Thursday, December 22, 2005

On with the fashion!

For the umpteenth time, Marcia avoids the question of what to wear by checking the stocks.

One of our faithful readers, Kristen, asks a very good question:

"Do you ladies have any recommendations on how to develop personal style, perhaps even a signature style?"

Well, as with anything else, developing your own style takes time, patience and money. It is a worthwhile investment in yourself that will pay off for years to come.

Every woman has her own style, whether she realizes it or not. The question is if she can be conscious of this style, and then modify it to include other elements of style that she likes.

That last part (what SHE, the woman in question, likes) is important. Las F is not out to promote what's hot or what is fashionable this year per se. Instead, we want to promote wearing the clothes, makeup, shoes, and accessories that make YOU as an INDIVIDUAL look and feel good. That's why you'll see us promoting some funny things around here, things that most fashion mavens wouldn't be caught dead promoting as a 'look'. (Stockings with open-toe shoes, and striped tights and clogs come to mind.)

We're OK with being different, and we're OK with people disagreeing with us. We think our readers should be OK with being different and unique. Who cares if you wear all the latest trends if you don't FEEL good in them? Get over it, ladies! Stop listening to the fashion designers in New York City. Stop paying attention to the celebrities. Toss out Cosmo. Use Vogue to start your fires. Really. You can do this. In the immortal words of Elle Woods, ladies (and gents!), you have ALL the equipment. You just need to read the manual!

(On second thought, save those beauty mags. You'll need them in a minute.)

I spent some time thinking about what makes a wardrobe unique. I decided it's not as much the clothes as it is the finishing accessories--the bag, the shoes, the earrings, the watch, the necklace, the coat.

First, take inventory of your wardrobe. What do you have? Hopefully you have most of the basics by now: the black slacks, the little black dresses, a pair of nice denim trousers, blue jeans, etc. We've written a lot about what a items a well-dressed lady (or guy) should have. (Maybe I should write a separate post about the specific items needed? What do you guys think?)

After you've covered the basics, you need to decide what kind of style you want. Are you looking for a more bohemian or hippie look with flowing skirts and peasant blouses? Do you like artsy-funky, with lots of red accents, velvet smoking jackets and cute corduroy pants? Do you want a classy look with suits, clean lines and pearls?

There is no commandment that reads Thou Shalt Adopt One Style Alone, and One Style Alone shalt Thou Serve, for Lo, Style is a Jealous God. Most people incorporate several styles to make something all their own. Don't worry about sticking to one look exclusively. Buy what you love! Buy what compliments YOU. That's the secret to true and unique style.

Now, as I was saying, take one of your basic pieces. Let's take these gorgeous denim trousers from Bluefly. They're a pretty standard item and it's easy to create many different styles with them. Consider good jeans, slacks, and skirts as your canvas over which you can paint your very own colors.

Pull out those rejected beauty magazines. Ignore the skinny models, but pay attention to the kinds of outfits that you like. Take note of what appeals to you. If you have a lot of time, make a scrapbook of the looks you like and take it shopping with you. I have a running list of items I'd like to add to my wardrobe. I can recall these items to mind with the same readiness that my husband reports sports statistics. Once you cover the basics of your wardrobe, you can add pieces based on your wish list. Those pieces are up to you. Don't be afraid to experiment. Sometimes when I see an item I like, I do what I like to call 'circling'. I'll try it on, but I won't buy it. I'll come back home and check my closet. Will anything go with this item? How many outfits can I make out of it? Will I wear it? If the answers are positive, then I get it. Don't feel compelled to snatch up everything that catches your fancy. As my mom says, there will always be another great deal.

Now let's look at those trousers. What do YOU see with them? When I look at them, I see a simple black top, probably a V-neck, and a killer red corduroy jacket. I'd probably finish the look with my favorite accessories, my Fossil Watch and my Tiffany Bracelet, and a pair of black high-heeled boots. However, that's me! They'd also look lovely with a crisp white blouse and brown books or red clogs and a tan sweater.

The bottom line? Fashion is not a religion. Fashion should be fun. Finding the best version of yourself is fun. Enjoy the ride!