Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Gingham Takes a Cue from Miley Cyrus

Gingham is having a Miley Cyrus moment. Just as Miley "came back" to the pop culture scene in 2013 as a transformed version of herself--edged-up and ready to rumble--and elicited an excitement about this new personality filled with fervor, glamour, and swagger, gingham is rolling with a new crowd and ready for its debut. As temperatures rise, the sun is becoming the spotlight that gingham hasn't properly basked in since the '60s.

Gingham's new squad is millennial fashion consumers who will use this piece not as a basic or classic but as a tool for mixing and matching, which makes the design houses heralding this movement seem particularly in touch with the millennial mindset, in all its forms, right now.

House of Holland, Altuzarra, and Rosie Assoulin circa SS17 Fashion Week know what's up:

Gingham isn't the "domestic bliss" it was in the '60s or the Dorothy Gale sartorial uniform it was in the '40s. Now, in an age where young people are running full speed ahead towards any and all forms of self-expression, gingham is an ingredient in the super sweet cocktail of ideas, passions, emotions, and visions of the 2017 millennial translated through clothing.

Widespread debate about the cons of Coachella "street style" aside, I can think of few other places that serve said cocktail in such high concentration--fashion and music are a huge part of the festival and also huge parts of millennial culture, so when we put them together we get a sort of melting pot of young fashion/music/fun enthusiasts demonstrating the virtues of their culture loud and proud: fearlessness, creativity, individuality, excitement...sometimes even pretentiousness or superficiality, but that aside...

The clothing translation of this can be nearly anything, but could probably be summed up in one word: unexpected. Which could also be manifested in nearly any way--whatever your interpretation of "unexpected" is.

Sooo, because Coachella is currently underway and there's a certain "let's rock n roll" feeling in the air (sense that made: none), here's a couple ways gingham can be added to a festival outfit in a way that reflects the unpredictability of the millennial:

#1): Instead of making the gingham skirt the statement piece, make the entire outfit work together as a statement with elements that both contrast and reinforce each other. Cut a triangle opening into the graphic tee so that the bralette shows (maybe even cut it into a crop top if you're feeling it). A denim jacket is necessary for when it gets cold at night, but personalized, unique denim is the best denim. And yes, that's a septum ring.

#2): The only rule of millennial fashion is that there are no rules. Anything goes. In this case, Moroccan work-from-home business woman on top, sporty go-go dancer on the bottom.

#3): A scarf to cover your nose and mouth when it gets particularly dusty (other location options for non-dusty atmospheres: hair, arm, leg, half of back pocket) and tube socks, sneakers, and big hoops to completely throw off anyone who saw your outfit from the waist up and thought "Oh, she looks like she could be driving in a convertible in Florence!" BOOM-Jenny from the Block when they least expect it.

Photos via Vogue Runway
Collages made with Polyvore

Sunday, April 9, 2017

How to Wear Pink Sequins Without Looking Like Sharpay Evans

As someone who has frequently (and publicly) declared her love for the mixing of casual and traditionally dressy materials, I feel particularly limited by Sharpay Evans’ virtual monopoly on pink sequins. I will defend the genius of the High School Musical franchise to the death, and I have nothing against Sharpay, but sometimes rich, self-absorbed, pink-obsessed girl is not the look I’m hoping to achieve. I love sparkly materials and I love pink, and I think it could be an awesome combo to flare up street wear or casual dressing, but I don’t always want to look like I take my father’s private jet to a hotel for the summer and boss people around for a living. I want to look like me, whatever that is.

This entire debate started when I tried on a slinky pink sequin top at Urban Outfitters. I thought it was “cool”, per se, but wasn't sold on how it looked with regular jeans (Sharpay-ish, to say the least). Buuuuttt my brand new earnings from babysitting were burning a hole in my pocket, and my friend Teresa blended her compliments of approval with the lies of the skinny mirror into a compellingly tempting orchestra, so I bought it and promised myself I would find a way to make it work.

So now I’m here, keeping that promise to myself for the sake of feeling like a responsible spender and a capable dresser. I might've made a promise I can’t keep, but when in doubt, have unwavering confidence in yourself, right? Even if it’s undeserving? I don’t know.

Here’s how “Operation Un-Sharpay This Top” went:

My first thought was to pair the top with something Sharpay would never wear--the "little brother"/skater boy look. My interpretation of this included Levi's with a graphic tee (my "Pretty in Punk" tee from Zara was the only one I had, just pretend it says "Thrasher" or something) and sneakers. I know the little brothers or skater boys of the world probably don't wear trench coats (or pink sequins), but that being said, how cool would it be if someone rode by you on a skateboard, long coat flowing in the wind? It's an acquired taste, I think.

But I didn't want to be so literal. Sharpay dictates her style according to "girly" principles, so throwing on a bunch of tomboy-ish clothes seemed like a cop out. Kind of like saying you're sick to get out of a test you didn't study for, you know? Sooooooooo, I payed a visit to Layer Central with some uneven hemmed jeans and a blue dress. I think the little bit of sequin peeking out adds something interesting to the look, and both pieces happened to have strappy spider-webs for backs which worked out nicely!

While this was not intentional, the first two outfits almost seemed like I was trying to cover up the shirt, and I thought if I truly want to conquer my pre-conceived notions of this top I'd have to face it outright. So I wore it as it was--no striped turtleneck underneath, no cropped sweater over top--with a Zara skirt. It then dawned on me that I looked like a cross between a Vegas showgirl and a Halloween party attendee who really missed the mark on her Studio 54 costume. I wasn't ready to scrap it, though, because something about it intrigued me. As much as I just scorned this outfit for its resemblance to a Halloween costume, I have an appreciation for the dress-up segment of fashion. Then it came to me: Sharpay would NEVER clash pinks, right?
So I grabbed a darker pink button-down from my dad's closet and added some sneakers to make it less fru-fru. I kinda look like an alternate universe version of a mechanic, which I am very down for-- my only request is that, in said alternate universe, SodaPop Curtis must still be a mechanic.

Admittedly, this last look is the closest to anything Sharpay has actually worn or thought about wearing, and as life seems to have it, it's my favorite out of the three. Has my inner Sharpay been slowly crawling out of me--from my mind to my heart, from my heart down my arms to my fingers to the words my fingers are typing--and into this article? It's possible. In fact, what's a good experiment if the original hypothesis isn't proven wrong? 
I don't want to get ahead of myself, though. The button-down and sneakers saved the day by roughing it up a little. So let's just say the hypothesis was not necessarily disproven, but modified: I'd like to see Sharpay in an outfit that satisfies her craving for pink while rejecting some of the stereotypical "girly" pieces that have become synonymous with fashion's gender norms. 

Dressing like a completely different version of yourself--one of the many ways fashion hands you the reigns to your own empowerment-- can be quite exhilarating.
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