As one of the world’s foremost fashion philosopher-sociologist-historian-genius, I thought I’d breakdown some of the most famous slices of wisdom from the leaders of the fashion world. (Ed note: I haven’t heard back from the board of directors of fashion geniuses of the world about my self-proclaimed title, but I’m sure they’re fine with it).
“Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.”
— Coco Chanel
Now I’m not one to restrict anyone’s accessory affinity, I myself have been collecting rings from my travels and my fingers have filled up very quickly. However, I think of this more as look at yourself before you leave and remove anything that could interfere with your activities for the day. The fashion industry is all about getting work done and getting it done quickly. Personally, I have given up on bracelets (especially bangles) because all you hear all day is loud clacking as they bang against your desk when you type. Extremely infuriating. If the hat won’t stay on your head when it’s windy – ditch it. Basically, don’t wear anything that is going to require more time to deal with than it takes to put it on in the morning.
“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”
Completely untrue. Have you never been to Shake Shack? Or eaten a burrito before? I mean hello, CHOCOLATE. End of story.
“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.”
I mean we are in the business of fashion people, this shouldn’t really be much of a shocker. It is important in any aspect of life to convince people you are whatever they need. As much as we try not to judge a book solely by it’s cover, that cover is the first message, and sometimes the only message, seen. Don’t waste an opportunity, be convincing.
“Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life.”
Let’s face it, fashion is a luxury. All that is necessary is something to keep you warm when it snows and protect you from the sun when it’s hot. Anything you want for the sake of having it is a luxury. It has been said that Vogue magazine is meant to create aspirational dreams, not be a catalog for the everyday woman, and that is what fashion is – an aspirational, dream-like distraction. Fashion is supposed to be fun because it’s fun to pick what you wear and how people will see you today! Did people wearing the Mao suit look like they were having fun? Embrace the frivolity of fashion.
“Fashion is what you’re offered four times a year by designers. And style is what you choose.”
Fashion designers do not determine style, they influence it. Style can only be created by the individual, that is what makes it so exciting to see someone with truly great style. If one designer determined style all you would have to do is dress head to toe in that label, but you don’t see anyone on the best dressed lists wearing head to toe Michael Kors or even Saint Laurent. Not to get to in depth with the trickle-up vs. trickle-down theories, but it is obvious in our current fashion climate that designers are taking much of their inspiration from the streets and the boundaries of who is who is influencing whom are blurred. Fashion trends fade, but style is eternal, right Yves?
“A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika. We all need a splash of bad taste—it’s hearty, it’s healthy, it’s physical. I think we could use more of it. No taste is what I’m against.”
With all the stuff available in fashion now, it is easy for clothing to start looking homogenous. Staying relevant in fashion is all about being new and different (even though we all know fashion runs on an ever quickening pendulum of trends that is catching up to us). I love people who can dress totally kooky and be completely confident. They make my life more interesting just by existing. Vreeland captured this spirit perfectly in her famed “Why Don’t You” column for Harper’s Bazaar. The worst thing you could be in fashion is boring.
(and lastly, my personal favorite:)
“People will stare. Make it worth their while.”