Dressing by numbers




at 58, miuccia prada herself represents a fashion ideal for me. both independent and conscientious in her choices, miuccia seems to know herself, and always looks as if she gets dressed deaf to the white noise of the retail industry (her training as a mime might be assisting her there).

another aspect i do not see blatant evidence of in her style is age. i think she does consider it (you will not see her bare arms, a hemline above her knees, etc.), but her look is not easily categorized. her mix of conservative cuts with whimsical details is hugely appealing to me.

though i am now making an effort to understand and dress for myself, and i look forward to settling into my "final" wardrobe, i do expect that it's a lifetime process. i may even have to sit down and do an overhaul again in another 4-6 years, depending on if, going forward, i am successful at understanding my style and buying accordingly, so it might not have to be as extensive as my current efforts. but regardless, there are things i anticipate wearing, look forward to wearing in conjunction with the acquisition of certain ages (just as some pieces i am choosing with an eye to their expiration date – gather ye rosebuds and all of that).

do you have a long term plan?

11 comments:

Carlene said...

First of all, is she really 58?

How I wish I had a long-term plan! I guess I hope to have pared down my belongings to the point where I can then update/replace what has become worn with some sort of realistic vision. I still have the problem of sometimes buying for a fantasy life that I do not lead. Or of a life I used to lead. As far as dressing for age is concerned, I have a difficult time imagining myself dressing much differently at 80 than I do now.

My life is in flux right now, and has been for a while (I have been single, married, widowed and married again, moved 3 times (with more coming), worked full-time, didn't work, worked part-time, worked full-time again, now not working, all in the space of 7 years; I do not know what I want to be when I grow up, except I'm already a grown-up, twice probably...too much info, Dr.?), so I really shouldn't be buying anything at all, although you have inspired me to take a closer look at what I actually have been wearing, get rid of what I haven't, replace the 5 items that have been languishing with one that won't.

Maybe a fluctuating state is just the way my life is always going to be (isn't it for all of us, really?) and I should just accept dressing for flux, and try to formulate some sort of long-term plan with that in mind. If you have any suggestions on how I might accomplish this, I'd love to hear them.

editor said...

carlene - lol, are you thinking she's older or younger?
born 1949 according to wikipedia.
don't worry, i don't believe there is such a thing as tmi (unless it's R-rated *blushing*). you've had a hell of a decade, if you don't mind my saying so.

hugely pleased to know you're doing some weeding/critical evaluation to make your closet more efficient (didn't mean to imply a wardrobe should be practical, not at all. if participating on this blog makes you take out your 4 foot rhinestone headress and wear it to go buy some tylenol then i'm thrilled!).

it's not so much that i have a concrete longterm plan myself, but i keep an eye on the future and i make sure to admire women who are ahead of me, on the age trail. i will embrace a shorter hemline for another year or two, but then i will start thinking about suits - not sure yet if they would.........(sorry about this) suit me. i'm looking ahead, thinking about time in that i'm not going to do the suits now and then in 5, 10, 20 years think, 'damn, why didn't i show some knee when i would have been comfortable doing so?' i don't think there is an age cutoff when one should not show knee, but i already have a sense of what i personally will be comfortable doing. i keep an eye out for what i perceive as flattering/becoming/sexy on women older than i am, and it is consistently an intellectual look, more so than a body-conscious look.

GenX Theorist said...

Ahhhh Miu Miu, my favorite female sartorialist ever. To me she is the ultimate as far as working-with-who-you-are to achieve great personal style. I love seeing these photos all together. How lucky are we to be in the same lifecycle as her eh?

My Mom's best friend was my barometer for 'style that only gets better with age' as I was growing up. First of all, she lives in Amsterdam...how fabulous is that? As a young woman she was gorgeous and had great style through the 60s, 70s and 80s (there are some excellent 70s photos of her with the most wonderful outfits on, totally chic and not fashion victim like most people in the 70s ;))...and as I became an adult in the 80s, 90s and through today I noticed that each passing year her style only seemed to get better. She was a great example of how aging isn't all about limitations...it can be about glamour, maturity and freedom.

There are things I'm kind of "saving" for my future. Wearing long flowing things, for example. And of course, wearing Prada. I'm just assuming (har har, maybe?) that I'll stumble upon some amount of financial independence and get to buy Prada in my 50s. I look at it now and love it so...but there's some joy in making myself wait, just as I think there's joy in keeping myself on a budget for my big fashion purchases.

Actually, one of my favorite "sub-sections" of people-watching is spotting really cool inspirational older folks.

I'm with you Editor, on the intellectual dressing thing. For sure! Prada, along with Marni, Dries and friends, have really made inroads for those of us interested in a more brainy bohemian look...kindof bringing back some of the Art Nouveau/Poirot looks, re-interpreted.

Anonymous said...

have had complaints of difficulty posting comments today. technical difficulty with blogger site most likely.
- editor

editor said...

genx theorist - i think about that, about the people we do have around us now. it's easy to look at past role models and if you let the media be your only exposure, i could see how one could conclude that there are no great options. but they're there.
i also find a certain pleasure in waiting. not really derived from the waiting itself, but from holding a goal/reward out there that i will reach - only requirement is to keep having birthdays, lol. so the anticipated fun, i should say. i like that.
though interestingly, i'm assuming my taste goes the other way from you, and foresee some more tailored styles down the distant road.
amsterdam - agreed, instant cool points.

Candid Cool said...

I've heard a saying that peopel look to what miuccia herself wears because it will be what people are wearing years from now. I like the idea of the simple button down shirt with the extravagant shimmery skirt.

A long term plan on clothing? I'm not sure. But I've got it so my closet is a pretty well-edited collection. Maybe a few years ago, I had a similar problem of buying clothes for a fantasy life or with the thought that I'll wear it some day. Then realizing well I need clothes for now

editor said...

candid cool - i believe that observation about miuccia. i definitely look at her more so than the runway. i read an interview with her once where she explained that she was much more interested in dressing her lower half because that was what she could see when she looked down! but she also added that she was going to begin paying more attention to tops going forward (i was secretly disappointed about that because i loved the idea of such a quirk).

Anonymous said...

do i have a long term plan ?
that is a great question!

that question makes me contemplate how a wardrobe can direct or with
subtlety spawn those future plans, maybe without us realizing it.

Thinking back now, I just realized that I have been choosing clothing that
by the collection, subconsciously formed a blueprint of my future self.

During the last 2 years I have transitioned from purchasing stern suits and
gravitated towards suits or outfits that had whimsy and could convert to my
life outside of the office. I was tired of leading two seperate lives and
spending money on clothing that was not an ideal fit for my personality just
to survive in a work environment during the week.

I think on some subconcious level I might have been planning a change in
lifestyle or career, so that my weekend look would spill over into my
weekly-job look. Either that or i became more comfortable expressing myself
in my clothes on a daily basis at work and then decided to look for a new
job where i felt free to be that person "me" more easily.

my long term plan now is to more "consciously" define my "style" for myself
as an individual, and then select my clothing and the rest of my world to
fit better.

Anonymous said...

do i have a long term plan ?
that is a great question!

that question makes me contemplate how a wardrobe can direct or with
subtlety spawn those future plans, maybe without us realizing it.

Thinking back now, I just realized that I have been choosing clothing that
by the collection, subconsciously formed a blueprint of my future self.

During the last 2 years I have transitioned from purchasing stern suits and
gravitated towards suits or outfits that had whimsy and could convert to my
life outside of the office. I was tired of leading two seperate lives and
spending money on clothing that was not an ideal fit for my personality just
to survive in a work environment during the week.

I think on some subconcious level I might have been planning a change in
lifestyle or career, so that my weekend look would spill over into my
weekly-job look. Either that or i became more comfortable expressing myself
in my clothes on a daily basis at work and then decided to look for a new
job where i felt free to be that person "me" more easily.

my long term plan now is to more "consciously" define my "style" for myself
as an individual, and then select my clothing and the rest of my world to
fit better.

dianabobar said...

I recently thought of that, how I'll dress when I'll get older. But I am scared not being able to try crazy looks out,
so I stopped thinking about it! Whatever happens.

Anonymous said...

I think your wardrobe changes as you go along (or at least mine does), so long-term planning is really hard. and it's even harder if you're a spurr-of-the-monemt buyer.m ;-)