The 10th commandment

i have noticed that one reliable measure of healthy self-esteem (in the physical department) is the degree to which those you admire bear a resemblance to yourself. when my short, curvy (maybe it skips a generation), brunette mom expressed admiration for tall, lanky blonds, that always told me that she had a case of “grass is greener.” and she did always lament her height and figure. (curiously, she also shopped as if she were a tall, lanky person. until i intervened. ;) but i digress.)
i worried recently that the same can be a measure of whether we’re on target for our chosen style. am i the only one who sometimes looks with admiration at someone with a different fashion sensibility than my own? of course i prefer fashion variety in the world, and don’t want us all to fall into line behind one unified fashion philosophy, but in this case i was admiring a very simply-dressed person with a touch of elegance. while my outfits are not exactly theatrical, i am more comfortable with quirk than collected on my self.

can you integrate what you admire without losing yourself?


editor said...

to answer my own question i will say that for the health of my independent style, it is probably better if i look but don't touch. maybe keep it in the back of my head if it helps me from veering too far into a sloppy ensemble, but i am what i am, right!(?)

Carlene said...

My first thought is...I always envy that "Hollywood casual" look: blond streaks, bit of a tan, diamonds and turquoise, "cute" top, bootcut jeans and some sort of heels. I look so. stupid. trying to pull this off.

So I just borrow the blond and turquoise part. And the occasional "cute" top, and maybe the tendency to show off a body part or two occasionally, otherwise I'd look like a monk sometimes.

I'll bet I'll think of something else later, though.

Anonymous said...

I think it depends. I admire those that are always classic, elegant and put together, but that complete look doesn't fit my personality or lifestyle.
If I incorporate elemants, but not all, of what I admire, the look is still my own. But, I couldn't bring in all of another style and still be myself...

Iheartfashion said...

Great photo illustration!
I've always considered Audrey H. a style icon (who hasn't?), but aside from being brunettes of similar height we don't have much in common. (With a great mop of unruly curly hair, I'm never going to pass for Audrey.) I think it's natural to be attracted to what you don't possess-the attraction of the exotic or something. Perhaps as you get older that tendency lessens...I don't find myself wanting to look like someone else any more, just admiring.

Eli said...

I somewhat get this feeling while rummaging through thrift stores and see another young girl like me who could possibly be taking my finds. It puts me in panic mode. It's so silly!

GenX Theorist said...

It was definitely a significant moment in my fashion evolution when I started buying with my body-type as first consideration.

For one thing, doing so really helped me to narrow in on "my" designers.

Remember back in the early 00s when the whole low-waisted jean thing happened? I think the reason they were such a global hit is that it was a piece of design genius. If you take away all that material that causes problems in the mid-section (for me it was always that I'd end up having to cinch in the top of the jeans with a huge belt because the waist was much to big on the version that fit my hips), the jeans will work much better because they simply have to clamp over the hips. Everything above is free to fly in the wind.

So I bought them jeans. And now, when I look back on pictures, I realize how wrong that look was for my body. Because, well, duh...everything above is free to fly in the wind. The hip huggers cut me off right at my widest point.

I have a really high waist and extreme curves. Which means that the best look for me are 40s sillouettes; belts, Kate Hepburn pants, everything nipped at the waist and full in the other two directions. And tailoring is essential to get that waistband in.

I think the appeal of low-waisted jeans, for me, was that I've always loved that scrawny rocker-chick look (Joan Jett type). I guess that's why I was so excited when people started making rocker-y jeans that fit me. But then, just because something fits doesn't mean the look is right.

So anyway, my rocker look was short-lived and in fact, now, I hardly ever wear jeans at all.

Part of my process has been learning to enjoy style and fashion as part of a mindset that includes adoring what looks good on me (aka loving myself) and also enjoying my friends' body types and their looks and what they can do that I can't. There are looks, like rocker-chick, that I should never try to do. But now I can look at others and go - yeah! that's so great! And just enjoy the look from that angle. (That's why The Sartorialist is such a fun blog, yes?)

Anyway, it's a lot about moving from a space of comparison and competition to a space of community and mutual admiration. That sounds very UC Santa Cruz Anthropology class c1993...but hey, that's me. ;)

editor said...

iheartfashion - thank you re. the photo choice! i try my best. i can relate to your last sentence.

eli - lol - i am picturing the panic.

genx theorist - thanks for filling me in on what i missed with the low-rise jeans. :)
it sounds like you really literally and figuratively have tailored your style to your body. A+ for you.

laurieann said...

I finally used a guide book that required me to take four body measurements to assist in determining my body type. This was very helpful because I had previously assumed that I had an "hourglass" figure (because that's what I wanted to have) rather than the "rectangle" figure that I actually do have.

Now that I have the actual knowlege of my body type, instead of just the fantasy I am more able to appreciate why certain itmes truly look better on my body even if they aren't the style I'm drawn to based on aesthetics alone.