How to wear clothes articles - The Guardian - the Fashion Spot
 
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22-05-2005
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How to wear clothes articles - The Guardian
I always read this article by Jes Cartner-Morley in the Guardian on a saturday & though some of you might like to read it. I'll try & post it every week. Some weeks its better than others........Hope you enjoy.


How to wear clothes

Jess Cartner-Morley
Saturday May 21, 2005
The Guardian


Some people swear that you can tell everything about a person by the shoes they wear. I don't buy it; to me it's all about the bag. The bag you carry (and these days this is not just an issue for the ladies) broadcasts at least as much about you as the newspaper poking out of it.


Don't believe me? Take the "messenger" style of bag, which closes with a utilitarian envelope flap and is worn across the body rather than on one shoulder. Of the people who choose this type of bag, approximately 28%, by my calculation, are regular cyclists and so constrained by practicalities. The other 72% want a work bag that doesn't make them look like a commuter. They are drawn to the bag because it is the polar opposite of (for men) the briefcase and (for women) the smart, blocky, Thatcheresque work handbag. Messenger-bag wearers are people who, if they do not work from home, aspire to do so. The bag is a little bit San Francisco in a Gap-advert, countercultural-lite kind of way. It is not, however, a thing of beauty, so a certain aesthetically conscious type of female will eschew it in favour of a different "I am not a corporate drone" work bag - the oversized, basket-style bag.

Basket bags are practical in that you can fit everything in them, while having a strolling-through-exotic-street-market thing going on, with peace-and-love overtones because of the open invitation to look at, and indeed grab, your personal effects. The scale gives them a bohemian edge, conjuring maxiskirts, big floppy hats, spur-of-the-moment runaways; the jumbled contents are in contrast to the filing-cabinet efficiency of the traditional multipocketed working handbag. See what I mean? We all carry emotional baggage.

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28-05-2005
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How to wear clothes

Jess Cartner-Morley
Saturday May 28, 2005
The Guardian


Not nearly enough serious thinking has been done on the politics of the ponytail. I suspect this oversight is because there is no great profit margin to be made on elastic bands or kirby grips: most fashion and beauty trends - whether for whiter teeth, blonder hair or a longer skirt - are driven by someone making money out of us wanting to look a certain way. (Note that the only time the ponytail-as-eveningwear trend received the glossy magazine coverage it deserved was a few years back, when Louis Vuitton produced a must-have range of expensive plastic hair bobbles.)

But the way you style your hair says as much about you as your clothes do: it will locate you as of a certain class, a certain generation. Think of the tight, scraped-back, Vicky Pollard ponytail - the Croydon facelift, as it was known in the pre-Little Britain era - worn by girls who, if they were boys, would be wearing hoods and baseball caps. Being a kind of feminised skinhead look, this is the harshest look a long-haired woman can adopt; once upon a time, it signalled a Sade-esque urban sophistication, but now it screams of suburbia and Asbos.


However, the front row of any New York fashion show will prove that the ponytail can still be posh: Park Avenue princesses adore a girlish, pony club style, but they always wear it low, so that it falls with a winsome bounce, rather than flicking about like a horse's tail seeing off flies. I was going to suggest that, as the badge of a more inclusive society, we all ping off our ponytail bands and adopt the marvellous, horizontal, double-french-plait thingummy shown in this month's Vogue, but the Sudoku-like instructions had me flummoxed by the third line. Shame. I was hoping I'd found the key to a truly classless society.

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28-05-2005
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thankyou for posting helena !

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28-05-2005
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lovely and witty looking forward to some more

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28-05-2005
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thanks helena...
sorry i missed your post last week...
...

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29-05-2005
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Very cute

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19-06-2005
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thanks for posting helena...I noticed they didn't mention 'the scrunchie' in the ponytail one

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19-06-2005
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cute but I don't entirely agree with the ponytail article...you can't really say it's either a. or b. still amusing though

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09-07-2005
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How to wear clothes

Jess Cartner-Morley
Saturday July 9, 2005
The Guardian


Here at the Guardian fashion desk we do not shy away from washing our dirty linen in public. Nor are we afraid of being frighteningly literal with our metaphors. So it was inevitable that our thoughts would turn, sooner or later, to that glum cousin of a bulging wardrobe - the overflowing laundry basket. Just as forensic experts and identity stealers can learn a thousand secrets from your rubbish bin, so you can face up to a few home truths about what you really wear, rather than what you have hanging up gathering dust, by paying attention to your laundry.

I am, you will be relieved to hear, going to spare you the details of my own laundry system. Suffice to say that the small print of which garments go at what temperature and in what combination could fox a Sudoku wizard. But here's what I've noticed: until last winter, the caramel-to-chocolate category of colours was the biggest. But this summer, for the first time in several seasons, they are among the great unworn and unwashed section of my wardrobe.


Instead, there is a new pile that towers over the black: pale, delicate but non-neutral colours. Lilac, Tiffany blue, pale olive green. And, mid-untangle, I have realised that, once you remove harsh whites and blacks from the equation, many of these colours look fabulous together, even in groups of three or four. The very colours that we think "go with everything" actually make colour-combining trickier. You could get colour inspiration by visiting an art gallery or watching the sky change shade, but who has the time? All you need to know, for an exciting new look, is right there in your wardrobe. In that tangle at the bottom, in fact.

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How to wear clothes

Jess Cartner-Morley
Saturday July 2, 2005
The Guardian


At first glance, the fashion perspective on the current Frida Kahlo show is pretty straightforward. She's so this season. Those elaborate, debauched-Degas hairstyles: so Lanvin. And the luxe-ethnic triple-layered combination of chunky beads with shawl-shouldered jacket: if only she'd booked in at Vaishaly for a spot of eyebrow-threading, she could have catwalked for Marni. That would have cheered her up!



Why, you could saunter straight from Tate to Clements Ribeiro and have a new look sewn up, stopping off to buy the lookalike corsages in the gift shop. But there's something else here, too, that isn't just about fiesta colours and flamenco shapes, but about women, and getting dressed, and looking in the mirror, and how that sounds like a simple enough act, but rarely is. Kahlo's expression in her self-portraits is invariably opaque. Instead, the emotion is in the clothes, hair and accessories. Every fringe and frill is as deliberately chosen, and as loaded with messages, as a Renaissance papal portrait or a 21st-century red carpet shot.

While most of us, with make-up, draw on a face to heighten the feminine, Kahlo exaggerated the masculine. She thickened her brows with paint, and challenged this with feminine, traditional garb that identified her first and foremost as a wife.
Much as we'd like to have a sense of style that flowed effortlessly from our very core, we all have days when we feel more like we're papering over the cracks; Kahlo knew that. Now, I'm not suggesting the monkey on the shoulder as a serious option for a summer wedding. But next time you despise yourself for wasting time on a wardrobe crisis, console yourself that you're painting a self-portrait, in pastels and easycare cotton.

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How to wear clothes

Jess Cartner-Morley
Saturday June 25, 2005
The Guardian


My favourite paparazzi shot of the summer so far: Gwyneth Paltrow at hubby Chris's UK launch gig. The venue is Koko, the old Camden Palace; draped around Gwyneth's neck, along with her access-all-areas pass, is a white pashmina. A white pashmina is about as inappropriate an accessory for a Camden gig as is possible to imagine. She couldn't have looked more alien to the environment if she'd turned up with opera glasses. What I like, though, is that Gwyneth shows no sign of caring - it's never a good thing to be cowed by the pack, and fashion is no exception.

You see, if you were under the impression that you could wear pretty much anything to Glastonbury, you thought wrong. The dress code may not be as transparent as Glyndebourne's, but it's as keenly observed. For women, the challenge is to look practical and fabulous. The practical bit is important, because it shows that you're a veteran. You get zero respect for heels sinking into the mud, and this is the voice of experience talking. But to look as if you've just wandered off the Pennine Way is as bad. You have to offset sensible with sex, drugs and rock'n'roll - sartorially speaking, of course - so polka dot wellies trump hiking boots. Classic Glastonbury combos: sundress under oversized parka; frayed denim miniskirt with hooded sweatshirt; jeans with a kaftan-style ethnic-embroidered top.
It's not rocket science, clearly: a look any two-bit television presenter can pull off. But the cocktail of cautious and crazy can go very, very wrong. Witness any number of "amusing" hats. And remember, last year, Liam Gallagher on stage in a snow-white, fluffy-trimmed version of his trademark anorak, looking like Liz Hurley's surly teenage brother - a Glastonbury legend, for all the wrong reasons.

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How to wear clothes

Jess Cartner-Morley
Saturday June 18, 2005
The Guardian


Kaftans: they're the new bootcut trousers. Only last year, they were considered slightly kooky; this summer, they are piled high as peaches in every supermarket. Retailers love them because they are cheap and easy to produce. But consumers love them too, because, well, they work.

They are as much of a high summer staple as a pretty pair of flip-flops, and for much the same reasons: they are light, cool and easy to wear (add the kaftan and the flip-flops to your regular jeans, and you've got a summer-evening look). But while the unstoppable rise of the kaftan means that it is to be found in a pub garden near you on the most tenuously balmy of evenings, where it comes into its own is on holiday. Not only is it practical (neatly avoiding the upper arm issue; shielding you from both too much sun and end-of-the-day breezes) but it has the right touch of fantasy-lifestyle about it. Your kaftan might be from Sainsbury's, but it still has that boho-luxe air. Think Talitha Getty in Morocco, Tamara Mellon in Ibiza. Not necessarily women you identify with, but damn it, you know they've stayed in some great villas.

Holidays are supposed to be about indulging yourself, after all, so a soupçon of fantasy is essential when packing. This does not mean chuck everything in - on the contrary, a ruthless edit before you close the case is essential, and I say this as someone whose philosophy of packing is, if you can lift the suitcase yourself, you don't have enough shoes. But don't swap your working wardrobe for a stack of easy-care cotton neutrals. Add your favourite dress, a fistful of jewellery, a gem of a bag for those delicious evenings when you can go out with just cash and keys, leaving mobiles and diaries at home. Need an excuse? Think of the photos.

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How to wear clothes

Jess Cartner-Morley
Saturday June 11, 2005
The Guardian


I once read that it was fine to buy knickers from Marks & Spencer, but not shoes. I've bought at least one pair of shoes there every season since, partly because mindless snobbery gets on my nerves, and partly because, as someone who always, except in the most extreme circumstances, chooses heels over flats, I have a vested interest in finding heels that don't bring tears to my eyes after two blocks.

M&S may not be glamorous - its shoes have never, to my knowledge, been namedropped in Sex And The City, and their comfort derives, one suspects, from the need to make them palatable to customers with bunions - but comfort becomes even more of a priority for those of us who live on tiptoes in summer.



Hot feet blister faster than you can hail a taxi, and not even a pair of tights lies between you and the particular, nerve-jangling, mood-destroying agony of a painful pair of shoes, which is more of a summer dampener than a downpour at a barbecue. A pair of relatively solid-heeled, open-toe sandals, comfortable enough to wear through day and night, will give more of a fillip to your June-September wardrobe than any number of bikinis - especially if you take advantage of low prices to buy an unusual colour or an impractical pale pattern, rather than sensible black. For seriously delicate shoes, however, good engineering pays. A needle-heeled mule or slingback in black, gold, silver or tan is an investment that you'll wear for summers (and winters) to come. And this is where Jimmy Choo comes in: the shape is comfortable, the fabrics breathable and the straps sympathetically placed. Cheapskates and label snobs alike, there is no excuse for ducking out of high heels this summer.

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10-07-2005
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I love this thread Helena!!!!! Thanks so much for posting great articles!!!!

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10-07-2005
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i love these articles thanks for them helena

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