We live in a world of excess. There are so many things: material things, social media things, existential things. This of course also applies to fashion, where every scroll produces a new micro trend or an influencer announces the death of one trend. Figuring out how to dress can be overwhelming. Shopping takes on the quality of checking off a list, instead of investing in pieces that make us feel good. The internet would tell us that we are either a Carolyn Bessette or a Kim Kardashian, that we are early 90s grunge or early 90s sexed-up glam, putting the idea of personal style in a dark place remains, largely filled by the algorithm. In other words, understanding fashion and actually discovering it has become a confusing proposition.
In New York I found so much spicy direction in today’s subversive sportswear
Then leave it to Ms. Prada to provide some much-needed clarity. “Let’s talk about the clothes,” she said backstage before Prada’s spring 2024 show, designed in collaboration with Raf Simons, which explored the essence of craft rather than the execution of ideas. The collections as a whole were filled with extremely wearable pieces, the kind you can imagine mixing and matching in your own wardrobe, such as perfectly fitting jeans or trousers paired with shirts or dresses with slightly adjusted sizing and details, such as an elongated collar or an extra set of sleeves. There was a renewed focus on the purity of the garments – and with it, much-needed optimism in these increasingly complex and confusing times.
The clothes are something I’ve been thinking about for a while, especially after re-entering the fashion world at the start of Fashion Month in September. Between the pandemic, having a baby, and my previous work-from-home corporate job, I didn’t get dressed like I used to. Clothes weren’t that exciting to me, and I often felt overwhelmed by the micro-trends and ping-ponging opinions floating through Instagram, TikTok, and Substack. It wasn’t until I got back into the personal working world that I realized how much joy there is to be found in the simple act of getting dressed.
Navigating new motherhood while feeling unmoored at work left me paralyzed in front of my closet, not because I felt uncomfortable in my post-C-section body, but because I had no idea what my style was. It had been years since I’d been in an office, let alone a fashion magazine where taste was, at least subconsciously, a prerequisite. I’ve also always hated the idea that women have to dress differently after becoming a mother (more pragmatic often equates to “mother style”), and I knew I wanted to be on the continuum of how I always had fashion for myself approach, which usually included a mix of femininity and tomboyishness, occasionally making a statement, but never too exaggerated.
I was once again reminded of that elusive sense of balance in fashion, to find joy wherever we can these days, even if it’s in a hoodie over a floral ball skirt
My head would spin. Could I throw on a vintage dress over cargo pants and lug-soled boots? Was a custom-made tunic too “quiet luxury” for me? Would I wear my favorite high-waisted jeans and Converse Chucks forever? I had to take it up a notch, with a new gig and all, so I went for it and dressed with everything I had – sometimes successfully, sometimes not. And then the spring collections came down the catwalks and my love for clothes was really revived.
In New York, Tory Burch implored me to think about how liberating it can be to walk around in a deconstructed crinoline miniskirt. She showed them off alongside bonded jersey jackets that you can wear with anything and clutches shaped to fit snugly on the hip. At Proenza Schouler I got the pants that were worn over jeans. That includes the loose-fitting sweater, tucked into a sequined technical organza skirt, which opened my eyes to the possibility of wearing sheer (i.e., try a long top to cover your lower half) and evening wear in broad daylight. wear. Michael Kors did the same, with a wanderlust-inspired collection full of excellent shirts and skirts that felt both nostalgic and modern, my favorite formula.
Also in New York, I found so much spirited direction in the contemporary, subversive sportswear shown at Eckhaus Latta and Rachel Comey: suits and separates made for women who enter their closet with unfettered confidence and a throw-it-on-and- go’ style. attitude, without input from TikTok’s talking heads.
Hillary Taymour from Collina Strada made me long for more color, more print and more ruffles. The forced smiles on the models served as a commentary on the way we are now trudging through the swamp of the world, trying – even with effort – to find happiness in our daily lives, while the world is literally on fire. Personal style, in Taymour’s universe, is ‘an attitude or an aura, if you like. Then the energy and the clothes are perfectly matched,” she says. “Sometimes it can be a signature style trick, like someone who always wears a skirt over pants or someone who always buttons shirts a certain way.”
I was once again reminded of that elusive sense of balance in fashion, to find joy wherever we can these days, even if it’s in a hoodie over a floral ball skirt.
Joy was also hopping at Luar, aided by brilliant Brooklynite Raul Lopez, who closed out New York Fashion Week with a collection of deconstructed suits and killer denim. “I think everyone should dress the same way when trying a new restaurant,” Lopez says. “You go for what is comfortable or familiar, but you also want to try something new.” And if he says I can wear a short suit this season, then I’m going to fucking try.
Then there was the wonder and idiosyncrasy of Francesco Risso at Marni. Risso’s opening and closing looks on the Paris runway somehow managed to satisfy my seemingly oppositional wardrobe desires, starting with a super simple and warm low-slung maxi skirt and turtleneck and ending with a giant blooming dress covered in handmade floral cutouts.
Jonathan Anderson also achieved this balance at Loewe, taking garments like flat-front trousers, flats and fitted cardigans and adapting them with ultra-high-waisted silhouettes, glitter and radical cocoon shapes. I want to wear my pants higher now and maybe try to put a giant pin through the front of my dress. I want to pair a fringed skirt with a utility jacket or blazer, mix fabrics and add ruffles.
It wasn’t just about the movement of the garments; it was about how we move around the world wearing these garments
Movement was a theme throughout the collections, from Ms. Prada’s windswept, sand-dusted preppy surfer kids at Miu Miu to Maximilian Davis’ stunning, painterly blob prints and draped cotton dresses at Ferragamo. And it wasn’t just about the movement of the garments; it was about how we move through the world wearing these garments and, more importantly, how we feel in them when we do. Here I could find my unbridled self-confidence, a ‘come as you are’ attitude.
That humanity also shone brightly through the upcycled trench coats at Balenciaga and the twisted, knotted details in Matthieu Blazy’s collection for Bottega Veneta. The latter lifted me far from the depths of my self-expressive emptiness and to a place where it’s completely acceptable to wander around in a knit romper while lugging all your crap around in a bag that’s actually ridiculously roomy (and meme-worthy ). ) but also beautifully handmade.
As Blazy said backstage, the collection was about “merging worlds” and showing that “everywhere was a new possibility.” That freedom to express myself, that desire to experiment, was what I had been missing.
I remembered how much fun it can be to dress myself
In early October, I left my apartment building wearing jeans, that black tunic I wasn’t sure I could wear properly, and square-toe boots with curved heels that I literally had to dust off before I slipped. them on. The doorman looked at me, smiled and said, “You’ve been looking really great these last few days.” I thanked him and joked, “I have a job and have to wear something other than sweats during the week.” We both laughed. I walked to the subway and remembered how much fun it can be to get dressed.
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