Our two-year-old Karina regularly charms us with “Look at my pretty dress!” Or shoes, or pants…she takes delight and wants each one of us to appreciate her appearance. I wonder if she will keep it up and be one of those girls I used to enviously admire when I was in school. The ones who like Andie, the Molly Ringwald character in Pretty in Pink, could pull accessories together making even thrift store bargains hip! You’re born with it, or you’re not.
I’m not. I want to assure friends and family that I am not fishing for a compliment when I say that I would just like to feel a little bit more “fashion forward” in my sense of personal style. Maybe I should just rephrase that a bit and say that I don’t know what my personal sense of style is in the first place, but if I actually have one, I think it shows up periodically in family photos, when on more than one occasion I have wondered who invited Mary Engelbreit and then realized, that’s me!
While watching The September Issue, the notion was reinforced that I just don’t have a fashion instinct. The documentary chronicles the behind-the scenes push to launch American Vogue Magazine’s most important issue, following editor-in-chief Anna Wintour (rumored to be the inspiration for Meryl Streep’s role in The Devil Wears Prada) and the Vogue team agonizing over the minutest details in order to perfect the fall issue of the world’s fashion bible. I was riveted!
What would it be like to actually care about which colors are going to be the current trend and to be so on top of it you actually owned items before they were so last season? And to know which shoes actually look good paired with each hemline? I’ve watched season after season of What Not To Wear and I still don’t have the confidence that Stacy and Clinton would approve of my choices.
Coco Chanel said “Elegance does not consist in putting on a new dress.” Bless her for that, but she also said, “There is no fashion for the old!” No wonder I’m ambivalent! But why do I care?
Because within a span of six short weeks we are the invited guests to four special weddings. I care about each couple, feel honored to have been included in their guest lists, and happen to be one of those people, there are a few of us left, who believe that wedding attire is important to the occasion. I watched THE Royal Wedding this spring and the guests dressed (amazing hats and all) with the attention one would expect for such a media-saturated, historic occasion. And the weddings of my family and friends are no less important.
So I have been shopping. And having quite a time of it. Perhaps if I would pay some attention to my wardrobe prior to a special occasion it wouldn’t be so challenging. Perhaps I’ve learned my lesson.
Now shoes! That’s a whole different frontier! The garden weddings come with shoe instructions…no heels on the lawn. So I’ve bought a sassy pair of platforms and now I just have to hope that my narcissism doesn’t cause me to land flat on my face. There is that biblical warning, “Pride goes before a fall!”
- Vogue Italia September 2011 cover (thetosinteatime.com)