Tuesday, 29 April 2008

New York: The Style Myth

Contrary to popular belief, people in New York do not dress 'cool' like on Sex and the City. And so, I ask you good people; what the fuck? Does this mean we can't believe what we see on television anymore? Is nothing sacred?

Well, good news, I am here to right this urban myth and tell you that while the vast majority of New Yorkers can't be described as cool or stylish, they can be pushed into a very specific (and gawd awful) fashion pigeonhole. A pigeon hole that in my holy opinion should only be populated by five year old children. The women favour the distressed playground-look jeans, a baaaaaaad belt (think cheap looking, studded and big buckled), what appears to be their frumpy mam's Manolo Blahnik wannabe shoes, a t-shirt made out of clingy jersey that rides up repeatedly throughout the day to expose their belly and finally some comedy sized sunglasses. And well, the men don't do much better. Firstly, the shoes. The shoes! Why are they so fat? Everything is worn a bizillion times too big, making even the most handsome of men look like young boys wearing their older sibling's clothes. I can only assume that this is in case they happen to fall off one of the many sky scrapers and need an emergency parachute. Who knew the perils of living in such a city, eh?

Whilst this NY fashion realisation saddens me deeply, it also makes me feel quite smug about living in London. Sure, we may have our own sartorialist cliches (see phoebe's earlier post about east end style), but we also foster genuine originality when it comes to style. Every day on the streets of this fair capital I see someone wearing something in a way that inspires me, that makes me smile. Like today, a flash of 'up yours' rebellion in the form of salmon pink socks peeping from beneath a city suit made me grin all cheshire cat like. And a girl in a mauve tweed skirt, royal purple jacket and fuchsia pink scarf hopping over Blackfriars bridge was a delightful breath of colour in the sea of gray and black.

My point is this. During my visits to NY I haven't ever seen a single person whose outfit made me smile and say 'I like what you have done there, friend'. I haven't even seen one person whose outfit made me smile and say 'I don't like what you have done there, friend, but I see what you tried to do and appreciate the sentiment'. My second point is this. During my visits to NY, I have seen hundreds of people that made me frown and say 'Meh. MeeeeEEHHHhh, friend?'.

What I am trying to say here in my own long, rambling and incoherent way is that while TV and New York may lie to us, London does not. Embrace the people on the street, use them as inspiration when you get dressed. Every day, wear something, no matter how small (a brooch, some patterned tights, a yellow t-shirt, some patent shoes, or this fabulous crown) that makes you smile. If it makes you smile, there is a very good chance it will make others do the same. If everyone smiles we could even stave off the recession. Fact! Well, maybe not but at least the journey to work would be more pleasant and we can rest safe in the knowledge that the fashion crown is safely on Britain’s head. So go forth, friend, and spread the fabulous, smiley, fashion love.


Some Like It Hatton Garden

Imagine my glee (after complaining at length about seeing no-one interestingly dressed that day to Phoebe) on spotting the wonderful Kathy Bateson in Hatton Garden.

The black tights (sensible, sophisticated) with the frilly ankle socks (playful, retro), it's subtle style genius! Bravo! Kathy, love what you did there.


Kathy's coat is from Mind charity shop in Camden, London. The shoes are from New Look. The tights, socks and bag are from Topshop.

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