Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mixing It Up. Impressions, Please?

I’m fascinated by the idea of context in fashion: that is, that what looks great or even just okay in one city or locale might be badly out of context elsewhere. 

This first outfit would go over pretty well where I live, on a young woman like this one.  What I like about this one:  the mix of textures, especially the leather patchwork with the lacy shorts.  However, I don’t think the shorts are long enough.  Something seems off about the proportion. 

And I would not wear this exact combination, but the mix itself inspires me to put different textures or colors together.   

What do you think? 

How about this one? 

I’m not sure.  It’s a little baggy, but she sure looks comfortable. 

And this one?  I happen to like this a lot, for the natural colors and probably natural fabrics.  She looks cool on The Sartorialist, with her ciggie and leather bag.  Would she look cool in your town? 

If I was wearing this outfit, I’d want to make sure my hair was very tidy to avoid any suggestion of frowsiness.  Maybe I’m just sensitive to that because I have naturally frowsy hair.  But also, as I get older I seem to feel more frowsy in general.

Here’s the same woman.  I like this.  You can’t go wrong with a white shirt. 

How about this one?  Does it need more color, or is the mix of light natural shades refreshing?  Would a little more contrast in the outfit bring our her natural color contrast?  I tend to think so.

Could you wear this in your town? 

This woman’s coloring is so classy and striking that in a way her overalls look out of character.  She’s photographed in Paris.  Maybe the overall doesn’t have the folksy associations there? 

It’s always great fun! to hear what you think of these street fashion photos.  Of course, we all agree that people should wear whatever the heck they want.  But strictly from a design point of view:  what are your thoughts? 

photos used with permission from



Patsy said...

Top picture, #1: I would wear the jacket, but inside I would wear a one-color simple lightly skimming dress higher than the knee. I would wear different footgear.

Picture #5, the girl with two pigtails and the loose weave cottony getup.... I like it and I would wear it. I would not change a thing.

The Clever Pup said...

I'm from a city of 2 million - all these would be accepted... but the first look would not work in my hometown of 5,000. Too radical.

I don't like it either. I detest the hair. Her proportions are off and I really dislike it when people mix the weight of fabric.
I say tousle the hair. Lose the coat. Find some electric pink hose and some sneaks and she'd look great.

I prefer the other images you posted. Whereas the first woman looks like she's trying too hard, the other woman have a certain je ne sais quoi.

I have some pinstriped overalls (for when I slim down)because I have this dream of looking like a sexy gardener/artist pottering in my garden and driving my neighbours to distraction (JOKE!)I wouldn't wear them with a jacket like this though.

Duchesse said...

I like them all to varying degrees, except for woman in the yellow boots, who just looks schlumpadinka, and the overalls.

Context means a lot: where and for what occasion are the clothes being worn? The woman pictured twice is Renata Molho, who styled countless models for Italian Vogue in the '80s; these Sartorialist shots were taken at major runway shows in Milan.

Similarly, the woman in the Paris shot is wearing her overalls ironically, but they would not look so ironic in Kansas. Nethertheless, I think they look awful on her.

Unknown said...

One dresses for their own personal statement, and probably for their region. I tend to dress preppy. That's my region. At times I try to step out of my comfort zone and try something different. (like ordering lemon cake instead of chocolate all the time ;))

For example: I submitted a photo over at that is being ripped to shreds over there by the comunity commentors right now. I clearly don't fit into the NewYork style mode. But I don't think I'm as hideous as they are proclaiming.

I believe style has become so eclectic anything goes, and it's only the trendy people who will comment "that's so last week"

Rosaria Williams said...

Fashion is relative. Geography, weather, occupation, age, all have something to add to the mix.

I love seeing new fashions, even though I was never a consumer. I bought useful, classical pieces that didn't change much. What do people wear in your neck of the woods?

Ingrid Mida said...

Regardless of what they are wearing, all these women convey confidence. That is the key to eclectic dressing!

The WalMart Vegan said...

Well, the first one isn't the outfit for me. But I do love the textures I don't like the boots. However, I LOVE the yellow boots. Go figure!

I think area does play a big role in what is acceptable and what is not. In a way that is sad because it can stifle creativity so easily.

Now having said all this -- since I am not a designer or in the media I can say -- I love the fact that each of these women looks completely comfortable in their own skin.

Tessa said...

Not so mad about #1 – I agree about the shorts being too short and it’s all just too busy for my taste. #2 – LOVE the boots…but not the stripy t-shirt – better, I think, with all black on top and a big, swirly colourful scarf (like an African kikoi for example) with mad tassels, perhaps? #3 – looks like Diane Keaton in Annie Hall – bit passé, maybe? Love the bikers’ bag, though. #4. Nice shirt (agree about white ones), but the skirt? Not for me. #5 Love this one – right up my alley. And yes, I agree that a bit of a colour contrast would be good – again a bright cotton kikoi would do the trick. #6 Ooooh, nooooooooooooo!

That was fun, thanks Sallymandy!

Darla said...

I live in Berkeley, CA and every one of these outfits would blend right in.

I've probably been seen in something similar to #2 and 3 and would defnately do #6.

#1 - great but only for the young
#4 - no, afraid I'd be mistaken for a folk dancer
#5 - love the photo but in real life I'm afraid almost anyone would look like a bag lady.



Lianne said...

I love #5 -- maybe if her handbag was a shocking magenta?

The other outfits I'm just not sure about. Though the yellow rubber boots are a common sight in Vancouver (so are floral rubber boots).

Stephanie N. said...

I don't think any of these people would seem out-of-place in Philly. My favorite is actually #1... maybe because she reminds me of myself in high school. But I'd like her to trade the lacey shorts for something less light-colored, because I think they make the focus go to her crotch, instead of up to her face.

I imagine #2 and #3/4 to be poets or artists, maybe both, and perhaps in their spare time, they train gorillas to use sign language, or run their local inner-city community farm, or something equally awesome.

I'm with "see you there!" on #5... I think she looks chic in a seemingly-effortless way, but it's definitely headed toward bag-lady territory, especially when one day she has to buy groceries and carry them home. It just doesn't seem very practical.

I think #6 Ms. Overalls pulls this off only because she looks so confident. Otherwise, it's not very flattering, especially the saggy-crotch bit.

Tiffany said...

I think all of these could well be seen in Sydney. As for my personal opinion:

1. I love the look, but as others have said, definitely only for the young.
2. Love the attitude. Not sure many could get away with it.
3. Looks like an academic, which is pretty cool. I think the hair needs work. LOVE the bag.
4. Don't like this at all. Screams frumpy to me, but maybe because I don't like skirts like that myself.
5. I think she looks gorgeous. I couldn't do that much bagginess, but she looks fab.
6. Overalls are AWFUL. Such a striking looking woman, I would love to see her wearing something that sets it off. I don't care if it's ironic, it's hideous!! And the pairing with ballet flats (are they?) is even worse.

PS. That was fun, thanks!!!

Woman in a Window said...

You could wear any one of these outfits here and look crazy but that's just 'cause most people look crazy here.

I say you can pull anything off if you believe in it. It's the believing that's difficult.

sallymandy said...

Thanks, everybody! This was fun. I like hearing what you think.

Lorna: I'd wear the coat, too, if I could get the right underpinnings.

Clever Pup: Right. I've heard the idea about not mixing fabric weights before, and have been pondering this today. I've never thought much about it. Where does it leave you if you wear a leather jacket? Very interesting, thanks.

Duchesse: I agree with your choices. The yellow boots and overalls are my least favorite. Shlumpadinka. I like that word. Context is indeed everything.

Sher: That's awful about your experience at Glamour. You always look so tasteful and put together. You're right...just about anything goes these days.

Lakeviewer: Interesting. I guess I have tended to buy useful pieces as well, but do also have a creative streak that I want to integrate with being 46. I can hardly describe what people wear where I live, but several months ago I did a post on "Missoula Street Fashion" where I posted some pics of local people. You could find it in my tags list.

Ingrid: Of course! You put your finger on it.

Modest Mom: You said kind of the same thing as Ingrid. You're right, of course. They do all look confident, and what could be better?

Tessa: It was fun to hear your comments on each one. Thanks.

Thanks, Darla! Glad you came over for a visit. I liked your ideas.

Lianne: yes, a bright bag would really help that outfit, in my opinion.

Stephanie: How fun, the way you've created personalities for these ladies. I see what you mean! I personally like the eclectic-ness of #1 best, too, though it's not right for me today.

Tiffany: Thanks for the details. What's fun about this for me is seeing how many of us women, from all over the world, have rather similar views about what's okay and what's not. I mean, I don't think anyone commenting here liked the overalls. It makes me trust my own judgment to have such affirmation.

WinW: so wise and true: Believing in what you put together is the hardest part.

Tiffany said...

Just one more comment on the overalls. When I got pregnant with my oldest child, one of the first things my husband said to me was 'promise me you won't wear overalls' ...

Zuzana said...

My favorite is definitely nr 5. I love everything about the style, including the colors.
I am not so much for any of the others, but it is still interesting to see what people can actually put together.;))

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I would certainly wear #3. In fact, I probably have looked just like that on occasion. Minus the cigarette, and hopefully with better hair!

Saz said...

I love them all and wish I had the panache to mix it up like this...the ONLY one I dont like is the first looks to staged too styled....or else she is too young to carry suits the je ne sais quoi? of the other aged something women...great post!

angela recada said...

I really love the photos of the older woman, being on the gray-haired matures side of life, myself!
She looks so confident and comfortable. Since leaving the corporate look (suit, pantyhose, pumps and briefcase) behind me years ago, I've drifted more and more toward comfort over style.

I really like the sophisticated, artsy look. Unfortunately, here in conservative, suburban, Wisconsin, that's not a look you'll see very often.

Kat Mortensen said...

I like the first one best - for line and fit (the knitted shorts are a bit bizarre, but I think if I were in my 20s I'd be happy to wear this, but I like a pointier boot.)

The others look a bit frumpy to me - they don't accentuate any curves (except the long skirt - you've got to be tall to carry that off; at 5'4" I'd be like one of those phentex dolls that goes over a roll of tissue!)

I do like the Indian-style draped pieces, it just needs a belt to give it some shape.

Interesting posts. I watch a good deal of those fashion makeover shows - British and American. I love to play around with clothes.


Kat Mortensen said...

I forgot to mention those yellow rubber boots! Wow! They remind me of that kids' book, "I Wish That I Had Duck Feet"!

I'm a bit surprised at CP's reaction to the first one. Although I agree the hair is rather severe, I don't think the rest is too radical (I know HER town very well and I can't see it being a problem. Or put it another way - I can see a few bright young things not really caring what anyone would think.)