The Good Ick #31: Feeling Flat Stanley???
The Good Ick #31: Feeling Flat Stanley???
illustration of flat person

It’s that time of year, the turn of a new season. You look around at trends, what’s sticking, what’s piquing your curiosity. And what’s good for a TikTok then a quick swipe. You’re looking to add to your wardrobe, and you know that one of the smartest things you can do is be smart about what you invest in by knowing the outcome ahead of time. No, I don’t mean all the outfits you’ll make, I mean how the pieces will make you feel. Feeling comes first; because when it’s there, the outfits follow naturally.

One of the stickiest trends around is quiet luxury. It’s no surprise it sticks the most, because it’s not a trend. For many of us, it’s not our total wardrobe but it is and always has been the foundation of our wardrobe. The thing is, when a trend is raging, you feel its pervasiveness everywhere. Items you buy that you think will make you feel incredibly (insert great word here) instead leave you feeling FLAT. It can start to dull your senses; make you want to act out. But caution please. Not because you can look the fool (who really cares, it’s just clothes). Because you can spend a shit ton, and that’s wasteful and sucks. So, here are some thoughts to help you either get your mojo on or to keep you from losing it, and to remind you what you love about your style. Ok?

With quiet luxury the top headline, the race to banality has spiraled—so many offerings everywhere—and one can be left wondering why the item you bought with a promise of feeling chic and effortless instead brings on a feeling of “meh.” Can it just be that we’re not all roaming the halls of a Swedish villor 24/7, and that reality is you need to exude more interest rather than sucking it from your surroundings, especially nonexistent ones? Yes. But also, there is a difference between being quiet and being silent. If I said loud and quiet, that would be easy to discern. But quiet vs. silent? It’s all in the details. I’ll give you some visuals to drive the point:

Exhibit 1: The Little Black Blazer. Going for something with punch doesn’t mean it has to knock you out. It’s giving the good interest, which makes you feel interesting. Creative tailoring can literally do that for you. The blazer on the right? It’s giving coverage, sure, but that’s about all. Don’t be fooled that mediocrity means you’ll be able to wear it with everything. I mean, yes, you can wear it with everything, and every time you wear it you will feel a little more lifeless than you had hoped.

photo collage of tibi blazer vs generic blazer

Exhibit 2: A Simple Slingback Pump

The misnomer in the phrase here is “simple.” The term still works within the context of “the Rule of 3,” the premise that the perfect item is balanced and has no more than three major elements. It’s easy to think about the disaster that can ensue (appreciate my exaggeration here, please) when you tip the scale of 3; you can feel a hot mess. But a 1 or 2 can feel just as off, a deep wave of mediocrity can be felt throughout your body. And that is unbearable to me. It’s why, when we design, when I shop, I look for the Rule of 3 in the most visually simplest of items.

The python sling back pump here is a good example. On the left, it has the same level of simplicity as the one on the right, but oh, so much more. THE KEY???? The MORE never takes away from the functionality, and it adds so much interest. I’m not even talking interest to your outfit; I’m talking about how much more interesting you feel.

photo collage of tibi heel vs generic heel

It’s the reason why this style of pump can add lift to a simple (but not) suit:

photo of suit on person

But also give extra good, but not crazy strange, with a sheer sock:

editorial shot of tibi shoes

The subtle details make all the difference in a suit. EVERY TIME you see a relaxed pant online, zoom in closely on the front rise. If you spot a short zipper, it means that the stylist has put a larger pant on a smaller model to fake out the ease. We love a variety of suits, slim, super wide, etc. The key here is that, when you know what you are going for, you know how to spot it. The pisser is buying one thing and receiving another. So, here, we’re capturing this vibe:

photo from tibi's spring 2024 runway

See the pushed measurements? Lots of pants are posing as quiet luxury and eased and, while they may be luxury, the feeling you’ll get won’t match anything like the vibe above. There’s a reason why the right is not pushed. It’s safe. If the proverbial fly strip were a pant rise, it would look like the one on the right. They’re catching more flies here— and that’s ok. I hate flies.

photo collage of tibi pants vs generic pants

At first glance, you know something is off, but determining just what is a bit tougher. The overlay of rise on the far right shows you how just an inch or two can make a dramatic difference. And it’s not about “sizing up,” but finding pieces that have all the chill and interest built in. And an inch or two is the difference between feeling alive and interesting vs. not.

My opinion.

But actually, your opinion too. A while back, I asked you all to send me your big purchase regret. To be honest, I expected an in box filled with the gaudy impulse buys, the way-too-short short, the-way-to high heel. But it wasn’t. I received pic after pic of items that you thought you would wear forever, would give you all the quiet lux, and make you feel something. And maybe you did feel “lux” but luxury without the cleverness, sans the modernity, is ultimately one dimensional. And that leaves us feeling flat, every time.

I leave you with some other items that help build character and dimension, ok?

photo collage of shoes, bracelet, shirt, blazer vest, jeans, and coloured pencils

1.    The white top. This one is a stretch nubby fabrication, with a zipper at the neck so that neckline can have an extra strong point of view. Basic, but hardly.

2.    Nadine Ghosn’s pencil bracelet. I’ve tried this on and it sent electricity through me— so creative, but something I would wear every day. Literally.

3.    The black slide. Google black slides if you need a nap. These ones are giving all the pragmatism loaded with the creativity.

4.    The oversized vest. Over a slip dress, with a matching pant, with shorts, with whatever. The point is, it’s giving good interest and dimension.

5.    The Sid jean. Almost deceitful in its ease, but with interest.

6.    Coloring pencils from Blick art supply. I hadn’t been to an art supply store in a long time. I’ve missed the smells, the touch. This past fall, I used paper, pencils, and even erasers, and it felt incredible and very, very real.


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