Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Roundup: Instagram and a Fashion Autobiography


Whew! This is a long one. And I'm not even sure if I can press "post" yet. It's personal. If you're reading this, you can imagine the balloon squeak noise that came out of my mouth when I finally hit the "Publish" button.

Tee: Madewell (here) // Skirt: thrifted J.Crew (similar from Paige here)  // Purse: Chloe  (similar here) // Shoes: No. 6  (similar here or here)


I'm obsessed with fashion. Have been since I was a wee one and first saw Miss Piggy on TV. As a child growing up in the oilfields of Montana she was my first exposure to glamor. Side story: one time on Project Runway the designers had to make outfits for Miss Piggy. Andrew scoffed at it as one of the dumbest ideas the producers had come up with. He was so surprised by my response, which was a impassioned, tearful speech about a puppet that changed a girl's life. We laugh now.

Scarf: thrifted (similar from Forever 21 here or Saint Laurent here)  // Top: H&M (cute alternative from Democracy here)  // Jeans: AG (here or here) // Shoes: Adam Tucker (here)

Fashion was seen as frivolous and irrelevant. I once overheard my mother on the phone telling someone that, "he's the type of guy that dates women that wears jeans with high heels". From her tone I gathered this was a very bad thing. We were surrounded by ranchers and oilfield workers with big families, most of them of Scandinavian descent. Things were either good and useful or they were a waste of time and resources. 

Sunglasses: vintage Liz Claiborne (similar from Elizabeth & James here or Perverse here) // Sweater: Aritzia (here) // Jeans: Citizens of Humanity (here) // Shoes: Chanel (check eBay

So my extreme interest continued, but now with a vague feeling of shame. We moved to the Seattle area which was a huge culture shock. I could see some of the glamor in real life! I had no idea before that actual everyday humans wore stuff you saw in magazines, I truly only thought it was for models (or a certain Muppet). I'd refashion castoffs to look more like what I'd see in the first few pages of the Spiegel catalog (the "designer" section, do you remember that too?) but I'd be too embarrassed to actually wear it in public.



Top: Madewell (here) // Jeans: Urban Outfitters (similar here from 7 For All Mankind)  // Shoes: Zara (similar from Tory Burch here or Bella Vita here

At school it was strictly jeans and t-shirts, at home in my room it'd be things I saw in Seventeen - socks with sandals, baby doll dresses, nubuck mary janes, bodysuits, and crochets vests (it was the 90's if you couldn't tell).  They were purchased with scraped together birthday money or by a reluctant parent when they'd have to admit that I had grown out of my current clothes. I'd copy makeup looks from magazines and then wash it off before my parents got home - any sign of overt vanity was still met with discomfort or scorn.


Top: thrifted (similar from TJ Maxx here or Express here)  // Belt: Free People (similar in pink here) // Jeans: AG  (here) // Shoes: eBay (here) // Purse: Madewell (very similar from UGG here)

By the time I hit high school we had moved again to a small town, this time in rural Washington.  There I found another girl obsessed with fashion and we became close friends. She had cable at her house and we'd watch "MTV Style". We would talk about top models and make predictions about upcoming seasons. We'd pore over Vogue, Sassy, and Mademoiselle. I would spend my time in art class making fashion illustrations. She showed me how to thrift. The stance on "silly" things like style and decor softened somewhat at home. It was okay for other people to pursue and indeed something to admire when done right. That didn't completely extend to me as I rarely got it "right", but it was a start.



Jacket: thrifted (ruffled leather in black here or here)  // Tee: Madewell (here) // Jeans: Citizens of Humanity (here)  // Shoes: Chanel 

My high school friend, and then soon the friends I made in college went on to pursue their passions in art, photography, interior design, and fashion. I felt too embarrassed to admit that I wanted to also be in those fields so I majored in Geology. And Pre-Med. And Psychology. And so on. Always trying to win the approval of some nebulous "they". After major hopping for so long my transcripts were a mess and combined with issues from undiagnosed ADHD I dropped out a semester before graduation.

Top: Madewell (here) // Skirt: thrifted // Shoes: Adam Tucker (here)


So I have a lot of regrets*. And it's probably why I can't just let The Suburb Experiment die. In this suburban mother of three's chest beats the heart of a fashionista. On social media the whole world becomes our runway if we want it. What might not be appreciated at school pickup or the grocery store might be by someone who lives on the other side of the planet. And this little club we're in, this tribe of women who see art in fashion, or just fashion for fashion's sake, or even just a way to find outfits to copy so that they might feel more confident, you gave me confidence to finally admit that I really fucking love fashion. Out loud. To other people.

Anyone else following fashion weeks? I'm always really excited for New York and Paris.

*sorta regrets. I mean, my life now is great. I wouldn't give that up but I still wish I could inject a little confidence into my past self. As long as it didn't mess up the good thing I got going now. LOL

No comments: