Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

How to look your best

This simple, straightforward set of rules is so basic and obvious that they scarecly need stating, but taken toegther they seem to me to represent the Ten (actually Six) Commandments of dressing, and as such, should be taped to the inside of every woman's wardrobe:

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  • The second you put a limb into a piece of clothing, you should feel good about wearing it.
  • Throw away anything you haven't worn for more than three years.
  • Never buy clothes you need to be slim to fit into.
  • Every outfit should have one "wow" factor item, be it belt, shoes or a piece of jewellery.
  • Never buy clothes that wear you: people should notice you first, not what you are wearing.
  • Buy jeans to suit your figure, rather than the jeans of the season.

    greying pixie said...

    Apart from the first point, I find these sort of lists to be so clinical . We have already established this week on this blog that rules are only for those with no imagination and they get what they deserve. To quote the fashion theorists Joanne Entwistle and Elizabeth Wilson: 'clothes... are part of the vocabulary with which humans invent themselves, come to understand others and enter into meaningful relationships with them. ... They are incorporated into the vocabulary of desire and into the imaginative, erotic encounters one has with others.'

    I can't see much of that happening if you're wondering if you're wearing something you haven't worn for three years and whether or not you've included a 'wow' factor in your outfit! Emotion is everything in dress, clinical lists count for nothing in my opinion.

    Sharyn said...

    While I agree with most the these rules (they're rather generic, so it's hard to disagree with any passion), it does seem that at least one of them is not especially forward-thinking. If I throw out clothes that I haven't worn in three years, I'm possibily depriving myself of having the perfect vintage piece in years to come, when items come back into style. Yes, this philosophy demands a good bit of closet space (as well as excellent moth protection), but that's what cedar chests are for. Besides, who doesn't love the feeling you have when you discover some long, lost and fabulous dress in the back of the closet?

    Anonymous said...

    I like rules. I am sometimes overwhelmed by all the choice in the shops so if I can draw on guidelines, I'm happy. Right now I keep thinking I have to wear a long, chunky necklace because they're in and they're supposed to suit my body shape.

    I like the Coco Chanel rule that says that just before you go out, you should remove one thing. With me it's usually the necklace!


    Rollergirl said...

    I like the one about the Wow factor, but I find I'm often tempted to wear too many Wow things in one outfit and that's not good! I also disagree about the three-year rule. In principle I agree but in practice I don't. I have only recently unearthed my Bass Weejun loafers which have been unworn for at least 5 years because they didn't look right with what I was wearing. But they suddenly look right again now with a skinny jean turned up to ankle-bone length, a stripy Breton and a white sock. Yay!

    Bobbi said...

    Forget the rules, I was absolutely thrilled to read about other mothers of five kids under the age of ten making an effort. Currently my five kids are under the age of nine, and making an effort in my militantly laid back Canadian town has people questioning me where the party is whenever I put on black trousers instead of jeans.

    The rules are fine, but since I don't have the time to hem and haw in the closet in the morning, out of necessity I've pitched everything I don't love in order to make my choices are easy.

    Anonymous said...

    re the rule about throwing things away after 3 years, I am thinking it was probably written with a specific problem in mind; that of not allowing yourself to throw anything away and then feeling bad about never wearing it. Its probably more relevant to decluttering than dressing with style. It seems to me that there's a difference between this mindset and the one of a person who values certain items of clothing and enjoys owning them but just doesn't have anything to wear them with right now, for example.

    The list seems quite sensible if you like these sort of lists, but I'm not sure about the 'wow factor' rule. I think sometimes that can unbalance an outfit...

    metscan said...

    Not so sure about the rule that you should not wear clothes that wear you. Looking quite ordinary, it sometimes helps to have on something stunning. Maybe people stop to look and then recognize that there really is an interesting person inside the clothes and then the conversation starts. I also think that if you have not worn something for1 year,you might as well depart from it. I don´t save or buy vintage clothes,actually don´t wish to wear someones old clothes.

    Anonymous said...

    I have clothes I've had forever and sometimes I take a vacation from them for a few years. Right now I've just unearthed a stack of Agnes B. t-shirts that were just right once, too big-looking for awhile, now just fine. Like a gift from the past to myself.