Thursday, August 05, 2010

It's That Time of Year: Fall fashion

It's August and the weather here is horrible and sticky and hot. Meanwhile, stores and designers are rolling out their fall lines. Which is a cruel thing to do, because it makes me miss the cool days of fall – the sort of days that just like good old days exist primarily in people's imagination. In NJ, weather has a bad habit of turning very quickly from sticky-hot into sleety-freezing rain-shivery. With too few cool, crisp days that smell of smoke and apples, and carry sounds for miles, and when the sun is pale yellow and distant through the yellow and red leaves. Ur-fall days: not enough of them. Anyway.

I realized that the majority of my wardrobe is targeted precisely to those days: not cold enough to require thick coats and hats, not too hot to prohibit layering. It seems silly that most of one's clothing is targeted to some rarely achievable ideal, but here I am. Silk vintage blouses to be worn with wool cropped pants and oxfords, and structured jackets or light coats; white button downs and pencil skirts with tights and platforms and drapey cardigans; thin wool suiting dresses and silk scarves. Thankfully, all of that can be modified to suit winter or spring or summer, but the purpose of it is to take a long stroll through the streets covered in yellow leaves and smelling of smoke.

So it's really no wonder that I get so excited about fall collections. This year's seem to be remarkably in tune with how I normally dress: camel, menswear, sharp suits, tweed Chanel-esque jackets, pearls, vintage.
Here're some great shots, mostly from Fashion Gone Rogue. Vogue Nippon's Dress for Success feature is one of my favorites now.

I also love this dress, from Vogue Australia:

Fashion, just like my idea of fall days, capitalizes on the ideal -- not the expected or the achievable, but how we would like things to be. So for me, fall fashion is an epitome of this imagined life. Not that I expect (or even want) to find myself lolling on a balcony in a gorgeous dress that would never wrinkle even after I sit at my desk for hours; but the idealizing is weirdly liberating. It makes it very clear to me what I love in clothing, a pure signal that's not jammed by all the background noise of "but is it flattering?" or "is it age appropriate?"

A complaint I often hear about fashion editorials is that 'these clothes never look good on normal bodies'. To which I have to ask, "What do you mean by GOOD?" If you mean that clothes on me don't look like they do on runway models, you are correct. If you mean that the ONLY acceptable look for clothing is on the runway models, you are wrong. Different doesn't mean worse, and the very notion of 'flattering', built on the idea of conformity, is suspect. If clothes appeal and make you feel great, I say wear them. Even if they don't make you look taller or thinner, and even if the fabric drapes and clings instead of hanging straight down.

So yes, I've been planning my outfits for fall. In case every day from September 1st to November 30th is perfect and crisp and smells like apple cider, and as I walk down the street I'll hear the crackling of wooden baseball bats from a high school field far, far away.


Victoria Janssen said...

I love your descriptions of fall. It's my favorite season, too.

Did you see all the strange hairy vests? And the shoes adorned with tufts of pony hair? Yeesh.

I do like the camel coats, though, quite a lot.

Fish Monkey said...

Ha, yes, I saw those! As well as disturbingly hirsute bags.

This is my camel coat for this fall. I can't wait to wear it: