Monday, October 22, 2012
Considered or Contrived?
Patti, the author of the "Not Dead Yet Style" blog, has a genius for bringing up subjects that we're all thinking about right this minute. She's posted some astute, on-the-fly notes about achieving effortless style. Click here to see her encouraging thoughts.
I've been thinking about that too, as have lots of the women who made comments on Patti's post. There's a little article in the October issue of "Lucky" magazine featuring real women (admittedly, real pretty young women.) One of them, Simona Ternblom (creative director at Createthe Group digital agency) made an insightful comment that resonates with me.
She said, " I like my outfits to look considered but never contrived."
That's what I want.
You'll find magazine advice everywhere on how to achieve effortless chic. You'd think that the easiest way to achieve effortlessness would be to not put any effort into it.
So wrong! The next time you see one of the how-to articles, please note how many steps it takes to get to effortless. Scads of photos of willowy young things, running through the city with glowing skin and precisely curved strands of hair show us how perfect one can look in boyfriend jeans, a blazer, tissue-tee and moto-booties. I've tried my own version of this look, and on my short, sexagenarian (only means age 60-69, nothing to do with sexy) body and face it doesn't work the same way at all. I can still stride down the street with the best of them, but I look more like I'm heading off to pick through the landfill than heading to a romantic, urban assignation.
So, I've come to the understanding that the desired effortless effect must sometimes be achieved by at least some consideration. I'm only just figuring out how to make this concept work for me. Here are some style elements that I'm trying to take from contrived to merely considered.
Right now, I'm tired of my string-straight hair, which only needs a smoothing to look finished. So ... for the sake of looking effortless, I'm spending more time forcing it into loose waves. Hmmmm.
I cannot wear red lipstick. I've tried for years to no avail, and to those of you who wear it easily, I blow an affectionate but envious raspberry. So, low effort consideration for me results in what I know works most often: a warm or cool not-quite-nude lipstick. And generally less foundation and eye. However, too much effortlessness here makes me look like I don't give a flip what I look like.
Clothing and Silhouettes
Fewer elements. I'm trying to stay with the most minimal versions of my go-to outfits, but my taste runs toward the polished. (Or what I think of as polished ... is that the same as considered? Is polished always trying too hard? I'm not sure ... I have to consider that. ) And while I am sometimes tempted to just throw together an outfit of mixed prints, I know darned well it takes some effort to do that well.
My considering here consists of being more vigilant in avoiding what I think of as one of my generational vices. If I don't watch myself, I'll match my shoes and handbag. It takes more effort for me to successfully pair non-matching items, all for the sake of
artlessness. I'm not saying it isn't a good idea, only that it takes some effort to grow past an old habit.
The upshot of the above and the whole truth is this; I give up trying to look like I put no effort into my turnout. This fall, I am doing a lot of considering, a lot more editing and more simplifying, and that means that truly effortless style will be beyond me.
Whether I'll look like I tried too hard to appear considered will have to be up to the beholder.
On another subject entirely: Hanging on just a little longer ....
There are a few things from my summer wardrobe that I just don't want to stop wearing yet. I'm glad to see there's a trend toward taking summer sheers into fall with layers. The little high-low, sleeveless dress below is a particular favorite of mine, and I'm trying it with boots, tights and a little jacket. I'm showing it to you so I can come out and play with everyone on Visible Monday at Patti's !