Sunday, December 14, 2008

Aspirational Dressing

In a recent issue of In Style, several designers gave us a glimpse into their personal aesthetics, offering two conflicting opinions regarding one’s outfit choices [dress comfortably vs. dress up] that have CC querying: Should we dress for the life we have, or the life we want?
CC is a firm believer in the latter.
At right, an Allure editorial. Who says ball gowns and tiaras are inappropriate for the laundromat?
At left, an Eugenio Recuenco editorial for Vogue Bride Spain courtesy Fellow Fashionista Nothing Elegant. Are you the type of gal who even overdresses for bed? CC sure hopes so! [For the purposes of this rant, CC temporarily abandons her third person narrative… Brace yourselves, darlings!]
Granted, there are some sequined La Petite Salope bustiers and shockingly short AKA dresses in my closet which have not yet made their debut, but I feel strongly that I will wear them, and thus I continue to buy such fabulous pieces. I suppose this is
exactly the type of customer upon whom the retail clothing industry depends: the aspirational dresser. Sure, we all have an ample supply of jeans and tees, but what fun it to purchase more of the same, particularly when that fabulous Miu Miu pump beckons from the SOHO store front? And what business does anyone but a bazillionaire have buying Kiki de Montparnasse lingerie at full price? Who cares! Does a collector of baseball cards or fine art routinely parade his acquisitions around town? Surely not! He is content with the knowledge that he owns them, that the little treasures are safely tucked away or displayed in the privacy of his own home. Such is the plight (or privilege) of the aspirational dresser. She will unabashedly drop hundreds (nay, thousands) on a mirrored miniskirt or a feathered ball gown, with absolutely no “event” in mind. These pieces are objets d’art, precious collectibles whose worth would be enhanced by a public viewing, but whose value (paradoxically) is not adversely affected if they never see the light of day, but only the soft pink glow of the owner’s walk-in closet. I have a pair of Jean-Michel Cazabat silver-flecked lilac sandals that I sashay quite happily down my carpeted hallway. Sure, I might wear them out in public eventually, but for now they are my private indulgence. Call it a self-inflicted sickness, but one for which I will not apologize: ADS. Aspirational Dressing Syndrome. Excuse me, darlings; I feel a bout coming on now . . .
So the next time you’re shopping and someone asks you, “Where do you plan to wear that?”, simply smile and offer this simple answer: “Anywhere!”
Photo credits: Reclining beauty at upper left featured in V magazine. Alexander McQueen and Marios Schwab dresses featured in Bazaar. Kitchen couture photo courtesy niseyisaffp.blogspot.com. Pedro Garcia sandal detail via net-a-porter.com. Grocery shopping in bikini, courtesy Fellow Fashionista Lenore (see link below).
Tagged by the exquisitely talented Marian of
The House of Style with the 7 Personal Details Tag. Rules are to list 7 details about oneself so you readers can get to know you a bit better. Then tag 7 people to do the same.
7 CC Personal Details:
1) I am a rabid overdresser (see above rant and Pedro Garcia jeweled peep toes, at left).
2) I’ve been in school pretty much my entire life. My degrees include a B.A. in Art History, a Law Degree, and a Masters in Spanish! Anyone with a brills idea about a career that would combine these disparate interests, give CC a holler at
carriecalligraphy@gmail.com.
3) Not normally technologically inclined, I am
absolutely addicted to my iPhone, which is nearly a year and a half old. I honestly sleep with it. Sad but true.
4) Through my friend Nina, I have recently “discovered” vintage clothing. Now I am totally hooked! Additionally, I am absolutely fascinated with the history of attire, fashion writing, and our retail culture. At right, a 1933 Lord & Taylor window design.
Photo courtesy nytimes.com.
5) My music tastes are so varied that some of the songs on my playlist look like mistakes. Am currently DEEPLY into Band of Horses, The Cars, Gift of Gab and Mika. Random!
6) I value old-fashioned niceties like grammar,
manners, hand-written letters and chivalry. I do the New York Times crossword every day and I quite enjoy it when people open doors for one another and use pronouns correctly.
7) When I was a little girl, I always dreamed of being a writer. Having cycled through various other careers, I am now back where I started, with a clean slate and dreams of being published…I am tagging the following Fellow Fashionistas:
Kate of Crave

Cara Mia of Hippie Couture
Ivoreece of Ivoreece's Style Diary
Lenore of Lenorenevermore
Stella of J’Adore Fashion
Lisa of Solo Lisa y Nada Mas and
Juliet of
Fashion Lolita.

Anyone else who is so inclined, you are tagged as well! This is quite a pleasant diversion – thanks, Marian! Enjoy, darlings!

xoxox, CC

48 comments:

J said...

great post! i'd rather overdress and buy beautiful pieces without any event in mind.. you can always find somewhere to where something you love!

Fashion_Girl22 said...

This post is so inspirational. It really makes you think. I honestly don't know what you should do. Mainly becasue, some people have not too pleasent lives. So, dressing for that wouldn't be too nice. But then, when you dress for the life you want, you sometimes end up spending outside of your means. It really makes you wonder. <3

P.S. I gave you a shout out in my lastest holiday post!! <3

Juliet said...

Thank you for the tag!

juliet xxx

janettaylor said...

Haha! I love post!

xoxox: Janet

Swell Vintage - Frankie said...

I'm exactly the same in regard to old-fashioned manners! They never go out of style x

Rice and Peace said...

I don't see anything wrong with buying something luxurious because you love it, much like a piece of art. The truth is we only live once (I think?) and if it makes you happy and you can afford it, buy it. I know I have always bought fashion pieces for myself, because it makes me feel good.

Miranda said...

i loved this post cc :)
it's wonderful to learn more about bloggers!

chocandcinnamon said...

Aspirational Dressing Syndrome. That's good, never heard of it before LoL
Love the pictures!

Tiffany said...

I am so with you CC! I always say, better to be overdressed than underdressed. my office has no dress code yet I rarely show up dressed down. I've been told that they way I dress has inspired others to put more thought in their outfits so it's kind of a good thing!

Basically, if I think it's pretty, I'll buy it and think of where to wear it later!

MISS GLITZY said...

I'd rather dress for the life I want and indulge myself to buy fabulous pieces. I love the ADS concept and hope that you'll be publish soon.

Fashion Moment said...

Excellent question, darling! And the excellent response! For all ladies, which perplexed ...
Take of the life what you want! :)

Missing you, too!

FM

C. Andrako said...

Great post CC. You certainly are a woman of many accomplishments. Good for you! You do a fabulous job with your blog. One would never know that you're not technically savvy. Your enthusiasm is infectious. I think people should wear whatever they want whenever they want. I hate rules like no white shoes before Memorial Day. When I lived in NYC I used to get decked out just because I felt like it and just to take a walk. Nobody knows where you're going and nobody cares. Step out onto the streets of NY and it's like you're in a play! Have fun CC!
Catherine

"Une very stylish fille" said...

I love and will visit definitely more frequently!!!!


:*
:)

ps. I'm adding you to the list of interesting blogs.
Would be more than happy if you could add mine :):):):)


:*:*:*
kisses from Cardiff
:)

Doll legs said...

If I dress for the life I have(a university student and mother of two), I have to be in t-shirts, tennis,and hoodies all the time,but nooo I prefer an Mk style,a little bohemian, and a little rocker.(here in Mexico the mothers in general dress the same). Hey CC thanks for the comment in my blog :) !! bye!!

Lisa said...

yay for re-discovering vintage.
such gems.

thanks for the insight cc!

you are such a beautiful lady - inside & out.

x.

_Nia_ said...

Great post! <3

Dana (MODAna) said...

i am guilty of buying so much needlessly...

enc said...

I love the idea of overdressing, and the idea of aspirational dressing. I used to dress aspirationally, but when my life didn't go the direction I thought it would, I decided to just look at what was actually happening, and accept it. That meant I didn't get to buy any ballgowns, but I saved a lot of money! ;)

The Seeker said...

Great post CC, insightfull...
I like the idea of overdressing, well most of the times I feel I overdress, but I try to balance the things.

All the best, beauty

xoxo

J'Adore Fashion said...

thanks for the tag CC, wow, such much degree--so great. nice learning more about you.
xoxox

stella

Charm said...

Ohhhh my bf totally doesn't understand but YOU do! I should force him to read this article :-)

Miss Karen said...

Such an excellent post! I truly believe we should dress for the life we want. I want to be swathed in an aura of 1960s fantasy so I like to dress accordingly.

lisa said...

Thanks for a great post as well as the tag! I tend to flip-flop between the two, but I'm a firm believer in dressing up because "I feel like it." :)

Countrybelle said...

so nice to find out a bit about you! i am a rabid overdresser as well, though less so these days while living in thailand. i may have been known, on occasion, to purchase heels and dresses i am fairly certain i will never wear. i would so love to see some pictures of your wardrobe...
xx

deep_in_vogue said...

Really well written post, reading it was a pleasure. I absolutely agree, we should all dress for the life we want. Anything less is like settling..

La Belette Rouge said...

This is one of my favorite posts of yours. I love learning more about you and the more I know you the more I love you. I am definitely an aspirational dresser and I am going to quit tormenting myself with the question of where I will wear something. I just wore an over the top vintage Vicuna scarf to Target. There is always some where to wear it and if not we can wear them at home.

drinkupthefashion said...

this entry was so interesting. i love learning about people, and you seem like a really awesome gal! wow, i can't believe you have a law degree, an art degree and a spanish language degree. are you a genius or what? are you still in school for something else?
and i think i'm a junior aspirational dresser. i have a few whimsical things in my closet. 1. being a satin/silk black corset with a bow (that is rhinestone adorned) that i bought for a school performance...i've never worn it again but i know i will, and i really want to wear it. 2. a long midnight blue/midnight violet/iridescent gown that i hope i can wear somewhere.

Nina (femme rationale) said...

i really enjoyed this post. i also believe in the latter. and i tend to be an over-dresser, too. and #6 is SO me. minus the NY times c/w puzzle.

UberOriginal said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post, but it was nice to read some tid bits about you, as I like to have a vision of who is giving me all the useful information I collect from various blogs. xx ps- I too suffer ADS!

Rina said...

haha That´s a good question! I think we should wear what makes us feel happy and great!

Petra said...

Beautiful, beautiful post! I adore to dress up to go the grocery store. I hate it how it is percieced as "wrong" to dress extragavantly or even 'inappropriate' for everyday activities. Who's right is it to say what is and isnt right or appropriate? Silly poeple :)

xxx

kokostiletto said...

great post!!!!!! i love all the pics you find!!

Songy said...

Dressing for what I want to become? yeeeees.

I gave up dressing in suits when I started blogging. Now I'm in all kind of quirky stuff. Will this lead to something?

I sort of guessed that you'd like well written proses, hand writing (hence calligraphy) etc..

i.d. said...

Absolutely for the life you want!!! I'm a habitual overdresser too. I think it's so important to make an effort and look your best, if only for yourself.

P.S. I just left you a couple of awards - I adore your blog! xx

Elisa said...

art history, a law degree, and a masters in Spanish, omg, what's next?? you're amazing and i really like your blog!

Beaut!fully Br()ken said...

Hi!
Glad you liked my poem :)
I love Avril !!
Great post ! :)

LENORENEVERMORE said...

CC dahhlin'...forget about living in the same zip code! Let's be next door neighbors!! hee* You are one facinating woman! Hope penthouse living is just fine with you dahhhlin'....

Thanks for the tag...so lovely indeed that some of your blogsphere friends/readers have gotten to know you a 'little bit' more...

We are such complex/amusing beings...what we do to amuse/entertain ourselves in the world of fashion...I could go on forever.... I could, but I won’t....that's the beauty of 'it'all...there's always the black & white...and shades of greys in between...the beautiful and the beautiful?! All I know fashion has never been boring and will never be... Cliche: passion for fashion OR Fashion is for passion...hmmm? Let us ponder more shall we.... Whatever it is- ENIGMA is the word for me to adore for now...

Kisses to CC as always
~mwahhh*

maveri_ck<3 said...

that is such a striking question... i think i usually dress for the life i have, but sometimes buy things for the life i want. haha and thats a crazy mixture- spanish, art history and law!

Anika said...

Love this post, so true! I always have sales girls asking me where I plan to wear things I'm buying (might be my tendency to buy things I find beautfil/eclectic/artsy), with me going 'errr.....nowhere special...??!'. I'll change that to "everywhere and anywhere!" :)

Have a great one, and thanks fo the inspirational post :)

Terencesambowrites said...

Aright CC dats one hard ques to answer... aren't our clothes supposed to project our personalities? one's personality i think fuses wat u are and what u want to become cos every human is in a state of becoming, we r always changing towards our beliefs and goals.

So in answering that ques i think our dressing shld be a combination of both :o)

Couture Allure Vintage Fashion said...

I'm so glad to know you're hooked on vintage! You won't find better quality or details. Enjoy this new-found passion!

Nare said...

lovely photos!! they are gorgeus and so artistics!!

Aliena said...

I love vintage clothing too... This post has really got me thinking... I usually dress for the life I have (big sigh here) and on the rare occasions I dress for the life I'd like to have... I get a reprimand from hubby saying... "where do you think you are going? to the ritz? and what i am supposed to wear now so as not to clash with you?" oh dear...

Mimi said...

Great post as always and the pics you've chosen are super.

Allison said...

I absolutely LOVE the picture by Tim Walker you posted. He is an absolute genius :)

Your blog is fantastic.

Dooder City said...

This is great! I am so glad that you shared something about yourself. I need to check out Band of Horses, I have heard wayyyy too much good stuff about them! I really love the dress with the comets all over it.

Sasi said...

That's a tough question..but I guess for the life we want:)

Angel Lust PR said...

the lady in the kitchen with the dress. THats how I want to be when I cook