the odyssey of a buttoned-up shirt

Have you noticed the third post for today? That’s right, I’m sick with some sort of mild version of mumps, miserable, grounded at home. And what better circumstance for blog-reading and wish-list making can one be caught in… and the fact that I haven’t posted about any resolutions for 2010, blaming it on lack of time is no longer valid. I do have a small boutique to merchandise next week, all content of the magazine to re-read for final edit, a trip to Amsterdam for the ‘by AMFI’ winter 10 presentation, and a random idea of making new visit cards from fluo yellow cardboard – all floating around out there somewhere. But instead I’m focusing on various garments and outfits I would like to try out when the weather gets friendlier.
There’s a general trend in my wardrobe towards pastels and volume for spring, as I’m incredibly tired of dark and androgynous styles since last summer, when wedges ruled the pavement and the slashing was ubiquitous. It’s a predictable cycle, so nothing’s wrong with that, for only the over-saturation will lead to the opposition, therefore the dark and androgynous will make the way for elegant with a twist, and finally Stockholm will give in to Milan. And while being stuck somewhere in-between, the Central-European folks are free to choose.
Lately Belgium is surprising me with all the novelty on the fashion market: Mapp., RA13, ACNE Studio, Hunting and Collecting – we suddenly have the power of choice granted to us, and no longer does one need to spend hours on Internet looking for the favourite garment. You want Opening Ceremony and Henrik Vibskov? – welcome to Mapp., you want Slow and Steady Wins the Race or Anntian? – drop by H&C, or maybe some Gareth Pugh? – RA13 is open on Sundays. Making the choice is made easy.

Now what?

It has never been down to the possession of a designer garment – a great outfit will only become great on its wearer. Yet I’m someone who always stays true to the designer’s vision and I believe that wearing a cardigan as a skirt or a skirt as a cape destroys the purpose of why the garment has been created in the first place. Neither will I pick up some grey shirt and some black skirt to copy the editorial look from a magazine, because the alternative garments of cheap fabric, lack of finishings or poor quality may give you the look, but can never give you the character. I can’t stand people going to a shop like COS, picking up a pair of trousers and uttering: ‘oh this is so Balenciaga!’. The smart sales person in me will surely add a shirt, sculpted jacket, a pair of killer heels and some iridescent plastic and metal jewellery into the Balenciaga wannabe cocktail and tell the girl to pull her hair in a sleek ponytail. But the smart fashion blogger will think: ‘c’mon, go get yourself the real deal…eBay, Labels INC, whatever shall suffice!’. There’s no reason why we should be running after a look and based on experience I can easily say that the most treasured garments in my wardrobe don’t really work with much else rather than on their own – mostly stocksales buys which date several years back – they are like fashion moments frozen in time. So no prescribed looks for me, and maybe this explains why I never really look put-together. I wear the clothes for what they are until they are worn out, or until I decide to repaint the walls of my apartment for the millionth time getting paint spots all over my favourite blouse – there were times during the studies in art academy when I would purposefully not wash the paint off my hands, because it reminded me of a boy at school who’s been painting a self-portrait and walking around with his hands covered in oil colours. Such a shame he doesn’t paint anymore. Such a shame the fashion is so look-oriented. For me it has always been the fractions of memory, past events, fused together and translated into the fabrics, cut, details. Memory is where I get my inspiration, but please don’t misunderstand me for a retrograde! None of that! I look forward, just at times through a prism of past events.
So where is this massive rant going to, you may ask? Well, certain changes I envision, and an explanation of why those changes are about to take place…and may be they are so personal that to any of you they may not seem like changes at all.
The first subject is related to the masculine/feminine ideas of style. By this I do not mean androgynous. The concept of unisex is way more attractive to me, because we’ll always be what we are, given by nature, no matter how much fashion likes lean and mean…well, I’ll remain mean, but lean is pretty much out of question, so any boyfriend denim makes me look like a RITS student, and a boyfriend blazer and a hat like a cabaret dancer, and a men’s shirt…well, the men’s shirt!

I have never thought about wearing a shirt. Imagine one buttoned up, tucked in a trouser. Imagine a denim or chambray version, chest pockets, rolled up sleeves. Red lipstick, messy hair, but a strict outfit, so no cut-offs or leggings – a shirt tucked in a voluminous trouser that sits high on the waist. It sounds incredibly boring, but that’s exactly the challenging part – how do you wear such a boring outfit? The answer can be found on the lookbook photos of Celine Collard’s a/w 09/10 collection. I have never tried to be the preppy casual kid, but I’m endlessly tempted. And since the ‘full denim look’ post I’ve been looking out for a similar style sans denim. Just as usual the solutions are easier than the problems – the preppy or the strict, it’s always up to the unique garment to make the perfect silhouette, and up to your own attitude to show it. I’m pretty sure there is a shirt which can give me enough inspiration, I just have to dare to wear something I never tried before. So yes, I have a shirt in mind – it’s an old COS number that is still hanging in a shop reduced to 50% - I saw it for the first time in London last year and have been shoving it around my own shop ever since, because the last remaining pieces in the smallest size have never been sold. On Thursday I’ll take the poor fella home – so look out for an outfit post!


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