“I think people need clothes. It can help people: instead of looking like a clone or a cypher…. people have never looked so dreadful, ever. If you buy something that really suits you, it talks about your character and your personality. It’s like “there’s that guy again who’s got the great coat, with that amazing hairstyle” – it’s good, rather than, you know, these anonymous people who you don’t even bother to focus on them.”
“The Paradox is that people think if they wear something simple, and non-saying, that somehow they themselves will emerge all the more stunning and beautiful – it’s not true.”
Are people wearing dull clothes?
Go to a city one weekend, find a comfy spot to observe people on a busy street (from a cafe window or for free in a bus shelter). There need to be a large group of people moving past, to get enough examples. Observe. Are people wearing interesting clothes? How many?
Try and look for a woman NOT wearing black trousers or black top and NOT wearing jeans. There are surprisingly few. Of those left, you will quickly see what are the ‘fashion’ pieces of the moment – they repeat again and again, and are the main looks in the clothes shop windows. Once you get bored with that – who is left to focus your attention on – is anyone wearing interesting clothes?
For a while, I was interested in the idea of a capsule wardrobe: a small number of items, which can be worn in a huge variety of combinations. Then I noticed that most capsule wardrobes looked similar: black and white clothes, demonstrated by women in beige and white homes with accent colours of…. black. (Try Youtube: search for “capsule wardrobe”)
From my own observations, I think Vivienne Westwood is right: people are wearing dull clothes. I now notice when clothes are interesting – because it’s so rare.
How do you look interesting?
How does Vivienne Westwood look interesting? In this picture, even though it’s black and white, and you’re just seeing a head and shoulders – she’s visually interesting. She’s wearing 3 different prints: the spotted fabric scarf, the checked top trimmed with striped lapels.
Then there are the accessories: a historical military-style cap at a jaunty angle and dangling earrings.
And not just a plain cap: it has a prominent decorative badge on it, also at a jaunty angle to the cap.
But she’s not over-accessorised: there are no rings, no watch and no necklace.
Who are you? How can you represent that in clothes?
Look at the clothes in your wardrobe: are they what you think you should wear, what magazines say is in trend – or have you chosen them because you love them and feel ‘you’ in them?
Try having a cup of coffee/tea and a daydream – remember the clothes which got you compliments. Which outfits do you remember with affection? What colours look fantastic on you? Is there a way they could be adapted to suit you as you are now (hair colour, age, size)? You could make a list of what you’d like to have, and then gradually buy them over the next few years. (Depending on your budget).
There is a whole documentary about her on Amazon Prime at the moment – never a dull moment.