Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Finna get my chappeau.
I work with a woman who is like my drunk Chicago mom. She's told me before that she's my Chicago mom, and while she sort of is, she absolutely is not. She is like my older drunk Chicago friend. You can never have too many!!! Maybe you're already wondering where the effzo I'm heading with these rather vague statements. Patience precious, I'll elaborate. My drunk Chicago mom is cleaning out her house, and she is unloading her collection of awesome hats from the 40s, 50s, and 60s on me. Every day when I come in to work, there's a new one for me. It's like Christmas. She also praises every crazy outfit I wear and tells me we were separated at birth. These are lifestyle affirming compliments, and I appreciate every last one of them.
The more hats I get, the more excited I am to wear them, and then I start thinking about all the opportunities women have to express themselves through their clothing. Ladies be shuffling down the street looking a mess with their Crocs and pajama jeans on, and wonder why they can feel my side eye from miles away??? It makes me wish that my friend Kevin and I would have really gone 100% on our show entitled, "WHAT ARE YOU WEARING?!?" Only I would have added "THEFUCK!?" I'm not saying that everyone has to walk out the door looking like Betty Draper...oh wait, that's exactly what I'm saying. Every day and every where you go is an opportunity for an outfit. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a ballerina because I was obsessed with the Nutcracker and the outfits were AWWWWEEEESSSSSOOOOOMMMMEEEEEE and not because I gave a shit about having some greasy queen in spandex flip me around the stage.
Ladies and gents have been wearing and making hats as fashion and function for centuries, and while I understand that I'm not going to persuade any women to look like they give a shred of a shit about their appearance through the medium of le BLOG, I like to think that I maybe I can. THROUGH DOING!
I've been in love with the work of Philip Treacy since I learned who Isabella Blow was. He custom designed all of her hats and if no one cared who she was as a person or what she did, we all cared and knew her for her outrageous style, and her ability to literally wear anything and still make it look like it was meant to be worn exactly like she did.
What made her powerful was that she wasn't afraid to make fashion choices that may have felt ridiculous or ugly to everyone else, and what made her vulnerable was that she wanted so desperately to fit in, that she would do anything for attention. We can talk all about her tragic life and end of said life when we're playing Mall Madness in my room later. In the meantime, let's talk about this: I believe the purpose of fashion is to scare the shit out of every person you pass on the street, but also, to stir up a maestrom of jealously because secretly, when they're at home looking through their closets of polos and Tori Burch flip flops, they wish they had something, anything, that would make people look at them the way they just looked at you.
My collection of ridiculous hats pales in comparison to Ms. Blow's, however, now that it is growing ever so rapidly, I feel the overwhelming need to kick things up a notch. BAM! I now belong to the school of silly hats. We've all accepted that our lives are far less formal day to day than they were fourty years ago, but that doesn't mean that we have to call that whole idea a bitch and keep dressing like slobbering idiots. The art of dressing doesn't have to sound so formal and academic if you just take a look at what you're putting on, and then think about what it looks like when you walk down the street, into your job, to a party, to the bar, to buy drugs from your dealer, the list could go on FORRRRRRREEEEEEVVVEEERRRRRRRR, but you get the jist. People are looking at you because you look like the bum on the corner of Rush and Walton who is wearing fifteen pairs of sweatpants rolled up to his balls. No. He. Didn't. Ohyeshedid.
I direct my criticisms towards men yes, but I will come down hard on women also. We've come a long way baby(Thanks Virginia Slims), and I know that we can all wear pants and work corporate jobs, and fly our asses around the cuntry in our G5s, but let's get serious. You're still a woman. Your feminine charm should be exploited at all costs!!! No one's going to take you more seriously because you wear a power suit to work(unless it looks like this) Don't take it over the edge and dress like the hot ho on the stroll either. Together we can find a happy medium where we can look feminine, have the best job, make more money than our male counterparts, and not look like we're giving $5 blowjobs in the breakroom(I mean, if that's part of your five year plan on your way to the top, then by all means, get.it).
After much rambling(I've had a distracting weekend) and gnashing of teeth, my point to all of this is that you shouldn't be afraid to dress up in public. Dress yourself like it is a lost artform, and you're one of the pioneers that has been given the task to bring back the excitement and drama that can come with. You shouldn't be afraid to dress well or even a little eccentrically because at the end of the day, you are not afraid, and everyone else is trapped in the closet. If you live in an accessories closet like I do, just roll around on the floor until something sticks, and then leave the house! Living in an ethnic neighborhood also helps. People are not afraid to roll their windows down and yell, "WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT??!?!?!?!?!" I only speak from personal experience.
It'll be funnier next time I promise.
p.s. Here's a Philip Treacy retrospective
p.p.s. Here's a coupla bitches I'd like to know/dress like