reality is weirder than you think

Category: Style (page 1 of 4)

Weaponized fashion styling

Clothes are just as much about communication as they are about preventing one from walking down the street naked.

Clothes can say everything from “I’m not that kind of girl” to “I’m the next President of the United States of America.”

I love how this scene from My Father is Strange illustrates how important clothes can be when preparing oneself for battle.

“Fur trumps everything,” says the status-oriented mother (nevermind that fur is a ridiculous choice in the summer months).

Meanwhile, the practicality-oriented mother shows up looking far better than the other team ever would have thought.

The clothes do just as much talking as the people.

This is why you should have your personal equivalent of a “power suit” in your wardrobe. There are times when you (and I) need to perform our best–that is the time to pull out your best garment.

“Best” is subjective in this case.

But this garment should make you feel badass. Invincible. Completely protected. Confident to the point of aggressive.

It can be difficult to find these magic garments (LOL MORMON JOKE) but it’s worth it.

Especially if you have to go up against a Tiger Mother who also happens to be your landlord.

That fine line between beautiful and useful

You’d never know there was an upside to a housefire.

That upside, for me, is salvage furniture that’s wasn’t damaged, but is written off my insurance. Apparently they sell it–for cheap–which makes it an idea place to find affordable, quality furniture.

I’m now the owner of a Restoration Hardware couch, which I bought for $200. Yes, please.

One of the pieces that I looked at was a beautiful coffee table, brass with a wood burl veneer on top. It was exquisite. New, it cost $3000. Fire salvage, $250.

An absolute steal.

But would I use it? I need a coffee table. Does it fit with my couch and the other furniture that I have? Or would it be difficult to work around? Being that much more “nice” than everything else I have could be a detriment, because by comparison everything else would look shabby.

I would have had to design an entirely new life to fit in around that coffee table, one where I artfully drink coffee on Saturday mornings and have decorative objects picked up from my latest trip to Borneo clumped artfully on my fireplace mantle. (Problem: my apartment doesn’t have a fireplace.)

Yes, the coffee table was a great deal monetarily. I have my doubts on whether or not it was a great deal in terms of lifestyle and context.

It was beautiful, but not for me. Not right now at least. Sometimes you have to know when to admire and let go.

That used to be difficult for me. I would want to become that new person who lives that life in which the coffee table (or the blouse) makes sense. As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve started to realize that there’s only one person that I can be (me), and if external trappings don’t help me to become more fully that person, they don’t belong in my life.

No matter how beautiful, if an object isn’t useful–both in an absolute context and relative to other objects that you already own–it’s effectively worthless. It makes me sad to think about that coffee table in this way, because the craftsmanship was so good, but it doesn’t make sense in the context of my life right now.

I could be wrong. Maybe I’ll wake up in a cold sweat tomorrow morning because I didn’t buy that gorgeous coffee table.

But I doubt it.

Reactionary Fashion vs Revolutionary Fashion

No further words needed. Thank you /pol/, courtesy of Peter Duke.

(Also, LOL Martin Luther)

Melania wears a costume in China

I started compiling this post determined to make a “reduce reuse recycle” joke about Melania’s outfit choices in China.

Turns out they’re completely different outfits.

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I can, however, feel fashion bloggers wincing at the matchiness between the deep fur cuffs and the stilettos. That is a hallmark of Melania’s style at this point. Not much jewelry, very simple silhouettes, and matchiness.

This is the most embellished dress I can recall her wearing. Interestingly, her outfits in Poland and France were also relatively more colorful and embellished. I wonder why she allows her clothes more visual interest overseas?

The unexpected embellishment adds to the feeling of costume, along with the silhouettes that are not typical Melaniawear. The stilettos help tie each look back to what she typically looks like.

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While I’m slowly getting on board with the matchiness idea — some people are just like that — the thing I don’t understand is why she wore two outfits that include the same visual elements on the same trip. She knows that she’s going to be photographed, so I truly don’t understand the decision to wear two outfits that are so similar. It’s harder to distinguish between one event and the other, and it’s an opening for criticism.

The other thing is that black and baby pink really aren’t her colors. She does really well with warmer colors, and browns. Strong colors, not icy ones.

Thinking back on what I’ve written, it strikes me that I don’t know any of the context behind these wardrobe choices. Perhaps they were created by Chinese designers specifically for her visit. Perhaps the fashion industry is being big enough bitches that she’s having a difficult time finding options. I don’t know.

Is it worth finding out?

On the other hand, the images have to stand on their own. That includes the “art direction” inside of the images, which includes wardrobe.

Image of the week: MAGAween edition

Getty won’t let me embed the good image from this series, but the concept is too good to pass by.

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Skeleton. MAGA. HAT.

So simple, yet so effective. And so on-brand.

I love the MAGA, I love the bats, I love Melania’s deployment of a vaguely-military-style coatdress in a color that looks mostly good on her.

It’s a great photo.

And yet, I’m curious about the child dressed in all black. What is he supposed to be —  /pol/, maybe? Or anonymous?

The great mysteries of life.

Glamour in the home

More on decorating. Forgive me (#SorryNotSorry), it was the best book on decor I’ve read to date.

This bit deals with glamour in our homes. While the author focuses on glamour as a style, rather than glamour as a concept, she highlights the concept that we all need a little bit of glamour in our homes. It helps us transcend the mundane.

Given how many mundane tasks a house must perform, a bit of frippery is actually a necessity. It can elevate a room into an experience. Glamour does require guts, though, because you need to express it with a bold stroke, not a tentative gesture. What creates glamour? Sparkle! Shine! Embellishment! Color! Pattern! Glamour is an essential excess, the icing on our cake.

Don’t think I am suggesting that we all have to go for an over-the-top, glitzy Hollywood “more is more” kind of look. In fact, that is rather hard to pull off. Miles Redd, a decorator who does not fear the glam, pulls out all the stops–crystal chandelier, gilded wood, chinoiserie wallpaper, leopard fabric, etc.–but keeps a tight rein on the color palette. You can also be selective and elegant, choosing perhaps one brilliantly ornate mirror, a lavish wallpaper, or a single glittering chandelier, in an otherwise modern or refined room. You don’t need to overdo it, but you can’t be wimpy: that chandelier or that mirror or wallpaper has to assert itself loudly and clearly. Glamour is not meek.

I’ve always liked the idea of having something sparkly or shiny in a room (or on an outfit), but I never put two and two together. Of course it would be an element of glamour to wake a room up and give it that extra bit of energy.

I also love the idea of not being wimpy in your own home. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of “good enough” or “nobody else will see this,” but sometimes it’s worth investing in a piece that makes you want to rise to the occasion on everything else. For me, in an outfit, that’s a great pair of shoes. Maybe in decor, it’s a mirror, for that sense of dancing light.

Because at the end of the day, isn’t it light that makes us happy? Dark, dreary homes are never welcoming.

It’s no great coincidence that the key to making people feel sparkly is to make the room itself sparkly. Candlelight, and low light in general, is essential for creating an elegant mood. The reason we still bother with candles, antiquated as they are, is that their light is hypnotic. And flattering. And it cannot be duplicated by any form of electric light. Candles mix best with dimly lit rooms. So keep all complementary lights low so that candlelight can cast its magic spell.

Natural light is best, but when that fails, there’s hygge and candlelight.

After that is Truth, I suppose. Because if you lose the truth, you’re truly sunk.

Even in home decor.

In case you had any doubt that the 90s were back

Twice will set you straight with their music video for “Likey.”

Hairstyles aside, the crop tops, chokers, miniskirts, and combat boots echo the 90s pretty dang hard. Plus Nayeon’s sweet plaid dress, and Mina’s spaghetti straps over tee shirt combo.

Not sure how I feel about this music video all told. It’s not as much fun as “Knock Knock” or as random-yet-charming as “TT.” The song isn’t that catchy, but I appreciate that Chaeyoung and Dahyun absolutely slaughter the rap.

Lest things get too literal, an instagram-themed song is definitely of the now.

Melania makes a wrong turn in Carolina Herrera

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Lady, no disrespect meant, but this is awful.

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Please never wear a high waist again. Especially not a high waist with a crewneck top.

Here’s what doesn’t work: there’s no space between the bottom of her bust and the top of her skirt, the start of her “bottom half.” This makes her look compressed, and squished vertically, when in reality her proportions are longer and leaner. Because there’s no breathing room around her bust (amplified by the white crew neck sweater which visual expands the area while also cutting off all visual exits), the proportions end up looking cartoonish. And not in a good way.

Stark red (or is it coral?) and stark white is tough to wear without looking like a candy cane. Melania rarely wears jewelry or a “mix” piece to tie together disparate colors like this, and in this case it would have been a good idea. Even a pale pink scarf would be a welcome addition, while still keeping in the palette.

The skirt is by Carolina Herrera, and is fairly cute on its own. I like the play on proportions in the lookbook, but that would have been an even worse styling decision than the one that Melania’s team made. Hourglass figures cannot handle trapeeze tops — those are for models and 12-year-olds.

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So as not to leave this post on a sour note, I do how she plays the “red and white” to the “blue” of the ties. Again with the tag-team color story.

Melania in Puerto Rico

I suppose now they’ll criticize her for wearing white.

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Just kidding — they won’t talk about this at all, because it wrecks the “Trump doesn’t care about Puerto Rico!” narrative.

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Killer shades — eliminating bugmen with a glance. Has there ever been such an intimidating-looking first lady? I feel like past FLOTUSes (FLOUTI?) have tried to make themselves relatable in some way or another. With Melania, I don’t get that vibe. Time for some research into past First Lady style.

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While the silhouette is great, not sure the color palette works on this one. The gold braid on the hat calls to the workboots, but the white “column of color,” green jacket, and dark hat feel discombobulated.

White doesn’t make sense for a work outfit, even if it’s just for show.

Even so, I like Action Barbie Melania better than Gala Barbie Melania.

Two variations of black and white outfits

Melania has recentlyish worn two black-and-white outfits, both very different.

First up, the “competent” outfit (seriously, this exact outfit is what you get when you search “competent woman).

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Gets the job done, is classic, the end. Not especially stylish or Melania-like (except for that subtle white stitching detail), but it works for this venue. She’s doing a job that’s focused on conversation, not on herself.

Nest up, the “fashion” outfit. The cropped, wide-leg pants (which you can’t see because I refuse to embed the images that Getty has which have her from a slightly below angle which makes her look awful) are very now, and the double-breasted yet tailored jacket is quite a striking look.


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She’s also doing her job here, but in this case the entire point of the job is a photo-op — to look at her.

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