Friday, August 25, 2006

On Reinvention -or- The Buns of a Biker Make Perfect Sense to Me

After dinner and drinks tonight, Rachel made it clear that she stood in opposition to the aesthetic strategy of the cute boy bicyclists with their tiny tees, rolled jeans, perfectly chosen tweedy caps, and colorful socks that were leaving the restaurant at the same time we were. This look rides steady across all of Seattle. And, though its becoming a bit predictable, it does have a certain something all its own (Not once will you hear me gripe about the outfit of the JimmyJohns sandwich delivery guy...a perfectly stunning example of a success story for this look). I have yet to experience a moment where one of these guys rides past and I don't look twice. If their buns don't get my head turning, their striped red socks do. Usually both, I suppose.

I think the point of my conversation with Rachel was to figure out the value of this group spending more time finding a way to perfect their variation on this popular look than others would on any single aspect of their appearance. I found myself a bit challenged by the idea...mainly because I think I am far more guilty than they are of spending excessive amounts of time on my appearance and wardrobe on any given day. In fact, I envy them. I would love to know which formula worked best for me, only to perfect it and trust it each and every day I left my apartment to face the world.

But isn't there something to be said for constant reinvention? Should our day to day costumes change to meet the needs of our brain, mood, body, libido or expectations on any given day? Or should we find such strength and trust in one system that matches out taste so perfectly that we never feel the need to cast ourselves astray?

I suppose all of this is heavy on my brain these days because I am feeling such an itch to reinvent my own look. I'm tired of what I see in my closet. In the midst of a later summer clean out, I have come to realize that I still wear things I purchased in high school (you've seen my boots!)...others just a few weeks ago and they have already lost their lustre. Some weeding out has seemed to make it bearable, though, leaving a few empty hangers for new purchases as they arise. And if I don't have a means of buying new, I had damn well better start to rework what I already have or its going to be one helluva long winter!


Anonymous Tiff said...

I feel ya on this one. I asked Kevin the other day if he would nominate me for "What Not to Wear" (a guilty pleasure of mine on TLC) just so I could spend $5000 on some new threads. Of course this is a ridiculous request, as I have a closet FULL of nice clothes and shoes...more than any one girl really needs.

This idea of reinvention is always in the back of my mind as I purchase more and more of the same safe things; finely knit turtlenecks for the coming cold weather, ballet flats in everything from silver to black to checkered, and over-sized shoulder bags in what else, black.

So I have found the best way to deal with 20 pairs of medium-wash skinny jeans and shirts in variations-on-a-theme is to have really great (read: big) hair and fabulous shoes. Maybe it's OK after all to have a "signature look" and just kick it up once in awhile. I longed for school uniforms (back in the day) if only for their simplicity in the morning. And I guess I've created a sort of uniform for myself now. Like the adorable bike messengers I chat with at work everyday, I have found what works.

Of course, I throw in a track-suit every few days for the Madonna Brit in me.

7:17 AM  
Anonymous mr. c said...

I can get really irritated with the sameness of things in the wardrobe dept. once the school year gets rolling. Despite the fact that teachers have no "official" dress code, there still is one. And despite my regular efforts to shake things up to some degree (jeans on a Wednesday? But it's casual *Friday*), things still can get a bit boring. Variations of the theme seem to help matters.

Yet at the same time, there is something comforting about that sameness once you find a look that really works. People are so used to seeing me in some jeans/tie/blazer during the year that it's quite easy for me to disappear in student-infested spaces (i.e. Target) if I leave that look behind. I also think Cary Grant and Gregory Peck had it right. How often did you see either of them in anything besides a suit?

7:41 AM  
Anonymous cory said...

There's no doubt that those boys on bikes are cute. But how fuckin' boring to wear the same thing every day. I know that you know what works for you and what does not. I think that at this stage in the game, while you're young, in good shape, and a little bit daring, it's good to experiment and try on different "costumes" as it were. I revel in the costume de jour attitude. I know who I am, it's not about that, it's about who I want to be today.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous mr. c said...

Oh Cory, I like that! "I know how I am, it's not about that, it's about who I want to be today." Tape that one above your closet door.

8:53 AM  
Blogger Erk said...

I've no answers, but I find the following texts helpful: Sex and Suits by Anne Hollander and the Style network's How Do I Look?. I'd love to elaborate but can't at the moment.

10:53 AM  
Anonymous chris said...

the same is happening here in cleveland. when i first noticed the rolled jeans i thought i was seeing things. but then steadily there were more people sporting them. i thought. i should try this. but then corrected myself when i determined that it would not suite my personality, on any given day of the week.

i am however in need of a wardrobe update. there are only a few articles of clothing that i cherish. the rest just bored me. they don't look bad, i just tire of them.

7:05 PM  
Blogger mc said...

Ann Hollander kicks all kinds of ass. She and I became quite close in grad school, and I would recommend her books...even if there are moments where you want to throw one across the room...or use it as a pillow, for that matter.

12:35 AM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

Rolled pants? I see it as a cry for knickers. A very sexy cry.

12:54 PM  

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