If the shoe fits

it is common to be inspired by an individual, and to hold that person's style as a yardstick for a desired aesthetic, but while i find people endlessly interesting, as a measure for staying on course for myself i am more inclined to hold up particular items of clothing as a censor/guide. while i haven't owned a pair in years and years and years, there are a number of characteristics attributable to the doc marten that i persistently relate to - you have to break them in to really own them, they get much better with age, they are durable, they are no-nonsense, they are stable and in turn stabilize you, visually they create a firm foundation from which i prefer to pick up volume (i don't do "tapered"). they, or their relatives have been featured on runways off and on, and seeing them immediately makes the clothing more accessible to me, but i can just as easily consider pairing them in my own mind, even if i don't do it in my closet. i don't always do it, i don't even do it frequently, but it is a good sign - if i can see it with docs, i can see it on me.

are there any objects, clothing or otherwise, that inspire and inform your style? do you have a material muse?


Carlene said...

Mine are also shoes (I still have my Doc Martens, circa 1990). But...

Winter...Chuck Taylors. Tres glam. Summer...simple thong sandals a la Diana Vreeland. If it doesn't go with these, I probably won't wear it much, and if I see it on the runway, I'm sure it's for me.

Anonymous said...

A material muse - what a good way to put it.

And how cool to see you use the Doc - I used the very same imagery (just a picture of one boot) as my graphic on my fashion and Gen X thesis.

And indeed, the girls-in-boots thing is still huge for me. I totally see your measurement of if you could wear 'it' with docs, especially in reference to your "test of time" post. All those outfits would look great with docs.

Almost all of my interview subjects for my thesis brought up docs. They continue to be the ultimate symbol of 'us' somehow. I heard a friend of a friend had a "docs wedding" she wore white docs and her bridesmaids wore maroon to match their dresses. My best friend wore Fluevogs under her dress as well and at the appropriate moment, lifted her hem for all the party to see.

(My cousin opted for white running shoes since she's an athlete :))

Variations on a theme, but there is clearly something about the boot that is muse to Gen X.

I think designers such as Dries and Marni are catching on in such a big way precisely because, consciously or not, their aesthetic is all about building on the gal who wants to wear boots (or at least sturdy shoes). And that speaks to Gen X in a big way (and anyone else who might like that sillouette.)

editor said...

^ yes totally, docs definitely go with the "test of time" selections!

dreamecho said...

i love the material muse concept, and i LOVE the way you described docs as having a personality all their own.

i'm not sure if i have such a muse yet as my style tends to be a mixed bag with experimentation outside of my comfort zone... but then again...when in doubt, i try to visualize a pairing with my skinny jeans. so i guess skinny jeans are the closest thing i have to a material muse. the other thing that might qualify is my thick silver band men's watch. it's my version of substance, stability and no-nonsense, and i wear it every day.

editor said...

dreamecho - how long have the skinny jeans been your yardstick?
no matter how much my style has changed, i think the docs thing has been a constant - even when i wasn't conscious of it, my clothes would have passed the doc test. interesting

editor said...

oh, and it sounds like the watch is a constant, but one that can play contrast or comliment, either contradicting a femme look and giving it balance, or matching a more aggressive/bold ensemble. accessories are interesting.

dreamecho said...

skinny jeans have been my yardstick since 2002, which was a good few years before the trend starting popping up in the US. i was in college at the time and there were a lot of female students from japan wearing their skinny jeans. seeing that style of jeans was like denim salvation for me; i had never felt quite right, quite "me", wearing the reigning bootcut of that era. (come to think of it, even when i was wearing bootcuts, i would always go for the narrowest thigh/knee area and smallest flare i could possibly find.) i'm glad drainpipes are having/had their heyday - this allowed me more options (in terms of price) and easier accessibility to stock up. skinny jeans are my staple jean and i will definitely continue to wear them even when they have gone "out". (curiously, notably wide-legged pants come in at a very close second in terms of my favorite pant-styles. this is another staple for me and one that i'll be loving through all the future ups and downs of pant styles.)

....but in regards to your post topic, i don't feel that my thing with skinny jeans qualifies as a material muse so much as it is just a staple (which, i suspect, are two different things).

my watch, i think, is more of a signature piece than a staple or material muse. you actually described my relationship with my watch! i do use it for both contrast or compliment. my don't-mess-with-me watch (plus a no-nonsense bag) keeps me in touch with that side of me, thereby allowing me to explore my more feminine side. eeek....i could totally launch into a monologue about me & my watch right now...but i think i will save that for a blog post :)