The Good Ick #33: How crowded is your dressing room

You know those signs outside of some dressing rooms that say “3 items maximum”? If I could create the perfect sign for our stores it would read: “One person {in your head} maximum (you) + 3 adjectives and a modifier”. My sign would also go on to say: “Oh, and remember, put on your shoes, take a pic of your fit, and wiggle the waistband around to see where it may really want to sit. Don’t ask the salesperson for a belt right away. Don’t trust a sales person who tells you to “just cinch it. Enjoy.”

There’s a little secret in the fashion industry. Really great brands, really great specialty stores, love clients who are independent thinkers. They make the decisions in their life and rarely poke their head out of the room to say “oh, I love it but I want to bring my friends in first to get their opinions (to find out if what you’re feeling is indeed what you’re feeling????)” Or, worse, the dreaded return to store a week later “I thought it was amazing…. but my parter said I looked like a ….[potato? sack? angry person?]”. And then there are the other brands, the other stores, that rely on the husband, friends, or the sales person who knows you so well (shocking, so quickly after meeting you…) to weigh heavily in with their views. It’s why their advertising spends more time convincing them, rather than you, what’s flattering, sexy, in or out.

I’ve observed that those who control their own purse experience the most freedom of individual thought in the dressing room. I don’t mean that only those who physically earn their own income feel they’ve a right to spend it any way they may, but rather those who believe they have a right to that bank are more likely to believe they have a right to spend it in their own way. It’s a “listen, I worked my ass off for this, I’ll spend it how I like” mentality.

So you can imagine how much I enjoy working with these people. I like when the litmus test for whether something works or not is easy to read - the visual cues are there, the hands casually slide in to a pocket, they step back and lean in to their right heel, and with an exhale the shoulder slumps. And even a smile is revealed. If the item ticks off all the adjectives plus the modifier, it fits and feels great, and works financially while also filling a need, then done. Decision made.

So here, I show you six individuals (myself included) with their own interpretation of two of my favorite pieces from the fundamentals collection. WithOut Fails are like a fashion Rorschach test. In a Sid jean for example, one may see the item that is going to tame that new sequin top, elevate that simple tank you live in, or add irony to your closet of work blazers. Someone else may identify these jeans as their going out item - perfect for dinners, dates, etc. or the piece they rely on to make them feel just a little “more” when they’re simply hanging with toddlers all day.

Exhibit A: The tropical wool Reese sculpted trouser.

Traci’s manipulating the refined tailoring to balance out a giant oversized vintage Yankee’s sweatshirt. A matching sweatpant, a distressed jean - both of these pairings would have made her feel a bit one dimensional. The friction, the interest here, happens with the unexpected. It’s also why the Dwayne sandals work so perfectly - they have the right amount of “heft” to stand up to sweatshirt but not so refined as to turn this outfit in to a style mullet - sport event on top, sophisticated outting on bottom. The weaving in and out of sport, refinement, strength is what’s making Traci feel great here.

Sarah’s used all of her creative styling muscle, the vintage belt left hanging just so, the fussy little scarf made less lady like wrapped around the ankle, and a rainbow of Ring 4 colors draped, wrapped and layered just so.

Keturah’s mixed in her favorite tee, the sleek Marlon blazer and the Borg flat that says “a bifurcated closet is blushit, no separate ‘activity mom only’ pieces for me.”

Exhibit B: The slip skirt.

Fana’s made this just right for July in Soho compared to the model on the left who’s all set for a fall October day. The Tibi Ring 3 color here offsets the ring 4 brights, it’s this combination that makes wearing brights so digestible in an urban or work environment. You know the difference between a “good look” and a “good luck that feels just so damn right in the moment and time?” It comes down to the deft usage of color and texture mixing. The slinkier but sturdy feel of the skirt, the crisp cotton poplin shirting, the lightweight grittier feel of the knit are steadied with that Dwayne sandal (again! It’s on all our feet in different ways). And in Fana form, the jewelry - often the very items that let me pick her out of any fashion line up.

Emma’s leaned heavily on Ring 2 neutrals to create a mood here that’s a little more subdued but with all the same punch. Maybe it’s the irreverence of the sock paired with the pump - the clear straps make you wonder how that shoe seems to be floating on her foot. And the Ring 4 bag, puts the focus here - the “one” of one/ton/none. Emma lives on a small island where asserting your style when many may give a side glance is extra challenging if those adjectives and the “why” behind your choices aren’t firmly planted in your psyche. Emma knows her adjectives.

Lastly, me. My mind is on summer vacation and I’m headed over to Berlin shortly after two weeks in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. The packing could have been a beast, but styling working in all the neutrals with ease makes this perfect for me, right now. In the fall, you’ll see me head to toe as the model. There’s something about the simplicity of a pull on skirt that folds up small enough it can literally fit in your pocket (ok, with a bulge, but indulge me here) but also is strong enough for the most important of days filled with meetings.

Now, let me wrap this around to my introductory paragraph. You can surely now envision all the different things running through our minds when we’re getting dressed. I can’t see you, but I’m sure you were nodding along when reading this. Given the importance of these considerations, does it matter:

  • if your friend Darcy would “never wear those colors together.”
  • or if your spawn says “mom, you’re making me cringe so hard.”
  • or if your spouse says “I think it’s better if you show a little more cleavage.”
  • or if your mom says “but you look so much prettier when you wear pink.”
  • or if your boss says “did you know you have a hole in your sleeve?”
  • or if the sales person says “everyone loves it with a pair of glittered trainers and a handbag designed for elves.”

Bottom line, thinking for yourself is good. Myriad THOUGHTS in your head are good. Myriad people, not so much. See?


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