Most of the great life advice that my mom has given me is also some of the greatest style advice I’ve been given. My mom is the master of analogies and always managed to teach me how to be good and look good at the same time. Growing up I always worried about what other kids had that I didn’t. I wanted to dress like everyone else, talk like everyone else, be a carbon copy of the people around me. This included wearing name brand clothes like everyone else around me. In middle school my mom told me that a name on the inside of a shirt didn’t make it any more or less stylish when no one could see it. Simultaneously she taught me that the labels people put on us shouldn’t dictate who we really are behind all of the layers, good people are good people no matter what the label that others put on them say. With people it’s what’s on the inside that counts, with clothes it’s what’s on the outside. Smart woman huh? Well I carry this philosophy with me in my shopping madness to this day. Just because a world-renowned designer says its fashion, doesn’t make it so. Some of the things we peep on the runway are in no way, shape or form fashionable in my opinion. The runway is a stage for creative expression – we need to use it for inspiration, not imitation. So let’s play a little game of “Designer Says”, and I’ll show some catwalk looks that I never want to see you rocking on the sidewalk. Then, as always, I’ll give me $0.02 on ways that you can make these trends real life appropriate. So get ready to put your thing down, flip it and reverse it (i.e., Work it).
Alexander McQueen says: Butt Cleavage
The late, great Alexander McQueen is often attributed as the creator of butt cleavage. He designed jeans that showed a little plumbers crack, and introduced the runway to the illustrious booty boobs. Now Heidi isn’t rocking a McQueen in this picture, but she was a celebrity who was bold enough to let a little crack out on the red carpet. Don’t you dare. The back is a very sexy thing, but too much of a good thing will make you sick. So stop well before that too much starts to creep out. A sidewalk alternative to this is a dress with a deep open back. Middle of the back is where I feel comfortable. But if you like to push it down a little further then be my guest, but don’t get crazy. But keep the front of the dress subtle and covered up. You want to pick one side to expose – back out, front in. Stripper chic isn’t a good look for any of us.
Vivian Westwood says: Bondage straps
We have seen all of these cage looking outfits on Rihanna and Kelly Rowland lately (mmhmm when she let the nips slip), and I understand the Mad Max and the Thunderdome sexy appeal that comes with it. But when you show up to the club with tights covered in straps you look a little more like a hammock and less like a fashionista. A way to do this for the real world is to use it as inspiration for an adorable pair of cage (or gladiator) pumps. Or try one of the very sexy new bodycon dresses that are popping up everywhere (here’s an example of one). This still gives you that mummy, strapped in look without you really looking like a mummy who is strapped in. Guys, I have seen some looks for you with all these straps, and I think the best way for you to use that for inspiration is to pay attention to the texture of what you’re wearing. Try a corduroy when the weather is right, instead of just throwing on jeans or dress pants. Also look for some ribbed cardigans to throw on up top to give your outfit some tactile appeal. This trend is about texture, so give us something we can feel.
Dolce & Gabbana says: Military
I’ve always been a fan of military inspired looks. The key is the “inspired” part. You have to pair a look with something simple in order to let it stand out, but to avoid looking like you’re wearing a soldier’s costume. Guys and girls, I think that a nice alternative to getting this look it to try on some structured pieces with more casual outfits. Pair a boxy blazer with simple jeans or a dress. Throw on some motorcycle boots with a tee and jeans or a skirt. Military inspired is all about a structure and a presence. So you want to keep one piece as a statement and let the rest of the outfit fall in line. You know, you wanna be about face or at attention, or whatever soldiers say *shrugs*.
Gucci says: Cut Outs/Slash
Ugh I see this too often. Girls equate skin out to being sexy, and a lot of the time that is far from bring the case. This isn’t a Gucci dress in the picture but they had a collection not too long ago that was full of these cut outs and slash styles. This was one of those things that I didn’t like on the runway, much less in the grocery store. I think the only option for carrying this look in to real life is to get a subtle (let me say this again, subtle) cut out dress with sheer under the open areas. I’m talking two to three cut out areas tops. Maybe one on the side, a small area in the back and some cleavage open space. ASOS has had some adorable dresses with reasonable cut out back sections. Idread even suggesting it because I know there are also some who want to push the limits and have their dress look like you just had a slow dance with Edward Scissorhands. The minute I see your ribs, buns and thighs hanging out of these dress I will deny you and this section of the post. Please don’t be the reason that we can’t have nice things. Just keep it simple and stuffed in.
Now you, do you have any examples of doomed rounds of “Designer Says”? Disagree with my put downs of advice from the fashion higher-ups? Well tell me about it!
Enjoy your Hump Day and see you back on glorious Friday, once we’ve all made it through another week.
Two snaps and a sashay,