Here is an example of one of my old poems:

  • Thanksgiving.
  • Turkey head, turkey bed.
  • I baste myself.
  • And go back to sleep.

Seriously. I wrote that. I mean, not just right this second, but that was a poem that a 17-year-old Jennine actually wrote in all seriousness. What does it mean? My guess is as good as yours!

I also used to love watching art house films. Going to the museum and learning about old artists. Going to galleries and trying to discover new artists. Listening to bands no one has ever heard of. I used to love having conversations about the ‘meaning of life’ and discuss the woes of the planet. How I was going to get things right in my life. How I was going to evolve into this higher being, intellectually.

Being smart, that was something I really wanted.

But then…

I am not sure exactly what happened. Or when. But instead of watching art house movies, or even dramas where you know the actors acted. I’d opt for some comic book turned action movie. A goofy comedy. I started watching a lot of TV shows. A lot of TV shows. Like, every single one of them.

Instead of “improving my mind” I’d watch Maru jump into a box.

Repeatedly.

Instead of agonizing over the evolution of human intellect, I’d agonize on whether I’d get brown boots or black boots this year.

At some point I decided that “intellectual” conversations were about as as meaningful as the conversations about black boots versus brown boots. That in the end, who we are can’t really be fixed by conversation. So I stopped looking for that deeper meaning in life, and just lived in the moment. Moments that mostly consisted of watching Netflix and reading about Internet cats. Since my brain can only fit so much, it became full of meaningless anecdotes from streaming episodes of canceled TV shows (Remember when Tami Taylor said, Hi Y’all!?) and cute things I saw on the Internet, like that sneezing Panda.

I decided… who we are can’t really be fixed by conversation. So I just stopped looking for that deeper meaning in life

Maybe, it’s not just my poor decision making, it’s been scientifically proven that our IQ is up to 14 points lower than our Victorian ancestors. If that wasn’t hindering my quest for intelligence, the fact that brain activity slows after about 20 years of age. That my “epiphany” that everything is somehow meaningless and we might as well just have fun and look at cute things on the internet, might actually be a symptom of my brain’s deterioration.

Of course, it’s not too late. There is always time to learn about all kinds of things that stimulate the ol’ noggin. Even if I delve into more meaningful subjects, I’m pretty sure I’ll still be looking for black boots and Internet cats.

Image credit: Painting by Frances Van Hove, a contemporary French painter, who is very likely to be much smarter than I.

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!)

We Need to Make It Easier (and Safer) to Talk About Suicide

When the news about Robin Williams broke, it felt like someone punched me in the stomach. While I was deeply saddened to hear of his death, and that he committed suicide, I was not shocked. I did see him in real life once, in 2006, and while I can’t disclose the details of where I saw him, I can say that he appeared to be going through a very rough time. I remember thinking that he too was as fragile as any human, and how hard it must be to go through difficulties when everyone expects you to be on top of the world.

“My conscious was like, “Did you just say ‘Fuck life?’” ~Robin Williams

Yesterday, I listened to Marc Maron’s 2010 interview with Robin Williams, where Williams talked about the time he thought about suicide:

Maron: Before you had the heart problem, you don’t seem to be someone who is morbidly fascinated with death…

Williams: No. I mean, it’s weird, there was this ONE time, when I was drinking  I thought had this thought “Fuck life.” Then my conscious was like, “Did you just say ‘Fuck life?’… You know you have a pretty good life…even though it’s not working right now… First of all you don’t have the balls to do it… I mean, what are you going to do, cut your wrists with a water pick? That’s erosion.”

I highly recommend listening to the whole podcast, the conversation between Maron and Williams is just so real and uncontrived. It is actually, really beautiful.

Robin Williams was the first person on television I remember admiring. I loved Mork and Mindy, and had these rainbow suspenders like he wore on the show. They were my favorite, and I wore them often. Of course I loved a lot of his films, as we all did, but the real reason why his death hurt so much, because what happened to him could also happen to me. As horrible as it is, I get it. I’ve been there.

Now, before you call 9-1-1, allow me to explain.

I’m not going to kill myself.

For those of you who know me, already know that I have suffered from depression almost my entire life. Part of that depression has included the presence of suicidal ideation. Every since I can remember, I had this reflex where I imagine my demise every time there is a quiet moment in my brain. I don’t know where it comes from, and yes, I am seeking professional help. It’s like I have this, as Dexter, puts it a “dark passenger.” Only, my passenger just likes to tells me things like, “No one cares, so just drive a knife in your chest.” Obviously, my dark passenger isn’t a very strategic planner, since it often picks methods I’m not even physically able to do.

Over the years I’ve tried many things to silence this “passenger” including drinking,  and other things like shopping, working, relationships, diet, exercise, self-help books, professional help, etc. To this day, it’s always there, lurking in the quiet.

Why not talk about it? (Until now?)

It’s been reported that most cases of suicidal ideation go untreated. While I cannot tell you the details of those cases, I can tell you that above the stigma of talking about suicide, there is the real fear of being locked up and/or having your children taken away. Once, while I was in a particularly dark place, I called the doctors office, and they asked me if I had suicidal thoughts. When I asked, “Why?” they answered with, “Well if you have suicidal thoughts, we’ll have to send an ambulance and hospitalize you.” Then, I quickly answered with, “No. I do not have those thoughts.”

“Well if you have suicidal thoughts, we’ll have to send an ambulance and hospitalize you.”

So basically, even under the protection of “doctor-patient-confidentiality” it is not easy to talk about suicide. Would you talk about it to your doctor if you even thought  they were going to hospitalize you? If you tried to talk to your friends or family, they would freak out and treat you like a mental patient? Or worse, roll their eyes and think you were “just trying to get attention?” Would you talk about your thoughts  if they would become the subject of gossip and judgement?

Would you talk about your thoughts  if they would become the subject of gossip and judgement?

According to an article on Psychology Today, “The truth is that suicidal thoughts, even the fleeting ones, are a very serious symptom of illness.” While the thought of ending your own life is indeed serious, until discussion about suicide is normalized, then we have no idea how serious it can be.

Looking back on Robin William’s conversation with Maron about the ONE time he thought about suicide, it’s obvious now that it wasn’t just that one time. Williams was very open about a lot of dark details of his life, but maybe suicide was the thing he didn’t feel entirely comfortable talking about. Perhaps things would be different if he had been more comfortable talking about suicide. Or maybe things would have ended the same way.

One thing is clear, we need to make it easier and safer to talk honestly about suicide.

[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]

Slow and Steady Wins The Race

So here is my first complete NYFW presentation this season, the last day, of the last hour of fashion week. Sorry, I really messed up this coverage bit. Deanne from Dream Sequins invited me along to see Slow and Steady Wins the Race, a label which is most famous for recreating luxury designs in canvas. Here she takes it a step further by taking the classic tee shirt and recreates it in 10 different fabrics. I of course was tickled pink by this and you can well see it in this video… I swear, I have a way of making everyone appear drunk, including myself in videos. Maybe I should stop making them, but somehow I feel compelled to continue.

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?

The Young Family McCartney

You’ll have to pardon my lazy post today.

I was working on another post, for Eat, Sleep, Denim (The Beatles in Denim) and while researching, I came across this photo of Stella Mary McCartney as a baby tucked into Paul’s jacket. I just about fell out of my chair! You know, one of those moments when your ovaries burst? That happened.

Then getting lost in a Pinterest spiral, I kept finding more and more photos of the family McCartney. So much love! You could really see it in the photos. We all love our babies, our parents, our siblings, etc. but how often are we able to capture that on film (or pixels)? It’s not so easy. Anyway, this post has nothing to do with anything, but just how much I was touched by this beautiful family.

And… they are also very cool.

This just about killed me with cuteness!

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