Thursday, September 04, 2014

The Perfect Outfit: It's Complicated.

I have two very creative, very anti-social hobbies in this world. The first is obvious; I am a total word-nerd. I love to write. Whether it's pen-to-paper, or typing furiously on my seven-year-old laptop, there is scarcely a time where I am not, somewhere in the back of my mind, piecing words together. The second may not be so obvious, but if you have read this blog for any length of time you may be aware: I looooove makin' outfits.

This love of outfits may stem from a weird place. I have quite a bit of social anxiety that seems to fade, almost completely, if I know that my ensemble-game is tight. I also get tired of my jeans, crew-necks, and sneakers wardrobe that I wear day-in-day-out at work. I have three closets and two sets of drawers just brimming with garments begging to be thrown together in wonderful ways. 'Thrown' is maybe not the right word, however, because it actually takes a lot of time, effort, and money. Here are my top tips for getting dressed for a night out on the town:

*Know your eras. Understand that a good outfit often "borrows" ideas from decades past. Here's a quick guide- there are fun looks to copy from the 60's (mod dresses are a go-to for every dressy event), the 70's are too crunchy to ever look fresh, the 80's is gaudy but fantastic (particularly the scarves and jewelry), the 90's had a ton of great looks, and the 2000's is probably the darkest era for fashion. Leave the 2000's alone.
Here's the thing, though, guys. There is a fine line between having a 90's flair to your outfit, and showing up to a non-costume party in straight costume. Recently, I have been enjoying donning a Chola/90's Aaliyah uniform(minus the brows and heavy lip-liner, they're actually the exact same look), but it's a balancing act. Add modern pieces, like slim plants instead of baggy, so that you don't end up looking like you're an extra in the No Scrubs video.
On the flip-side, if you are going to a theme-party, do it up. A couple of years ago, my significant other at the time and I were invited to a 90's theme birthday bash. I went out and bought the perfect 90's outfit, from a splatter-paint mini skirt straight out of Saved By The Bell, to a pair of flawless Betsy Johnson heels I found on consignment. After I got ready, my boyfriend (again, at the time), rolled his eyes at me and told me that I was going to look like a total idiot for dressing up. Hipsters are weird about not only clothes, but also parties. Sure enough, we get to the party, and nobody else had donned a 90's uniform. I think I realized, that night, that the relationship was not sustainable. A few weeks ago, my fabulous new boyfriend mentioned that we were invited to a 90's-themed party. He then produced, from his dresser, a carefully crafted costume. When I mentioned that others may not dress up for the same event, he rolled his eyes and told me that we would look like total idiots if we didn't dress up. So, out came the perfect Blossom-style floral heels, the big hoop earrings, and a heavy coating of iridescent lip gloss. It was perfect, and one of the best evenings I've ever had out in this city.
Abbreviated lesson: be mindful of going overboard on period-pieces on regular nights out, and don't date anyone that thinks that 90's party is a 90's party without costumes, because it's not.

*Scarves and jewelry and hats can seem like they take too much effort to chunk into an already-existent outfit. Here's a good rule: if the outfit can stand on it's own, it's cool to drop all accessories, but it's also a great plan to build outfits around accessories. This rings particularly true when it comes to shoes. Sometimes I think that I could wear the filthiest rags in the world, so long as my shoe-game is on-point. Take for example, one of my favorite looks of the entire summer was a basic baseball jacket (satin, usually about five sizes too big), a ratty white tank-top, cut-offs, and often a backwards cap of some sort. This sounds basic. Super fucking basic. However, add on a pair of sky-high cage heels to the look, and you're really onto something. Accessories can be a real bitch, and also a total outfit-saver.

*It can look super high-fashion and chic, and believe me, I adore a fresh pair of kicks, but do not wear sneakers to the club unless you are over 5'10 and a legit model, or risk delving into stump-territory.

*Gold hoops go with everything. Gold chains go with most. Hot tip: if you are wearing something super low-cut, a heavy opera or rope-length chain can help conceal some of the cleave. Spend a little cash on your gold, or you will get weird green marks on your skin. If you have a boyfriend, make sure he lets you wear his chains. It's one of the few accessories you can share (also, ball caps). I have a complicated relationship with silver, but mixing metals can look super fresh on anyone.

*When it comes to painting your face, always, but you have to choose between lips or eyes. Never both. If you are dead-tired, wear a bright lip and nobody will be able to focus on the luggage under your eyes. Also, trust me from experience: don't get stoned when wearing navy eye-makeup, because no amount of Visine is going to be able to conceal your baked gaze. It's something to do with the color wheel. I think I once did some research on this while under the influence, but I'll spare you the details.

*The most under-rated, and most conversation-inducing, accessories are: watches, scarves (I found a book from the 80's on scarf-tying, and it has been a real game-changer), and minor injuries.

*Summer is the best time for fashion, because you don't ever have to worry about bundling up. However, I love a challenge, and when fall comes, I line up all of my jackets and try to figure out how to look fresh whilst not freezing to death. A recent purchase of a gaudy-ass vintage Cam'Ron-style faux-fur coat is really helping me in this matter.

*Make sure the shoes you wear aren't going to have you hobbling around at the end of the night. Nobody can see your outfit if you're sitting down the whole time because your feet are too sore, and being one of those bitches that removes their shoes and walks around barefoot is not an option. Here's another great tip: buy any heels over 3" in a half-size too big, and supplement them with gel insoles.

*Don't be a total hoarder of clothing, but also be careful what you get rid of. "Donator's regret" is one of the worst feelings on the planet.

*Be yourself, man. Don't always look around at others for inspiration. Have fun with your clothes. Pave your own path, and don't forget the best outfit game-changer of all: a cocky-ass attitude.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have many, many outfits to procure for the upcoming fall season. Wish me luck.


~sarah p.

p.s. On a serious note, thanks to Joan Rivers for all of the comedy, and fashion, inspo over the years. I wouldn't be half as bitchy, or as bold, without it.


Anonymous said...

Donator's regret...

Clearly, you understand that the struggle IS painfully real.

~sarah p. said...

Anyone who has accidentally thrown a Dior knit top into a donation bin would agree. That shit is AWFUL, dude.