Monday, 14 June 2010

Is what you wear as important as how you wear it? (Next blogger competition)


Is what you wear as important as how you wear it? I would certainly say it matters a great deal. Anyone with the money could buy an Alexander McQueen dress, but would they all have worn it with the same panache as the late Isabella Blow?
Take what I'm wearing above, could this skirt look more like it came from my great-grandma's current wardrobe? Granny without the chic - it was part of a twin set I bought in a charity shop, thinking it had potential. But boy did this one throw up a challenge! The elasticated waist is much too big, and on the coat hanger it seems to epitomise 'saggy'. However, hitched up with a vintage girl guides' belt and layered over a lace top, it began to take on a new look. But back to the question in hand...

I think in relation to models, the question of how something is worn is an interesting discussion point. There are so many models out there (just look at any one agency to see how many young women they have on their books!) So what separates the 'super models' from the rest? Sometimes perhaps it's just luck - going to the right casting or being noticed by the right person. But the models I hold high in my estimation are the ones who bring something of their own to the clothes they are styled in...
Some models are sometimes referred to (in what seems to me a derogatory way) as 'clothes horses' or mannequins, but I'm sure no-one could describe Lily Cole, complete with her pre-raphaelite looks and her well-known intelligence in this way. Or Karlie Kloss with her elegant, balletic poses? Or Chanel Iman in her exuberant shoots? These are models who not only wear the clothes they are put in, but inhabit them and make them their own.
Now those three models are very well known, but it is not only the ones gracing the cover of Vogue who manage to really wear the clothes, rather than the clothes wearing them.
Take Frida for example, an up and coming model with Select -


Take another look at what she has got on. A simple yellow shirt dress... Try to imagine it on a hanger - would it look as desirable then? No matter what the label?

It is that quality of self assurance, of belonging in those clothes. After all, why else do designers have their favourite muses? These women (models or not) represent everything that inspires the designer, that helps them to create something extraordinary.
My favourite shoots in magazines or online are the ones where it seems as though the model and photographer worked in tandem. Maybe it looks as though the model really enjoyed herself, or perhaps the clothes/ photographer worked perfectly for her. That moment when everything clicks into place: style eureka!

But of course, on the subject of the way clothes are worn, there are so many inspiring people out there and having percieved 'model looks' does not necessarily equate with being a style icon. Think of Coco Chanel, or Elsa Schiaparelli - people who shaped the history of fashion. Or maybe someone as modern as Christina Hendricks (of mad men fame.) Surely she was made to live in a sixties wardrobe? And she sure is dressed perfectly for her shape.



Or Alexa Chung - perhaps the woman responsible for single handedly making 'granny chic' desirable. If you were to describe, on paper, the things she wore, it wouldn't sound impressive would it?
-Double denim?
-Brogues with bare legs?
-'Geeky' glasses?
And yet when you see her, you understand what all the hype is about. Here's someone who really embodies the spirit of 'It's not what you wear, but how you wear it.'

Looking back to other eras, one might cite the success of Twiggy. Who would have thought a girl of schoolboy proportions and a bob would become one of the most successful models of her generation? Of course her looks played a large part in that fame, but gawky innocence in shoots and the simplicity of her style not only made her stand out but brought something completely fresh to the clothes themselves.



As a part time model and 'self stylist' myself, I practically live by the mantra of  the 'way you wear it' - why else would the majority of my shopping take place in charity shops and vintage markets? I positively revel in finding unassuming pieces I know I can create something wonderful with. The pleated skirt at the top is one such example, and here is another...



This Next silk dress is several sizes too big for me, but with the magic of a vintage belt it is suddenly transformed from shapeless to perfectly draped. Then a trilby, some white brogues, several watches and the look is complete. I jokingly called it my 'I'm with the band' outfit.

So maybe this is a small (scrap that, long!) sequence of musings about the fact that it isn't money or an 'on trend' item that creates style - only you can do that.

- I was recently asked to enter the Next blogger competition, in conjunction with their Model search. This post forms my entry.


If you enjoyed it then I'd appreciate it if you 'liked' it...
Sorry for not putting it up at the same time as the post - technical issues!

48 comments:

Esther said...

really insightful post. i agree wholeheartedly, i guess that's why any designer would say it's more your personal style & how you wear a piece of clothing that matters. & why models' streetstyles could help their career alot. love the way you hitched up the skirt your outfit looks really romantic & beautiful <3

Rose said...

I certainly agree, you gotta know how to wear it. And you certainly do! It sure helps to be gorgeous as you are too :)

Rose

Leia said...

absolutely gorgeous!

Pearl Westwood said...

Beautifully written post Roz, you are quite right it is all about how you wear it, not what you wear. Clothes shouldn't wear you but enhance and reflect you personality. So can we vote for you? I will go and take a look xx

Emily said...

I agree with you. I love how the same outfit can look completely different depending on who is wearing it. It adds a spark of interest and vitality to the whole thing. Good luck with the competition!

Closet Fashionista said...

Great entry!!! :D
Very true too :)
http://aclosetfashionista.blogspot.com/

The Lady Nerd said...

I concur that it is very much 'how' you wear clothing rather than the label itself. Like with filmmaking, sometimes restrictions on budget can lend to the greatest creativity. Yes, there are bargain finds on clothing that would otherwise be expensive, but there is something to be said for making a rich-looking outfit at a 1/4 of the price.

You are to me, with your vintage finds and classical looks, the epitome of 'how' you wear being paramount to 'what' you wear. You pull off older styles with such ease and grace, not to mention throwing together to most seemingly oddball clothing items. But when put together and in the right setting look like they were meant to go together. Not many people can say that. I know I can't. I couldn't put two vintage pieces together and have them in any sort of cohesive harmony. (Now give me a leather jacket, some aviators, and let me loose in a modern store and we'll see about that! :) )

Best of luck with the competition!

revital said...

gorgeous outfit! you are such a beautiful and talented girl! and you dad is making such a great job with the photos! love your blog!

http://revi-pinkillusions.blogspot.com/

BattyNora said...

Great post! it's very thought-provoking on a load of issues. i like how you explore and bring freshness to the whole style vs clothes debate; and amazing examples how only a few clever alterations can transform previously dowdy clothes.
I love the points you make, and especially the first outfit: really inspirational :)
xx

FASHION SNAG said...

You have to know how to wear the clothes and style them. I think you did a great job with the skirt! x

www.FashionSnag.com

Carys said...

Your outfit is absolutely beautiful!! I agree, anyone can put on a nice dress, but it takes skill to put together and style an outfit. I actually enjoy shopping at charity shops and combining items to create a vintage look much more than I would buying an expensive dress. I always feel so inspired looking at how you create your looks!
From Carys of La Ville Inconnue

styleodyssey said...

brilliant and insightful musings! i agree- it's more about how you wear it, than the label or what it looks like on the hanger. and there are many factors in "how" one wears it, from the way it's styled, to body type of said wearer.

Lyndranette said...

awesome! youll win for sure!

ItsHER92 said...

I love your outfits! :) And the clarity of your images! - What camera are you using! :) I hope my blogging can get to yours standard!

http://fashionphotosfame.blogspot.com/

Olivia Isabella. said...

Beautifully said, done and styled.
Every piece of clothing can be transformed and worn with poise and style if worn with the right compliments and maybe a pair of scissors, if the piece is very dire!
But, good luck with the competition. I had a look at the poster when "liking" your post and I was just wondering if you could actually win, considering you are under 18? But if you can, the I wish you the best of luck and hope you win! It would be great to see you as the face of NEXT!
UO x
http://unionolivia.blogspot.com/

Page said...

lovely entry!! hope you win :)
page

Olivia Isabella. said...

Thank you for your comment.
Yes, I suppose it was an unfair comparison to make: to suggest the number of female bloggers indicates women dress up to impress. But, I was more indicating that, regardless of whether it is for themselves or for the sole purpose of attracting attention, they attract attention anyway.
Ah, sorry, obviously missed that one! Good luck with the BLOGGER competition then!
UO x
http://unionolivia.blogspot.com/

Trishna said...

This entry was as delightful to read as it was to look at. :)

adrielleroyale said...

Great thoughts, it's so true that the best models make anything look good because they are so confident. They really do as you say inhabit the clothes they model; you could see them in your mind's eye wear it in everyday life.

Tastes Like More said...

For someone so young you always come across so mature, well composed and full of insight. Your writing is very well thought out and insightful. I always love your posts but this has got to be one of my favourite!

A lot of labels make it all too easy to look good, but for a high price (and yes, of course you can have the most expensive dress but not wear it properly), and for me that's just not feasible. I don't have pots of money so that forces me to be more creative in my shopping and also to reinvent clothing that I deem "last season".

One of the reasons why I really love your blog is because you don't, or rarely ever, use labels. You always feature wonderful vintage items and breathe new life into them. It always makes me want to go out to my own charity shops and find new treasures. I too feel that clothing should be another way of expressing yourself, not something that creates status.

These photos are gorgeous (as always!) and I hope you win :). You definitely deserve it.

tasteslikemore.blogspot.com

Marinka said...

great post! Love that picture of twiggy!
I love your hair and your style also!

mirror said...

you are so gorgeous! i like the second dress best--the silky one :)
would you mind checking my blog out sometime? i'd appreciate :)
http://lifeimpressionss.blogspot.com/

-M-

FortyNotOut said...

Fantastic piece and you're so right. It's about the inconceivable something, that little bit extra that you can't quite put your finger on. There are so many people that have it in spades at the moment - yourself included! It is a concept that can also transcend age too, I love Lauren Hutton's look, Sarah Jessica Parker and Carine Roitfeld's as well as some of the people you have mentioned. You have to be careful though at my age - with things like vintage bow blouses it can all go horribly wrong! Wishing you tons of luck with the competition - hope you win! xx

daisymay said...

I totally agree with you! Plus I love your scissors necklace!
http://daisymay-dayz.blogspot.com

THESTREETFASHION5XPRO said...

Gorgeous outfit! Great post...lovely photo!

amber said...

great styling and such pretty photos! i love it..great blog too; so happy i found it..[:
comment mine?
xx
cross my heart

Ashley said...

Great post, and amazing styling! You do wonders with ordinary and oversized pieces! Love your use of belts too :)

-Ashley
http://breakfastatsaks.blogspot.com

Flash! said...

very very nice pics and style!

Fashion By He said...

beautiful outfits! love your style

come follow the first ever fashion blog from a guys POV, let He know what you think

fashionbyhe.blogspot.com

Fabi Talavera said...

you are super gorgeous and definetly is more important how you wear it, you can buy any designer dress but if you wear if you dont wear it with the right shoes or accessories it might be ruined. Love all the moels and fshion icons you talk about on this post,
follow
www.fabitalavera.blogspot.com

sarah said...

You're absolutely right! You're blog is really fantastic!
Sarah (Italy)

Leslee said...

Roz, you always have the most inpirational post. Love the scissor necklace.

CC said...

This is such an amazing post! Love your outfit too. :)
Xx

the Citizen Rosebud said...

I vote for you. Miss Roz you have such an articulated style, and everything you said is on point. One extra model I'd like to mention: Coco Roche. One of my faves.

J. said...

i love your look!

http://bethereorbesquared.blogspot.com/

India Cairen Beau Sutton said...

this is such an inspirational post.. you obviously know your stuff about fashion and 'how' to wear clothes. I love how you've altered your outfits to fit your look - it works so well !

Beau Xo

umbrella-in-the-sun said...

This post is BEAUTIFUL. I love your fashion sense and your writing style
Fantastic blog <3


MON CHERI !

ABIGAIL NY said...

how you wear it is more important than what you are wearing, and great post!

http://themessenger-bag.blogspot.com

WildFlower said...

Absolutely! I saw a shoot with a few diff models in bed wearing nothing but a sheet wrapped around their bodies and some of them just totally rocked that sheet as if it were a couture dress! I think its about being comfortable in your own skin...if you are not comfortable in that then anything else you put on is not going to look right.
I think the beauty in your photos is your grace and elegant poise. You could wear anything and I would still be able to see that first and foremost. Its a bonus that you have a mad sense of style!!!!
Awesome granny skirt pimping! I have that exact same belt and wear it a lot teehee!

Electro Geisha said...

First of all, I would never say you are 15. wow, great mind set you have there. I agree with you, and I think there is one beautiful and amazing fashion life era is in front of you :) and this skirt, you made it look so elegant and classy, so not even close to granny style

Daphne said...

Wonderful outfit.:) I love your blog. I wish I could write a long beautiful comment on this amazing post but I'm in the middle of my exams and don't have a lot of time. So Im just goinh to stick to I adore your blog and could you maybe vist mine someday? ;-D
love
Daphne
xx

November Grey said...

Well said. We just did a casting for a model to represent a new clothing line in WWD magazine. She definitely brought a lot more to the table, including the way she rocked her look. (We ended up using her own shoes in the shoot!)

I'm a big believer in mixing up the right pieces (cheap, thrift, vintage, designer...) and wearing them well. It's much more interesting. And fun!

Cheers to you! Fab style. xx

http://www.novembergrey.blogspot.com/

Scofield lv said...

you are so pretty

michelle_ said...

first time at your blog love !
you look absolutely amazingg (both style and aesthetic wise!)
found ur blog from teen vogue snapshot :) :)
congrats !

xx
www.glistersandblisters.com

Sofia Leo said...

I bumped into your blog through teenvogue's Best Dressed Reader of the Day and I must say the moment I saw the photo, I fell in love with your style! Then I read what you had to say about it and I must say you have a very strong and confident voice. Then I checked out your blog and my opinion about you was proven right. Love the whole thing, but your strong opinion and the beautiful photography must be my favourite!

Sofia Leo

Raji said...

Such a great post, really agree with everything you said, I really feel clothes should be an extension of personality and people could have exactly the same item but style it and wear it differently in a way that suits that, and thats what makes it fun.

Beautiful photography, you look incredible. love that skirt!

Fashionate Girl said...

You're so pretty! And a part time model? That's my DREAM! But I'm still too short :(

Please help me spread the word about my brand new blog:
www.polkadotpassion.blogspot.com

polka dot said...

Brilliant. I can't believe I missed this post at the time: it is so uncannily spot on to everything I feel about style.

And the mummy scissor.. that is just uncanny.

Fabulous post. xx