16 November 2012

Aspirational Dressing Dreams


This is a pretty typical dream outfit of mine at the moment. I can't get that stupid jacket out of my head, and I have been obsessed with eyes since forever (Yayoi understands) and like to have an eye on me at all times so I love this bracelet. And I want a classic white shirt I can wear with everything forever. This is just the right amount of weird, you know? It could be a really boring run of the mill outfit, but there is just something a little wrong with all of it. The fuzzy textured skirt, the too shiny jacket, and black lipstick.... space age office goth.

 I think about what style is every day, and how I would define my own when asked. I'm not very good at it; I'm not really good at sticking to one look when it comes to clothes. I have two distinct halves when it comes to what I want. If I had my way, I'd wear CDG for the rest of my life exclusively, and that would lend itself to a very dark closet probably. But since I can't afford that on a regular basis (DON'T I WISH I COULD) I usually buy bright and weird pieces at the thrift store that I know nobody else can pull of. I don't have many 'classic' pieces, like, I don't have a tan trench coat (ah, but I do have a purple, a pumpkin, and a leather one!), I don't have the Perfect White Button Up, nor do I  own  the perfect pair of cigarette trousers. I do have lots of blazers (but not a plain black one) and black oxfords... with a knuckle ring for heels. You see what I mean? I don't do simple, or classic. It's not in me. I wish I could, it's just so hard to find those perfect classics at an affordable price point. Those things are my Wistful Wardrobe Dreams.

From this post. This is as close as I'll get to 'classic'. CDG/TAOXCDG/ZANABAYNE/VINTAGE.

When it comes to dream wardrobes though, that's kind of another matter. I don't care about classic in the long run, like, it's just not interesting to me. I only want clothes that makes my eyes widen and jaw drop. I've been slowly accumulating my 'dream wardrobe' at the same time that I rapidly accumulate a really bizarre eccentric All Statement Pieces wardrobe, and seeing them side by side in my closet is really funny to me; one side is pretty much all black or plaid (I'm a lesbian cliche, I fucking love plaid) and the other side is a rainbow of colors. So different! How do you approach your closet and wardrobe choices? How do you decide what to buy, whether it's a splurge or a last minute purchase? What constitutes an investment piece for you? What are your outfit goals? Do you think you'll get rid of most of your closet when you're older? Will you pass down stuff from it to your children? Will you donate it to a museum if you are rich and have lots of cool stuff like Isabella Blow? (if you are this, be my friend, I wanna see your closet and 'borrow things'.)

I think about this stuff all the time. Aspirational dressing keeps me happy. I want to live to be really old and have a closet that has lived with me and given me so much joy. I call my designer pieces my Survival Items, because I work really hard to save up for them and spend hours and days and weeks looking for the perfect item that would go well with my small collection. It has to be from a collection that means something, it has to go well with my other Survival Pieces, it has to be something I can look forward to cherishing. I mean, the things my Survival pieces have gotten me through... I put them on and I feel so much more at home in my own skin. It's a point of pride that I worked for months or whatever to buy something that means so much to me that I can bring with me everywhere, a tangible piece of love.

From this post. One of my favorites! My first CDG dress, in an homage to my dream Nozomi Ishiguru dress. 

It keeps me going, to have goals when it comes to buying pieces that I will be able to tell stories about in the future to whoever will care to listen. "I bought this dress when I was 17 with my best friend, I spent 6 months of allowance and weeks of wages to buy it and my bank thought someone stole my card because I had never spent so much, and I lived on ramen weeks afterwards, and I don't regret a thing." or, "When I got rejected from my dream school, I wore this jacket for 2 weeks straight and had crying marathons in the local movie theater while I watched Orson Welles movies and it made me feel so much better to have such a pretty sleeve to cry on." These little histories matter to me, I know they're probably boring to other people but I care about my clothes so much and I want other people to care too. I just find clothes really romantic in general. So I guess when I look at my closet, even though it's discombobulated in some ways - my dream wardrobe on one side, dark and goth and strangely, lovingly mutated, and my 'real life' wardrobe on the others (sequinned and patterned and a rainbow of color), it's all so romantic to me because it's all part of who I am, and who I want to be. All of my wardrobe identities are real and totally me, even if they're really different from one another. It's fun to see the $5 checkered blazer I bought without thinking and after a shitty day, right next to the $500 one I spent months saving up for and cried when I finally bought it. It makes me happy to remember the stories they tell, and how much I love them both.

TLDR; I really love clothing.


Stephanie said...

You're amazing! I agree with everything you had to say in this post. I feel the same way. It's kinda a battle between one's self and society. I look at girls at school and think to myself 'how can they dress so simply?' while I sit in the library with some strange outfit I've happened to put together. But it's me! That's who I am. We are what we wear. Clothes are beautifully romantic because they tell the world who we are. Thank you, Arabelle!

snatchdracula said...

Another great post! Been thinking about this a lot myself. Finally have a complete wardrobe so I have a lot of interesting choices of what I can buy now. Also having constraints always makes you more creative and better. I can basically spend whatever I want (within reason) on clothes now and it just leads to analysis paralysis.

Jenny said...

this might be my first comment on a blog ever, or near enough to, but when I read this I just couldn't not. the way you think about clothes is so interesting to me. i love how the romanticism of clothing and the stories each piece tells is what unifies your eclectic wardrobes and i wonder if the idea of a story can itself be a style? anyway i think this has resolved something i've been mulling over, when the things i feel myself drawn to don't explicitly chime with a visible queerness that i am also attracted to/sometimes need, and whether they are in fact as irreconcilable as they feel. this post makes me think not. so, thank you! i really loved reading it.

Ana said...

My clothes don't have stories - I am the story, they are my packaging.

(They have stories like 'this is the corset I went to see each time I was visiting my grandma, and my mother bought it for me when we cam to give our honours (?) for 40 days after my grandma's funeral, and I wore it to my best friend's wedding and it's, as far as I remember, the only pale pink item of clothing I purchased in 20 years', but... I don't tell 'em.)

I hope to pass them on to my children and grandchildren (and gran-grandchildren) some day.

I'd love to have more statement pieces, but I'm a practical dresser - I might have some amazing things in my wardrobe, but when it comes time to dress myself in the morning, it's always jeans and a (tee) shirt. That's why I usually stop myself from purchasing statements: I know they'd get little wear.

one young thing said...

Amazing writing, as always! I want to write a whole blog entry in response to this and link back up to your blog. Thanks for the thoughts!

Isabel said...

Clothes are your wrapping paper to the outside world: you might as well make them pretty!!

That said, I haven't been great at dressing well lately, but I believe wholeheartedly that while aspirational dressing may not save the world, it can save ourselves, one CDG sleeve at a time.

Delia Salsabila said...

love the last photo xxxx


leilani.e said...

Arabelle, I loved this! You think about clothes (and articulate that thinking) in a way I admire and have recently come into in my own way - it's a comforting and challenging process both. Figuring out what my style really is and watching it evolve has been fascinating. I'm really lucky in that my first 'big' job is at a small digital agency and the guys all wear plaid if we don't have client meetings (and I'm currently the only woman, too, so there's no template), so I have a lot of freedom and a little more funds right now to just do me, and figure that out. It makes me happy.

marinainthecity said...

I've been reading your blog for years now and have never commented, but this post has gotten me thinking and I have to say thank you for that. I really connect with this approach to clothing, but I've never seen anyone articulate it like this before. Thank you for such a thought-provoking post.

hitchhiked said...

I like that your investment in clothes isn't just about how long they will last but also about what kind of memories you're going to make wearing them. That's a beautiful way of looking at clothes.

Sometimes I imagine glamorous old ladies whose closets are filled with incredible pieces accumulated over the years, clothes that were chosen with deliberation and worn with love and excitement and made sacred by the amount of care spent on them. THAT'S probably my number one wardrobe goal. Not necessarily that every garment I own be finely made or beautiful, but that they all contain that love and excitement and care.

Oh, and your trench coat collection sounds perfect already. The other day I saw a dark green leather trench coat at a thrift store. I came close to bursting into song.

im said...

I've kind of been working on acquiring the perfect wardrobe. As a senior in high school with no job, I have never spent very much money on any one piece of clothing. I don't thrift to be hipster, I thrift because I am cheap and hate the crap at the mall. But as I grow older (relatively older, obviously...) I have suddenly felt the need to buy much less, but high quality things that cost much more. It's been kind of strange, to go from impulsively buying 50 cent t shirts to passing them by for that $50 dress or pants or whatever. Anyways, I feel that maybe this has to do with my impending foray into the “real world” (not that college is really the real world), but I’m not sure.
I completely feel with you on the whole “everything in my closet has a story” thing. I am at my grandmother’s house for the week and only bought a few things, but I could tell you in detail the history of every piece of clothing I brought. The cheesy Hawaiian print miniskirt I wore to visit stanford with my friends (they want to go there, I just went along for the ride and got to meet an acrobat from Oregon who is living in a commune this summer), the sheer ocean-print shirt I wore the first day of music camp because I wanted to impress people, and I haven’t worn it since but it’s been hanging in my window because it brought me so much luck that week, the peach tie dye shirt I made at my friend’s 15th birthday party that always reminds me of those weird hazy summer days where the sun is always too bright but you still can’t see anything. The navy wrap dress I wore for 8th grade graduation that miraculously still fits me. I wore it because I told myself I wanted to look grown-up when really I would have rather been wearing a micro mini and scandalously tall heels like everyone else. The grey cashmere sweater I got for $3 that I wore the first day of school this year and to my friends party. I could go on but you get it.
Basically I just wanted to thank you (I’m not sure exactly that that is the right sentiment) for having this blog I have really enjoyed it the past few years that I have been reading it and I just really like it and in a completely cheesy way you have really inspired me to really be myself and wear exactly what I want to wear even if people whisper about me as I walk down the hallways.
this is way too long and emotional but i don't care it had to be said

KK+ said...

I love the eye bracelet, i have several eye bracelets and after watching the stylelikeu video it just reminded me of this beautifull victorian manga cover http://static.minitokyo.net/downloads/35/36/474335.jpg

KK+ said...

I love the eye bracelet, i have several eye bracelets and after watching the stylelikeu video it just reminded me of this beautifull victorian manga cover http://static.minitokyo.net/downloads/35/36/474335.jpg

Chao Wang said...

zara usa
zara clothing
zara usa online
zara usa