There was a great commercial as I was growing up about Parkay Margarine "fooling with Mother Nature." I liked to quote the commercial sometimes and say "It's not nice to fool with Mother (insert funny word here)." Well, I am a worshipper of Mother Elegance (ME as I like to call her) and I'm here to say on this day of pranks and tomfoolery that it is most definitely not nice to fool with her.
I am certain ME is rolling her eyes at things like polyester, pleather (oh don't even look like you don't know what that is -- leather looking plastic), clam hats, cigar box purses and meat dresses. On the other hand, ME is probably digging Polyvore, Pinterest and blogs like this.
Anyway, fooling ME is wrong and it carries with it a certain karma to be administered on you when you least expect it. I was constantly fooling ME when I was younger by wearing 16 colors at the same time (talk about a patchwork quilt), wearing dollar store bead necklaces at dressy dinner parties and sporting cheap pleather shoes without a pedicure (eeewwww) -- these were just a few of my fashion atrocities committed against ME, there were many more. And now that I am older and can afford stylish clothes (and know better how to wear them), I am finding that its harder and harder to find things that fit -- DAMN YOU KARMA!
So, let me take this blog to remind all you young ones of the top 10 things ME wants you to know regardless of your budget:
1) Take pride in your clothes -- repair ripped clothes, toss stained ones, keep them clean and pressed.
2) Purchase quality over quantity -- if an item that you would never have looked at twice when it was spotlighted in the store window is now on sale for 50% off and you know you will only wear it once or twice, is it really a bargain? Instead, look for things you really like, you think look fabulous on you (not just "ok") and are versatile and classic.
3) Choose fabulous over fad -- fads like jelly shoes and bell bottom pants will come and go. Choose timeless pieces that show your elegance and style, not fly-by-night fashions that you will need to replace the next time a designer gets a whim to create the "next best thing". Trust me, the next best thing is usually the next "forgotten" thing in fashion.
4) You can make a statement with elegance as quickly as you can with quirky -- having the most gorgeous little black dress that all your friends envy you for and wearing said dress to many an event is elegance. Wearing quirky, cheap, faddish outfits (only one per event because heaven forbid you be seen in the same outfit twice) makes you look like you are trying to hard to be fashionable and like you are wasting money. You want to be seen as elegantly efficient, not squandering quirky.
5) Never try to fool with cheap knock offs. Style honesty is imperative -- we all know that Hermes bag will never go on sale to fit in a college student's budget so stop trying to pass it off as the real deal. Elegant women may be thrifty or budget conscious women, but never cheap and never liars!
6) Don't brag -- Elegant women don't brag about getting a "deal" at Ann Taylor, we simply wear our clothes and when asked, say, "I bought it at Ann Taylor." Enough said.
7) Elegant women don't scrounge -- They don't root around bargain bins and fight other women for some jersey knit sweatshirt, not even at after-Christmas sales.
8) Try tailor-made -- have at least one dress or suit tailor made to fit just you. Yes, it will cost you about $200-$300 but it will be worth it.
9) Read -- Put down that Cosmo, Vogue or Elle and read a real book about elegance and style. Two of my favorites are: A Guide to Elegance (Genevieve Antoine Dariaux, photo below) and Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris (Jennifer L. Scott).
10) Wear local instead of luxury -- some of the best items in your style arsenal can be found at local craft fairs, local tailors and local designers (need a list of locals, see the blog below).
Follow these top ten bits of advice and I can assure you that style karma will not be so hard on you in later years.