Modern personal styles ?
I receive many mail order clothes catalogues. Fascinating they reflect what people actually choose to wear. Each company has their own ‘market niche’. Realise I unconsciously put them in my own categories. Which don’t match up easily to the ‘personal style’ schemes in many style books.
Some initial thoughts :
Of course there are the classic tailored classics. Tailored blazer, straight or pleated skirt, tailored fly front pants, band collar shirt or notched collar blouse, twinset knits. Chanel jacket and bow collar blouse, shirt dress or sheath dress for a softer look. Court shoes. Perfect hair, make-up and nails. Several variants of this style – elegant, uniform, glamourous – depending on details of cut and fabric. Worn with slight changes in detail for over 60 years. No wonder they’re called classics. Many people feel their happiest in this style. Many more people wear classics for work or when they want to look responsible.
Here are some of the other style possibilities offered this season, based on catalogues and local people watching (my category names, this doesn’t come from a fashion industry expert ) :
- relaxed business : softer suits with flowing blouses and interesting knit tops.
- country tweeds.
- classic casuals : tees, polos, fleeces, hoodies, shirts, jeans, chinos, denim, plaid, loafers, blazers, padded jackets.
- dresses and leggings : sassy : thigh length dresses, short skirts with high hip knit tops or sweaters, tunics and leggings, bold prints, softer blazers, pea coats.
- dresses : soft : similar but longer and drapey, florals.
- layered : multiple tops worn together, unstructured vests, texture or ethnic prints, thigh length chunky (knit) jackets, pants, parkas.
some subgroups of the layered look :
eco : chunky tops in natural colours, with slim jeans and big boots.
soft : floaty tops, ‘romantic’ or ‘peasant’ trims, with loose pants or long flared skirts, ballet flats.
active practical : sweats and drill/ camo, active sports clothes worn for everyday, sports shoes or Doc Martens.
- trendy : sassy or layered but with ‘this season’ details (polka dots is the easy one this year), crisper shapes, and care with styling and accessories.
- edgy : angular and black, includes ‘rock chick’.
- arty : square oversized pieces.
- prestige : expensive ‘look at me’ pieces.
There are other ‘street’ styles, which I don’t get sent catalogues for ! such as : hip-hop, goth, lolita, grunge. And styles for fashionable areas with trendy bars and partying : vintage glamour, disco bling, military/ safari. These are all “big city” styles which aren’t seen round here.
Some companies aim to cover many current styles, instead of focussing on one. Look at the Next site for the styles they offer this season :
Smart Casual : Hoxton Girl [a trendy area in east London], Desert Dream, Colour Pop, Polka Dots.
Tailored Looks : Future Brights, Graphic Style, Formal Style, Tailoring.
Casual Wear : Downtown Casual, Urban Casuals, Pretty Tough, Modern Native.
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Like most people, I buy from several companies. And I keep seeing people wearing different combinations. There must be many variations.
The key point is that these days ‘casual’ doesn’t mean only interested in comfort and otherwise not interested in clothes. There are many stylish ways of looking relaxed.
Three very different specialist clothing shops survive in this university suburb. (Actually most of the clothes for sale here are pre-used in charity shops !) They focus on the classic casuals and layered (standard, soft, active) styles. Many students wear the ‘eco’ look, but not enough to support a local shop. That and the other styles are available two miles away in the city centre (population 150,000, and said not to be good for shopping).
These are just one person’s observations of the current season in a specific English suburb. I suspect there are strong regional variations, with different emphases in France, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, or different areas in the US and Canada, for example.
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If you’d like some eye candy, or are not sure what I’m talking about, here are typical sources for some of the styles :
Classics : country tweeds : House of Bruar
Classics : minimalism : Pure
Relaxed business : CC
Classic casuals : Lands End
Dresses : Soft : East
Layered : Eco : Celtic Sheepskin
Layered : Soft : Poetry
Edgy : Zara
Boho chic : Peruvian Connection
Prestige : Madeleine (yes, this catalogue includes a real mink jacket )
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Behind the scenes : hopefully, images and longer discussions will be back in two weeks time. . .
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Links available September 2011
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