How to wear clothes articles - The Guardian - Page 5 - the Fashion Spot
 
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22-10-2005
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helena, thank you! I like this thread, very interesting to me!!!

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22-10-2005
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She really is always dead on... and so funny! Thanks Helena

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09-11-2005
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How to wear clothes

Jess Cartner-Morley
Saturday November 5, 2005
The Guardian


I don't really like shopping for clothes. Blasphemous, I know, but true. Give me a precious free and unencumbered hour, and I'd much rather slope off to a cafe to read a book, eat cake and people-watch. This is mainly because I am lazy, greedy and nosy; but also because I have a tendency to ruin shopping outings either by too much preplanning, or too little.
A downside of spending a ridiculous amount of time looking at, thinking over and writing about clothes is that by the time I set out to buy, I have an unhealthily precise idea of what I want. So I turn up my nose at that near-perfect blouse because the sleeves are bracelet- rather than elbow-length. This is as much a recipe for disappointment as attending your local pub singles night armed with a full-length photo of Orlando Bloom and scanning the room for an exact match. The moral, kids, is that if you're going to take a look at what's out there, you've got to try and keep an open mind. This is not a treasure hunt - or not, at least, one where you know in advance what the treasure is.
But to complicate matters, this is far from the only way in which you can mess up a shopping trip before you even leave the house. Just as common is the mistake of deciding that you really cannot be seen a moment longer in polite company without, say, a pair of slouchy leather boots to wear with jeans, or a Mouret-ish belted skirt suit. This usually ends, a couple of frenzied hours later, with the purchase of a pair of slouchy boots that are an inch higher than you can usually walk in, or a belted skirt suit in a colour that doesn't suit you, bought out of the misguided notion that this is a fashion Must Have and questions of fit and flattery don't matter. They always do. Go have a cake and think about it.

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09-11-2005
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How to wear clothes

Jess Cartner-Morley
Saturday October 29, 2005
The Guardian


Tartiness in fashion is a political issue: the demarcation between tarty and demure veers queasily close to questions of chav and class. Take, say, knee-high, high-heeled boots worn with bare legs and a skirt short enough to expose the knees, a look I have always hated because it seems redolent of binge-drinking alcopops and shrieking in public.
In Paris, a young woman walked into a cafe where I was sitting. She was wearing what looked like riding boots with a side buckle and a chunky leather heel; her legs were bare, and her charcoal wool shift dress ended several inches above the knee. She didn't look tarty at all, partly because the rather prim, boxy dress (think early Jackie Kennedy) offset the legs; but also, possibly, as a result of unconscious snobbery, the equestrian air of her (probably Hermès) boots combined with thoroughbred legs.
The point is, tartiness cannot be measured in inches of flesh, heel height or dabs of Obsession: subtle calibrations of dress can make the difference between sluttish and beguiling. Roland Mouret's waspishly tailored fine wool dresses are, frankly, quite filthy-minded in their lascivious presentation of the female form, yet the fabric and tailoring lend the wearer an air of aloof self-possession, more ice queen than bunny girl. Even exposed cleavage, which you'd be forgiven for thinking needed no explanation and, indeed, drowned out all sartorial disclaimers, becomes vastly more or less tarty, depending on how it is framed. Leopard-print, with its busty barmaid connotations (snobbery again?), ratchets up the signals sent out; while the same amount of cleavage framed by a baby pink V-neck rather than animal print is more yummy mummy than sexual predator. Even basic instincts are more complicated than you might think.

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09-11-2005
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#63 is a funny read...
thx helena...

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10-11-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helena
This is as much a recipe for disappointment as attending your local pub singles night armed with a full-length photo of Orlando Bloom and scanning the room for an exact match.

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16-11-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helena
The point is, tartiness cannot be measured in inches of flesh
very true.

for some reason, the skinnier you are, the more flesh you can flash without looking tarty

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20-11-2005
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How to wear clothes

Jess Cartner-Morley
Saturday November 19, 2005
The Guardian


In theory, I love lace. I am always drawn to it on the hanger, but nine times out of 10, it stays on the changing room reject rail. The two problems, I find, are these: first, lacy is too obviously racy. "Wa-hey!" it seems to announce to the world. "I'm looking sexy tonight!" Which, to my mind, is a styling concept that works beautifully for Girls Aloud videos but rarely in real life, unless you are in the market for a sexually charged outfit to attract the hard-of-thinking among the opposite sex. Second, the sheer factor is tricky. When worn over bare skin, black lace is robbed of the sophistication it promises; suddenly, you can see why novelty popsters Black Lace were so aptly named. When worn over pale flesh, it looks oddly gothic; even over darker skintones, it often seems too reminiscent of lingerie catalogues, rather than the couture salons you were thinking of.

So, how to wear lace. Method one: look for lace with a slightly lighter background, the colour of Barely Black hosiery, looks good. Method two: try lace that isn't black (vampy widow), red (vampy lap-dancer) or white (vampy tablecloth). Coffee and navy are good colours. Method three: use layers to create texture. At Dolce & Gabbana, the lace is often elaborate, embroidered and doublelayered, and looks as superior to high-street lace as sweeping plush drapes do to a net curtain.

Method four (also a D&G trick) is to use lace only sparingly. As a trim, it is evocative without being embarrassing. It works especially well where you can take advantage of the lingerie connotations: at the decolletage, to evoke a lace bra, or at the hem of a skirt, to hint at a lace-trimmed petticoat. In other words: wrap a cardigan over that lace dress, pin a brooch at your cleavage, and it might just work.

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20-11-2005
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How to wear clothes

Jess Cartner-Morley
Saturday November 12, 2005
The Guardian


"Wardrobe is entertainment in a marriage," said the novelist and fashion writer Plum Sykes in a recent interview, describing the outfits she was planning to pack for her honeymoon. It was a comment that made quite an impact on me, not least because I read it while standing at the cooker stirring risotto in my pyjamas; half an hour before, I had changed out of my "proper" outfit (pencil skirt, blouse, belt, high-heeled boots) for supper with my husband.

Perhaps, I thought, I've got this wardrobe thing the wrong way round. But then, Hitchcock chic is surely not suited to sitting at kitchen tables - not only is it not comfortable, but there's something unnecessarily bossy about marching around your own house in pencil skirt and boots. I'd feel like a boy playing soldiers; or a grown woman playing 1980s Donna Karan Manhattan Fantasy Working Woman. On the other hand, I mused, that Plum, she's got a point. I agree with the philosophy of wardrobe as entertainment, so why not entertain the troops at home?


In need of guidance, I emailed Plum herself, who ticked me off for the pyjamas. "Not a good idea," she said, "unless they're from Sabbia Rosa [the finest silk lingerie store in Paris]." They're not. However, she continued, she was not advocating the necessity of answering the door in a ballgown every night; only that it was worth remembering that dressing up can have as much of an uplifting effect on your partner's mood as it can on your own. (Nothing sexist about it: this applies to husbands and wives.) Having mulled this over, I have a plan. You know those catalogues of expensive, mocha-coloured cashmere and silk lounging outfits, which I have always failed to see the point of? Well, pass the phone. It's not Sabbia Rosa, but it'll do.

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20-11-2005
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I agree a bit on the lace thing. I don't think it's obviously racy, but that might be because I only have cream, grey, light rose and other off-white pieces that are more cute or library chic than lap-dance slutty.

I'm not sure if red lace would suit my style. maybe over something else, but not on bare skin

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21-11-2005
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Too true about the "home clothing"......but marching around the house in outdoor shoes makes so much NOISE when you have bare wooden floors,and once the shoes are off the outfit loses its punch to me .So it's the trackie bottoms and sweat shirts at home,alas... .

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23-11-2005
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^ Agreed. Besides, there's a lot to be said for "home clothing," particularly when you're doing something which involves a mess, like, say, cooking (something with which I'd venture to guess Ms. Sykes is little acquainted). In fact, I experienced said benefits of schlumpy dressing not half and hour ago, when the gas stove set the front of my shirt on fire. That was disturbing enough to begin with, but just imagine how I'd feel if I'd been wearing something I actually gave a damn about.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by droogist
^ Agreed. Besides, there's a lot to be said for "home clothing," particularly when you're doing something which involves a mess, like, say, cooking (something with which I'd venture to guess Ms. Sykes is little acquainted). In fact, I experienced said benefits of schlumpy dressing not half and hour ago, when the gas stove set the front of my shirt on fire. That was disturbing enough to begin with, but just imagine how I'd feel if I'd been wearing something I actually gave a damn about.
It pains me to think that you could've been wearing Chalayan.

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23-11-2005
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^ My thoughts exactly...scary, scary stuff.

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27-11-2005
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How to wear clothes

Jess Cartner-Morley
Saturday November 26, 2005
The Guardian


Most of us like to think we know what looks good on us. Frankly, having spent more time than is justifiable in changing rooms over the past two decades, the thought that I am not the world expert on my specialist subject - namely, Clothes And Me, with special attention to the difficulties of looking chic when one has a) aspirations beyond one's financial station and b) hair that goes flat - is almost too demoralising to contemplate. And yet I have reason to be concerned.

Recently, I was wearing a green jumper I don't particularly like, but which had ended up on me because it was one of the first cold days and I hadn't got round to hauling out my box of winter knitwear from under the bed. To my bemusement, four people complimented me on the jumper that day. None of them, as far as I could work out, had any ulterior motive, so this was not the "Have you lost weight? Can I borrow £50?" school of flattery. Even taking into account the irritating modern Americanism of compliment-as-automatic-social-nicety - in the fashion industry it has become de rigueur to begin every face-to-face conversation with a little one-two of "I love your sweater!" "Thanks, I love your earrings!" - this was an odd development. And it made me realise that, by contrast, the previous day's outfit - a purchase with which I was terrifically pleased - had elicited no comment whatsoever. I thought I had it going on, wardrobe-wise, on Thursday; the world, apparently, preferred Friday. But then, you can't pander to the masses, can you, because that way lies itchy green jumpers. Frankly, it's a slippery slope to capital punishment, if you follow me. Next time you tell yourself haughtily that you dress only to please yourself, you may be being more truthful than you realise.

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