18 September 2012, 12:55
Eccentric pop! On my current style crisis & working through it…
I’ve had major yearnings for a complete makeover recently. There are a few reasons for this, my 29th birthday & new job at xoJane being large factors. It just feels like time for a change. Do you ever feel like that? As much as I wish I could have my very own America’s Next Top Model makeover moment, I know that if I want to switch up my look, the onus is on me!
As soon as I sent this tweet out to the universe, I realised how true it was. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I have some great pieces & some very special vintage dresses that I would want to keep… But most of it is ready for a ritual cleansing.
A couple of days later, maybe three years after having read the book, I was suddenly HIT with my Style Statement: Eccentric Pop!
In Style Statement, you carve your personal style down to two words. As they say, “The first word of your style statement reflects your inner foundation, your 80%. The second word is your creative edge, your 20%—and it’s often this 20% that people don’t nurture.”
Instantly, I had a sense of direction, & I knew where to go next.
I began to pull images — an activity made much easier by the existence of Pinterest — & make notes…
The crux of my look is — & always will be — Psychedelic Ladies Who Lunch, but it progresses every year, becoming more refined & whittled down. But while Psychedelic Ladies Who Lunch was a concept, Eccentric Pop is my style statement. It’s more permanent, & works better as a guiding principle.
The 80/20 split keeps things interesting. The Pop part keeps me from veering too far into tortured baroness chic, while the Eccentric foundation reminds me to continually pursue all things odd & gauche.
It’s incredible the amount of comfort I feel in having established my style statement!
Bright lips; irrational shoes; major lashes.
Eccentric: Oversized hats, an armful of sparkly bangles, mirrored dresses, leather bunny ears, gold-spiked cowboy boots, psychedelic prints, velvet coats, fringed boots, huge jangly necklaces, flower crowns, sequin handbags, a trunk full of hats, ostentatious earrings…
Pop: Graphic polka-dots, striped crop sweaters, high heels covered in glitter, thick black eyeliner, 1960s Pepto-Bismol pink dresses, bright skirts, leopard print, metallic satchels, chiffon pleats….
The idea is not just to look zany for zany’s sake, but to be a character & also put-together! (Eccentric Pop is hyperfemme but always a little weird.)
My first step towards Eccentric Pop was a haircut. After realising that I hadn’t had an actual hairstyle in years, I decided to go for the chop. The result? A raven-black lob with miniature bangs, & I love it!
My style is still about bright colours & unusual details, but with a more tailored edge. It’s ladylike but a little more… cray. I used to think they were oh-so-conservative, but recently, cute, cropped blazers have become one of my favourite ways to finish off an outfit. This applies even moreso if they are hot pink or dotted with weird buttons from the 1960s!
I feel the need to simplify my look, while at the same time having more visual impact. The older I get, the less interested I am in piling on accessories & geegaws just because I can. These days, I am more considered about the elements of my outfit, & it feels good.
I have a newfound respect for “basics”, which I previously found so boring & unnecessary. Now I have learned that a good basic — like a hot pink skirt or a purple t-shirt in a great cut — allows the other parts of your outfit to sing.
It’s not about more-is-more-is-more-is-more… It’s about thinking carefully about each element, & realising that even simple pieces put together in an unconventional way can have a brilliant visual reverberation.
One thing that has helped me is to stop buying clothes in a haphazard way. Previously, I would walk into a store & purchase one piece that spoke to me. This is a great way to build a wild & wacky wardrobe… But not necessarily one that fits together in a cohesive fashion.
As weird as it may sound, I have started to buy outfits. Maybe this was obvious to everyone else from the very beginning. Not so for me! Of course, I don’t buy something off a mannequin, or wear a “complete look” from a designer — that kind of grosses me out. But I do think about what this or that will go with, instead of just hoping I can work it into my closet when I get home.
Thinking — & acting! — like this has changed things for me in a major way, even though I have only been doing it for a really short amount of time.
Proportion, proportion, proportion. I am thinking more & more about the way pieces of clothing interact with one another, everything from fit to length to the way the colours play.
Crop tops with high-waisted, a-line, knee-length skirts. Tanks tucked into maxi skirts. Olive green straight-cut pants worn with nude open-toed heels. Big, floppy hats with long, loose skirts…
My past flirtation with all things 1950’s is officially over. At the time, it felt cute & fresh… Now it feels dowdy & frumpy. As much as I love the elegance of it all, it’s not something I want to wear anymore.
These days, I am newly devoted to skirts that are above the knee or maxi-length. Midis & minis are opposite sides of a coin I want no part of! You have to know the lengths that look best on you, & finally, I do.
Eccentric Pop is about cultivating a wardrobe full of special pieces. It’s about being deliberate & thoughtful. Why buy things you’re not crazy about?
Coats are oversized faux fur or tailored, mod, candy-coloured, to the knee. Fingernails are covered in glitter or decked out with stickers. Eyelashes are exaggerated & lips are stained hot pink.
To collect: Big round sunglasses, & tinted spectacles with crystal dotted around the outside. Fabulous handbags. Rings in the shape of stars. Cuffs made with pointy quartz crystals & Laduree candles.
Eccentric Pop is about collecting stamps in your passport & seeking the beauty in your everyday life. It’s about not being afraid to have your own, distinctive style, & not buying into everything other people are doing. It’s about finding the silhouettes that suit you & knowing your power colour.
Your style is your relationship to the world… So why not make it magnificent?
Lighting candles when you sit down to write, fresh bunches of roses on your desk, finding a loose Swarovski crystal in your bathtub… This is what it means to be Eccentric Pop.
“I think the greatest fashion faux pas is looking in the mirror & seeing somebody else.” (Iris Apfel)