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

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Into the dark


This rather muddled piece on credit-crunch chic takes its cue from the M&S A/W08 range which was had its press show last week. It seems to think that we'll all be buying colour and pattern because black is too depressing and we'll need to cheer ourselves up.

It's talking about style-conscious women who have been buying a mix of Primark, Zara and some designer labels. Will they now cut the designers? I'm not a trend-spotter and I can't speak of what others might do, but the credit crunch (and it has had knock-on effects on me) means that I can no longer afford to buy disposable clothing. Stopping and thinking, asking if this will last more than a season, has now become instinctive.

On the other hand, do I want to be wearing the same black jacket for the next seven years at every party? I don't go to huge numbers of parties, but I do go to several, and wearing the same thing every time makes me feel like when I come in people think, 'There she is, in her jacket.'

11 comments:

phyllis said...

Well, I sure don't go to parties, but I understand the dilemma. Maybe one solution is to go back to the custom dress idea, work out the pattern, style fit, etc, and then have it made up in different colors and fabrics.

Badaude said...

I'm not sure this is an idea that needs to be carried out quite so literally. You could have three jackets without breaking the World Bank, and circulate them.

I'm afraid, Phyllis, I've always disliked the idea of having one item of clothing repeated (listen to all those women who regret buying yet another pair of identical black trousers). I think the thing is to have a few things which are as different as possible - then you're covered for the day you want to wear a prom dress as well as the day you want to wear a suit. And you can mix them to even more effect.

Toby Wollin said...

My feeling about wearing things often is that if they are really good - special enough - then it does not matter. I've been wearing a Ralph Lauren jacket I got (wrong size tag - it ended up on the sale on the sale on the sale rack)for about ten years. It's black and white herringbone and I wear it with everything from jeans to dressy black and red dresses. It's 'special' and striking and well made and fits me well so I don't mind. I also sew, so I don't bother putting any work into anything that is not something I am passionate about(design or fabric or both). Life is too short to be making black knit tops. I'm with Phyllis - find a design and some absolutely wonderful fabrics that you love and have two or three dresses made (and ahem, make one of them have black in the print to go with your black jacket).

Arabella said...

Phyllis hit a nerve: last year I was on the verge of buying the pattern of the Day Dress from Built By Wendy and getting it made in a couple of fabrics (I'm full of ideas but dangerous around a sewing machine/scissors etc). The plan was to accessorise them into the unrecognisable. Ended up being saved by a couple of over-the-knee-length dresses from Anthroplogie (covered knees! remember those?).

I experienced Primark during a visit home but was too traumatised to buy anything. It was like being at a stadium-sized jumble sale for the insane.

diane said...

who makes the dress?

Linda Grant said...

It's Jaeger Black

Mae Travels said...

Well, Gertrude Stein said you should skip buying clothing and buy art. It worked for her.

That said, I did try to get your latest book from the library today, Linda. The online catalog said it was on the shelf. No luck. Last time I tried, the book was still being cataloged, so that didn't work either.

You might be interested to know why I failed: the library in question is the University of Michigan library. When I arrived at the shelf where your book should have been, I found that shelf and all the surrounding book shelves totally empty. Google is scanning all books with that call number today. Are you glad your book is being scanned? Or do you feel that your copyright is being ignored?

e said...

there was an article in a US vogue a few months ago about a french woman having fewer pieces in her wardrobe, and still being chic. and this blog also touches on the same kind of idea beging discussed here: http://sahmstyle.blogspot.com/2008/03/secret-of-french-chic-by-diana.html
i think the "moderation" idea, a small selection of good quality basics, is one i am warming too as i get older. but i have always (even as a teenager, and i'm now 37) looked at things with the eye "can i wear this forever?" in terms of style and quality. conservative but no one has ever accused me of being dull or unfashionable, so it can be done.

Badaude said...

You might all be interested in this project in which a Seattle artist designed a dress and wore it every day for a year. Kind of fuses Phyllis and Gertrude Stein's input...
http://www.littlebrowndress.com/

Rollergirl said...

Agree with e. I'm a virgo so quality is important to me. I've always worn classics and put my own spin on them with the result that I still wear things from 18-20 years ago. I bought a Burberry trench 6 years ago with a bonus from work and wore it so much that I'm now onto my second one. But I still feel a million dollars every time I put it on.

The Librarian said...

I'm sure it depends on the garment, and how you look in it, and how it makes you feel. (and perhaps, not holding on for quite seven years of wear). If you look fabulous in it, does it matter that you looked fabulous last time - in the same garment?