Hey guys and ghouls! It’s the Halloween season, a time to celebrate individuality, theatricality, and plain old absurdity. What better time to experiment with new styles, based on some of your favorite icons? Make every look a costume! Treat your wardrobe like it’s a Halloween pop-up store, not a uniform factory!
It has been four classes and one field trip into my weekly Sunday odyssey at FIT’s Precollege Program. It’s time for a new post that might send shivers up the skinny jeans of the fashion-conservative, while making us fashion deviants scrounge the shelves of the nearest thrift shop within seconds.
Who are you supposed to be? Are you the winner of the costume contest, or are you just another stray cat?
My Product Development class has gotten me thinking about how an individual’s fashion choices come together to create a character. At a certain point, our fashion becomes our costume; we are not referred to by name or number, but by “girl-with-heavy-contour-and-heels-she-can’t-walk-in.”
On my first day of class at FIT, the professor started the course by going around the room and having each student say where they shop. In the context of a Product Development class, this is only logical; our goal is to meet the wants and needs of the common buyer, and what better way to learn what average buyers seek than by studying the models of successful stores? From a business standpoint, we can extract the popular stores’ models by placing their products in terms of the Pyramid; no, not Abby Lee Miller’s pyramid- the Product Development Pyramid.
On a more personal level, this class discussion led me to consider what contributes to an individual’s style. I know what stores my peers shop at, but what brought them into that store? What has influenced their fashion sense? Who are their style icons? What did they first see that subconsciously caused them to believe that this store is the best reflection of them?
To best answer these questions, I will discuss the influences and influencers of the character whose style I know best: myself.
My style icons are mainly renowned for their bold and theatrical aesthetics. I’m very passionate about music, so most of them happen to be musicians (the context of which their dramatic aesthetics are fitting). I’ve listed a few below, along with some key examples of signature looks that should say it all:
(FKA Twigs, reposted from stealherstyle.net, glamourmagazine.co.uk, pinterest.com/passionn5050, and elleuk.com)
(Gwen Stefani, reposted from cosmopolitan.co.uk, © Mark Ferguson/Rex via dailymail.co.uk, 90sgwenstefani.tumblr.com, pinterest.com/jennyelina)
(Marina Diamandis, reposted from pinterest.com/janbergazzi, elle.com, pinterest.com/billboard, and fanpop.com)
(Nicole Richie, reposted from Nicole Richie for House of Harlow 1960 by Vijat Mohindra via rebloggy.com, peoplemagazine.co.za, pinterest.com/churachura, and celebitchy.com)
(Stevie Nicks, reposted from imgfave.com, pinterest.com/alanalda45, pinterest.com/mollymcisaac, and pinterest.com/9gypsy)
(St. Vincent, reposted from tumblr.com, © Ben Hassett for Harper’s Bazaar, pinterest.com/twotickets, and vanityfair.com)
Aside from public figures, I also draw a lot of the inspiration for my aesthetic from other media, like movies and TV shows. Sound similar to choosing a Halloween costume? For example, I’m greatly influenced by the aesthetic of 90s cult films like Clueless (1995) and Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (1997), as well as Tim Burton movies like Coraline (2009) and Edward Scissorhands (1990). I love wearing hyper-feminine 90s-style crushed velvet and chokers whenever possible, and I love to style it in as whimsical a tone as possible. The theatricality! I also really love the look and feel of old school low budget films, like the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). It doesn’t get spookier than that! Various television characters, for example Fran Fine from The Nanny and Samantha from Sex and the City, as well as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (QUEEN of wearing the same outfit for thirty years), have also contributed to my look. It sounds funny, but I also find unlikely inspiration from nonhuman characters like Betty Boop, Jessica Rabbit, and Miss Piggy. The more imaginary, the better! What can I say? It’s a concept!
(Miss Piggy, reposted from femalefirst.co.uk)
(Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, reposted from sugarrockcatwalk.com)
(Texas Chainsaw Massacre, reposted from evilontwolegs.com)
(Fran Fine from The Nanny, reposted from racked.com)
(Samantha Jones from Sex and the City, reposted from buzzfeed.com)
To best express the influence of such nouns (people, places, things) on my vibe and aesthetic, I shop mainly at local and online boutiques (mainly for statement pieces, which would fall under the top “fashion” part of the pyramid).
These stores include:
~Buffalo Exchange (locations all over the U.S., including five in NY, one being a block away from FIT in Chelsea at 114 W 26th St)
~Dolls Kill (dollskill.com)
~Fashion Nova (fashionnova.com)
~Free People (freepeople.com, locations all over the U.S., Canada, and U.K.)
~House of Harlow 1960 (houseofharlow1960.com)
~Mystique Boutiqe NYC (mystiqueboutiquenyc.com, locations in Manhattan and Long Island)
~Nasty Gal (nastygal.com)
~Ruby and Jenna (rubyandjenna.com, locations in NY and NJ)
~So Aesthetic Shop (soaestheticshop.com) ~ use the promo code “Harmony” for 10% off
~Twenty5A (twenty5a.com, located on Long Island)
Where will you buy your daily costumes? Will you mix-and-match and DIY, or will you choose a prepackaged number off the wall? What character will you be? Will you masquerade as the most convenient persona, or will you take the time to develop the best product, a conglomerate of all your favorite icons and influences- you? Creep in the comment section below and tell your tale!
Join me next week as we continue to “Liv” On The Edge of true enterprising artistry, brought to you by FIT’s Precollege Program!