Fashion notes: Let's not abandon all things pretty
A pretty little vanity table, cluttered with a paddle brush, some hair rollers and a host of cosmetics – does this paint a picture of the typical woman’s morning view?
Let me backtrack – we’re not in an age where the “typical” woman can be defined, I understand that. We have moved beyond traditional stereotypes of femininity and fought out of the era when we were forced to wear tightly bound, tortuous corsets. Why women are choosing to put themselves through the atrocities of waist-trainers is something I fail to comprehend – but that’s another story. (Though I’ll just add that waist-trainers are unhealthy contraptions propagated by the Kardashians, aimed at making us want unnatural, exaggerated body shapes. I think they should be boycotted, rather than promoted by celebrities and bloggers.)
My point is that, aside from the misery brought by corsets, there was once a certain, enjoyable aspect to one’s daily getting-ready routine. Sitting in front of the mirror, putting on dollops of make-up, brushing one’s hair and dressing up – it’s a pastime known to women across all cultures. Dressing for a special occasion is often an hours-long ordeal. Trying on numerous outfits, shortlisting a few, then picking the favourite, takes time and passion. A lot of us revel in pairing together different skirts and tops or dresses and scarves, and experimenting with the goods our wardrobes have to offer – the styling opportunities are endless.
While I’m still one of those women who takes pleasure in a traditional, feminine approach to putting together an outfit, basics, denims and casuals have cropped up alarmingly in fashion during the past few years, and have turned many women against a mode of dressing that requires such efforts. Decadent brunches, peppy birthday bashes and baby showers are all opportunities for us to dress up and wear skirts, silks and swanky pieces that we don’t get much wear from on a day-to-day basis. Jeans traditionally don’t factor into this category, because they can be worn almost everywhere else. But a shift in style standards has brought basic, casualwear to the forefront of fashion.
Look at an image of guests seated front row at one of the Paris couture fashion week catwalk shows, and amid the glamour and splendour of sensational street style, you’re bound to spot at least one pair of jeans – and not dressy jeans, either. These denims will be torn, shredded and frayed; they will be blaringly casual, and while the outfit may be accompanied by a killer blazer or fanciful ruffled top, these more formal additions don’t take away from the fact that there are jeans in the front row – and moreover, it’s perfectly acceptable.
I’m a huge devotee of denims and love that they have been given more space in terms of where and when you can get away with wearing them. I just fear that we’re on the verge of falling into a rut, becoming overdependent on our plain old jeans, even when more formal occasions arise. We overlook opportunities where we can dress up and have fun with more playful, girlie garments and accessories. Even when we do wear jeans, we often resort to pairing them with an unmemorable top and lacklustre – if any – accessories.
If you can’t be torn away from your tatty old jeans, even for more fancy festivities, at least give your look some pretty pizzazz with a few impressive accessories. The quirkier, the better. The goal should be to make your dazzling pearl choker or dramatic tassel earrings the conversation starter of your outfit, rather than have your worn-out denims be the subject of scrutiny.