Fashion EIC (editor in chief) Marilyn Kirschner shared with me this morning her “Fashion Rules for the Recession.” After mulling the rules top-to-bottom-and-back-up I wanted to share it with the MSR readers (men and women)!
I gathered my own opinions. Any comments or opinionated feelings on Marilyn’s rules, feel free to jot down in our comments section.
What’s ‘cool’ and what’s not (of course, the ‘coolest’ thing is to ignore any rules, but here I go):
Cool: Having a sense of humor and not taking yourself too seriously; not worrying about unimportant things; not striving for absolute perfection.
Un-cool: Beating yourself over the head for past mistakes, moaning and groaning about not reaching ‘perfection’, trying for a perfect wardrobe each season (impossible to achieve no matter how you look at it).
Cool: Looking like ‘old money.’
Un-cool: Looking nouveau riche (or in this case, nouveau poor).
Cool: Treating luxurious furs as just another fabric and not as something special to be saved for special occasions. Wearing fur on the inside (turning your fur coat inside out, or taking that old fur and making it into a lining of a Burberry trench); wearing thrift shop finds that are a little worn looking and frayed around the edges; wearing small pieces (wraps, shrugs, boleros, shrunken jackets, vests) or full length coats with the same easy attitude and adding your own look by putting it together in an offhanded, sporty way.
Un-cool: Wearing an unflattering, shapeless, over the top full length fur coat that looks as though it came straight from Fred the furrier’s fur vault. If it’s warmth you’re after, and can’t afford to have the coat altered, try belting it with a great wide belt or forget about it and instead, dig out your favorite cloth coats and/or down filled jackets.
Cool: Wearing something you already own (a vintage trench, tweed coat, nylon anorak, down filled vest or parka), as an evening cover up
Un-cool: Thinking you have to go out and buy a traditional, expected ‘fancy’ evening coat or worse, wearing a pashmina draped over your shoulders (so old fashioned!)
Cool: Wearing non label finds (ready to wear, accessories) that are individual looking and not immediately identifiable.
Un-cool: Buying into the notion that you need to carry a status ‘it’ bag with lots of hardware and doodads.
Cool: Saving money and pleasing yourself.
Un-cool: Trying to keep up with the Joneses.
Cool: Taking stock of your financial life and seeking help if needed. There are many websites and blogs fueled by financial experts and even bankruptcy lawyers, (for example: http://bankruptcy-tips-chuck.blogspot.com)
Un-cool: Burying your head in the sand.
Cool: Recycling by shopping in your (or your mom’s, sister’s, aunt’s, grandmother’s) closet; wearing vintage or thrift shop finds, hand me downs; making your own clothes and accessories. Don’t forget, “Everything old is new again”. Enjoy what you own and try to find creative ways to make new combinations. In fact, this was the subject of Bill Cunningham’s ‘On the Street’ column, Sunday, January 4th. Entitled, “Keepers”, he photographed women wearing the fabulous clothes from their closets, things they have owned for years; proof that great clothing design is like antique furniture…made to be enjoyed for years and not thrown out each season. The column also pointed to another truism (that those of us who are staunch vintage collectors already know): the new ‘stuff’ out there does not hold a candle to the older, better made, more beautifully crafted, authentic versions).
Un-cool: Feeling as though you have to run out and buy something new each season and being made to believe that by definition, new means it’s got to be a better, more improved version.
By the way, speaking of recycling and using what you have, you know how every season, during New York Fashion Week; members of the press receive a gift bag at the Bryant Park Tents? It’s always a large tote of some sort stuffed with numerous products (though each season the bag seems to be getting smaller and smaller and lighter and lighter, which is perfectly fine with me). Well, I often just store mine away in the closet and sometimes forget about them but I recently stumbled upon a large heavy black nylon tote which was just a perfect size for schlepping and it was emblazoned with this slogan in white, “IT’S OK TO BE CLOTHES MINDED”- KENNETH COLE. I've started carrying it around town and it has elicited many smiles, nods, and comments. It is ‘okay’ after all to care about clothes, fashion and your appearance. Just be smart about it. Perhaps that’s the best way to begin the New Year with attitude, confidence, and optimism.