People comment on how I look everywhere I go, and I think often about style, and what makes it, and how it can be expressed in a simple, straightforward way. After all, fashion is our most expressive visual language, and desire often defies reason. Nonetheless, I do have a handful of basic rules that I follow.
1. The main thing about your clothes is that you must feel extraordinary when you're wearing them. I recently donated a third of my closet to charity, including items that I loved deeply but came to acknowledge did not make me look my best! For instance, the backpack that made me feel like a turtle. I realized I would never evince greatness while thinking that. I keep a tote bag by my door and anything that makes me doubt my innate loveliness goes into it without a second thought.
2. Spend as much money as possible on as few things as you can. This is not to say that I spend that much money on my wardrobe (the things I get complimented on the most are often from thrift stores), but rather that I'll buy one well-made thing, even if it needs to be tailored, relined, resoled or breathed new life into some other way. If you want to be cheap and trendy, do so with your lipstick. Memorable things can be memorable for many reasons, but I always expect that the things I really spent some time and money to select linger more than say, a ten-dollar shirt from a chain store. Also, the easier it is to buy something, the more likely someone else is going to be wearing it. I prefer to support local shops that carry independent designers.
3. Another thing is that clothes must feel nice. I only wear natural fibers, which, although it sometimes seems too exacting a rule when I have to reject a sweater or put a cute dress back on the rack, I've never regretted, least of all when I get dressed.
4. Excessive detailing is just excessive. Many poorly-designed things use extra frills to obscure a lack of quality craftsmanship. Beauty does not have to be adorned and there really is something to be said for clean lines and spare elegance versus clutter.
5. Take chances. I look for bold, gorgeous elements that, when put together, tell a story. I also wear things for very specific reasons, like last night, I was wearing a halter-dress with a stole over it because I like the way it slips off now and again to expose my bare shoulder. This is a wonderful look late in the evening.
6. Come up with a philosophy. It makes dressing fun. I am always making up little stories about where I might go and what I might do on a given day, based on what I'm wearing. It always begins with a fantasy for me. I have many recollections of my parents dressed nicely for parties when I was very young, and that always inspires me, the idea of what we gather on our bodies in anticipation of a journey to a beautiful place. I wanna go there.
7. It's not that big of a deal. While I am typing this, I am wearing a fur hat I bought on the side of the road in Virginia for five dollars (and later ripped out the musty lining and aired it out on my balcony for a few days), and an old Distillers t-shirt. And only 'cause that's what I wore to yoga.