Kate Moss inspired fashion advice

Kate-Moss-and-Jamie-Hince-arriving-for-a-fashion-show

If you like fashion and you are always on the look for smart tricks to look good, model Kate Moss is a good example to take inspiration from. The secret behind Kate’s good looks, (apart from the fact that her bone structure is close to what some describe as the golden ratio of beauty), is that she never seems to try too hard. And if you look closely she has a specific personal style to which she stays faithful most of the time. Kate Moss has given the world some fashion advice which is not much, but then again there is not much to tell about fashion anyways. In reality it is not that complex.

The reason why I suddenly look to Mossy as a good stylistic example for the fashion-confused like me is that the more I grow up the more I find it hard to understand fashion. The other day I ventured a trip to Zara – one of my favourite fashion retailers for my kind of budget— and for the first time I did not find a single item that I felt I could wear. Everything looked like it was designed for tall and willowy girls and channelled a certain 60’s/faux vintage persona with an artsy, jet set-aspiring lifestyle. The clothes charmingly looked like they had “a story to tell” but after inspecting for the tenth time every single cloth rack in the hope of finding something that “made sense” I had to sadly admit was not my story.

The general factual truth with fashion trends is that the more women wear them-copying the example of models, actresses and other celebrities- the more they normalise the trends, so they gradually stops being edgy, over the top or even ridiculous and become conventional. Furthermore, our fashion conditioning sponsored by the same high street powerhouses wants us to think that a daring outfit equals a daring or confident personality. For instance take the popular Mtv show Plain Jane whose job is to transform “plain” looking girls to modern goddesses with the noble purpose of giving them enough confidence to ask their school crush out on a date. The show host Louise Roe, a woman who would ,no doubt, look good in a bin bag, is a fierce advocate for high street fashion. Louise encourages “Plain Janes” ,who would rather go out in jeans and a t shirt ,to try instead bright colours and bold prints, statement earrings , bling necklaces and sexy high heels as an exercise to learn how to radiate confidence and femininity. The show is very entertaining and surely only does some good old high street promotion, but the truth is that no girl should take its tips too seriously.

Here is why: In real life nobody over age 25 has the time, the energy and the necessary “talent” needed to figure out whether the orange bare midriff dress combines with the turquoise scarf and 5 inch platform heels, let alone actually put them on and walk down the street feeling no doubt uncomfortable and slightly ridiculous. No woman should be made to feel like that on fun her night out when she should above all feel comfortable and relaxed and allow herself to have a good time. IT IS NOT A CRIME TO BE IN YOUR COMFORT ZONE. (Also, in real life it takes more than mustering up the courage to ask the guy out to make romance happen, and at the end of the day if he was into you he would not wait around until he was asked).

Going back to Kate’s advice, here are some personal observations/inspirations that could help fashion conscious women keep their sanity.

Kate wears denim most of the time, especially her trademark skinny black jeans. Of course she frequently switches to vintage super glam looks for special occasions such as celebrity parties, receptions, official premieres and other paparazzi worthy events that the average woman most likely will never attend so she (you, me) should rather invest her money in things she will actually wear on a daily basis. So yeah, that party dress might look fantastic on you but better resist the urge to decorate your closet with yet another cute outfit.

KM wears what flatters her body shape. She of course is super skinny and all that, but she does not have the typical model body. In fact she is a bit shorter. She still looks better than you and me but also sticks to things that show off her slender frame and make her look taller. So if you have already found what looks good on your body shape don’t feel pressure to experiment or switch to something different because you “have to” wear a certain dress or skirt. Why wear it if it is not flattering? Stick to what flatters you. Use that as a basis to work your variations on that.

Invest in your basics. Better pay three times the price on a piece of denim that will last 5 years than one third on the one that lasts less than 5 months. This way you will spend less time worrying about what to wear.

Combine old and new from your favourites and be creative if you feel like it. You don’t need to look like the exact copy of the Topshop mannequin. It may earn you the respect of the 15 year olds but to all the rest you will look like you are trying too hard.

Finally, (like Kate), don’t bother too much. Life is too short and maybe you were not born to be a fashion genius. (like Kate) Maybe you will never pull off a sophisticated vintage look. It doesn’t matter. Change your hair or change your make up. Do something that makes you feel good about yourself and show some attitude. At the end of the day the most attractive thing about your clothes is your personality. (and not lack thereof)

Deep thoughts on the Ultimate Shopper

Eating croissants outside Tiffany's does not make you Audrey

Eating croissants outside Tiffany’s does not make you Audrey

The other day I watched  a British show on TV called “The Ultimate Shopper”.  Four “shopaholic” women were taking  part in a fashion contest and the winner would “have free run of the best fashion store in the country” and take home their entire collection. To compete, the four super-consumers were asked to put together three different styles choosing outfits from the store.  The fashion experts judges would then decide which contestant got it right and which did not.

What struck me as interesting is that the two contestants who made it to the final (pulling off the Miami Beach party look correctly) were far from elegant. The one was so overweight that looked uncomfortable in almost anything she wore and the other one was what the British would call a chav, orange face, hair extensions, fake eyelashes, you name it. The two girls that actually looked good were eliminated because they failed to put the right outfits together.

“This is not Miami Beach Party, it is more Summer Gig ” a slim elegant girl was told before she was eliminated. As a viewer I lost any interest in the show after that. Nobody really cares to see how an 180 pound woman or a chav would dress for the Oscars after all.

I was suddenly annoyed by the hypocrisy behind the whole thing. Two thoughts crossed my mind:

First , the whole idea that fashion is this set of rules that the average Jane can follow and look just as good as the fashion models is ridiculous. Every day we are bombarded with images of super tall, super slim, and photoshopped to perfection girls who try to sell us dresses, boots and make up. The message is clear: “Buy this and you will look like me, it only takes a few clicks on your keyboard and a credit card”.

And now the Fashion Industry is taking this offensive message even further: There is a way to get it right and that depends only on following fashion rules. It does not matter if you are fat and waist-less, orange faced, and do not possess a drop of elegance. As long as you wear the right kaftan combined with the right ridiculous pair of Summer wedges (because the beach is the right place for wedges after all), you are fashionably correct and look better than the rest. What an obvious way to target a woman’s wallet.

I am not saying that we should all look the same and that all women should be thin. I am not even interested in this idea right now. What I am saying is that there is a way to get it right and it has nothing to do with the right combination of shoes and bags or color blocking.  It has more to do with looking and being proportionate, effortless and graceful.  To wear what looks good on you and not blindly spend your money on garments that do not flatter you. There is nothing more unflattering than a woman or a man who tries too hard by wearing clothes that do not match her personality.

The second thought in my mind was how our whole society uses the same questionable system to evaluate everything and everyone around us. We are taught to not trust our gut instinct, our primordial gaze. We are taught to see something that looks and feels right and reject its harmony as irrelevant. Instead we seek to judge or evaluate others using only one criterion, and that criterion in our minds is independent from everything else.

Therefore we seek beauty without grace.

We seek performance without talent.

Responsibility without kindness.

Love without sacrifice.

Novelty without change.

We evaluate success by adding up numbers.

And the list goes on and on. There is a harmony, a grace that connects everything in the world but we are taught to look for small blind pieces, disconnected ideas, and weak perceptions.  We simply do not allow ourselves to tune in with the spirit that expands, relates and connects. And then we wonder what is wrong with the world.

By the way, the lady with the orange face won the contest and went home with the prize.

 In the end the judges decided that she was the least bad of the final two.