Sunday, January 15, 2012

the style spotlight: leather pencil skirt

The other day I had lunch with my mother. As I don't have too many excuses to get out of the house and dress up anymore, I decided I wanted to look extra-good. Polished, put together. Show some personality, but still be dressed appropriate to meet my mother in her corporate office, and possibly make a couple of business stops on the way home.

So, I put together an outfit that, when described at it's most basic level, fit that. Polished. Conservative. Put together. Stylish. It included:
  • Boots (black)
  • Pencil skirt (black)
  • Tights (black)
  • Top and cardigan (black & purple)
  • Vintage coat (hunter green)
  • Scarf (sunshine yellow)
Colours co-ordinated and everything pulled together. The yellow added a pop of colour to stop things from getting too drab or boring. All in all, it worked. It fit the bill. Polished. Conservative.

Except, every time I looked down and saw my skirt, I felt a smile creeping across my face. I felt downright subversive. I felt hot and sexy and like I was still put together, but as if I might have been breaking a rule or two. (In a good way).

This is something I long for in clothes. Clothes that make me feel like that, they turn out to be my statement pieces. They make me feel powerful and pretty and like I can take on the world (shouldn't all clothes make you feel that way?) They make me feel like I'm a better version of myself. When I'm shopping, I tend to look for classic staples. Grey pantsuit? Probably going to be very useful. Workplace appropriate dress? I can work that. I try to focus on the pieces that bring everything else together, some classic lines and shapes and simplicity.

I like that hint of originality, subversiveness, eccentricity. There`s two ways to get that: pair the classic with the unexpected. (Adding pieces to give colour, pattern, crazy jewelry). The way I like better, though? That involves deliberately looking for eccentricity and subversiveness in the classic clothes.

It's blazers with unconventional cuts and details.
It's unexpected colours and pattern in everday wear.
Unexpected and risque materials - a la the leather skirt.

Obviously, ones whole wardrobe cannot be like this. There must be simple sweaters and blouses, button fronts and jackets with little in the way of playfulness. This is quite simply because one's whole outfit cannot be subversive: one, maybe two pieces tops. To add any more than that is to cross from subtly subversive and still conservative to plain edgy. There is a balance.

Had I worn a different skirt the other day, that outfit would have had an entirely different feel. Powerful and appropriate? Yes. But also expected.

And that's the last thing I want to be.

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