Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Not a fashion blogger

 I have a confession to make. For all my talk about not really caring about what fashion dictates, I have a soft spot for (some) fashion blogs, that I check kind of regularly. Those are StyleScrapbook, by Andy Torres, a Mexican girl living in Amsterdam and The Blonde Salad, by Chiara, an Italian girl that seems approachable, funny and even a little bit clumsy, who happens to love road trips too and has a cooking show. I have to say that I find Andy's style too masculine for me (in that I would not wear her outfits, and she rarely wears anything that you would consider "girly"). And yet I find myself going to her blog over and over again. It struck me one day that it was the photography that I liked, so I keep checking.

  Anyhow, last week StyleScrapbook, together with Canon, hosted a StreetStyle competition. All you had to do was send (as many) shots of yourself and hope that you would be shortlisted. I only entered because the main prize was a Canon EOS M (I love that camera). And well, maybe the 5-year-old in me wanted to pretend to be a model for a while. So I got the boy to play along and take some pics of me while I awkwardly posed.

Apparently I really have no idea what StreetStyle means. I thought the term came from "Style from the Street", as in, things you would actually wear to go out of the house. Or outfit photos taken in an urban environment, by cool buildings, parks, crossings... Judging from the photos that got shortlisted and displayed in the album Canon created for the contest, in order to be chosen you had to try very hard to impersonate Lady Gaga. Or wear as many random, uncoordinated items together (like your pijama pants, with heels and a Rolling Stones t-shirt). Sure, as was to be expected there were many shots that were real good. But some of the shortlisted pics were kind of bad (worse than our amateurish tries) and they still got chosen. I was kind of disappointed that the people from Canon did not pick 250 photos for their shortlisted entries as they said they would in the terms and conditions. Instead, they chose only 142 photos as real entries. I don't know what to think. I saw people trying real hard with their outfits, so hard that it felt unnatural or a bit fake (to me). I had a "Who wears that?" reaction to many pics but I guess that just really proves I am not a fashion addict. BTW, so much for picking original outfit shots. I saw at least 4 girls wearing vertical black-and-white striped pants that the fabulous Zosia Mamet (who plays Shoshana, in Girls) wore before.

I guess I will take all of this as my own social experiment on rejection therapy. Did you hear about the guy who has decided to put himself up for rejection by asking totally random things to people he meets? He does things like ask to borrow 100 USD from a stranger, or a flight attendant to give an announcement during a flight, or to get Donuts in the form of olympic rings, so that when he actually gets rejected in real life, it will not hurt that bad. It's an interesting concept. You can read about it here and here.

What about you, are you into fashion? Am I silly for even thinking I could stand a chance at this competition? (Of course I did not expect to win, I am sure our photos are not that good, we are still learning, but I just wanted to play...) Or maybe I should have not tried to pretend and sent something more spontaneously me. Like this. Oh and you can see the winners here.


  1. My ideas about fashion have one founding principle: how to minimize the amount of choices that I have to make when I get up.

    That's maybe a bit brusque - I also care about wearing things that are comfortable and there are certainly styles that I enjoy. The style thing comes in very far behind the not wanting to put in any effort, though, so it is mostly saved for special occasions.

    I find it very helpful to limit my options for easy combining. Hence, I buy jeans in varying blue washings, but always the same make / model and sort my shirts by sleeve length. Shirts and hoodies get five colour options, black, grey, purple, green and sometimes blue. In the morning, I can grab a pair of jeans and one, two or three upper body garments (depending on the weather) and have a very high chance of a colour match.

    If I do play dress-up, I tend to wear either my one set of formal clothes (interviews, business occasions and funerals, really), or, if at all possible, something that looks like it could be from a Mad Max movie. I'm a sucker for a masculine post-apocalyptic look, but in every day life you can't actually look like you're wearing rags stuck together with safety pins and duct tape.

    As you can see, I'm the least suitable person ever to comment on the fashion-aspect of your photo's, although I really do like photo's themselves. Feel free to ignore whatever I write below :)

    First off: I think you have a clear style that is certainly consistent enough to work with for a photoshoot. I also think that people who are into fashion will probably like your style (then again - who am I to say that).

    What I think would make the photo's do better in a contest, is if you would interact with the camera more. Not to say that you'd have to stare straight into the lens all the time, but the photo's in your post have in common that you appear a little shy. Your face is aimed away from the camera, and your eyes are even further averted. It makes you look like you don't want to be there. That's too bad, because you're very photogenic and actually look lovely in every photo here.

    Another thing that could maybe help improve your photo's is a more conscious juxtaposition between what you wear and where you take the picture. I see it a little in the picture where you pose next to the car and in the picture with the round building in the background, I think, but I would try to play with that more. Like: stand next to an old car and wear something that is either from the same era, or from an era that contrasts strongly. Match one colour, or choose a strong contrast.

    I think the corner with the two graffitied walls is a great place for a photo, but your bright, striped outfit falls away against all the wild colour in the background. Had you worn something stark and black (not your style - I think) the picture could have been more outspoken. Not forced, per se, but somethign that puts a little barb in the viewers eye and directs the gaze to where it matters.

    Anyway, I think it is awesome that you are willing to take the spotlight like this. Being photographed isn't easy, in my opinion and you're opening yourself to criticism, which is not at all easy, especially when it is about something close to you, like your personal style.

    With regards to the photo's in the shortlist. I find many of them sort of.. purposefully awkward. Maybe that's what's hip in fashion photography right now, but I don't like it. In that way, I prefer your pictures over a lot of what they picked.

    1. Minimizing the amount of choices when you wake up is a great mantra...and for everyday I mostly do the same.I have polar fleeces and turtlenecks in red, bright pink,green, mustard, blue and jeans and I just mix it together even if it apparently clashes (I don't really care I kind of like it I think they even call it color blocking now haha).
      It is funny we did take a few pictures where I was looking straight into the camera but we thought they looked too posed and we picked those other ones for a more "nonchalant" vibe.
      Something from Mad Max? I think you would have liked a dress I used to have, it was black, strapless, and the bottom was cut in diagonal and had 2 layers,but it looked like it had been ripped off because the edges were not sewn together and there were some threads hanging.I have no idea where that dress it, because you are right, black is not for me (or I modify it to fill it with colors!).
      Thanks for your comment and compliments!

  2. I'm a little bit in love with your clothes. Those jackets and blazers especially and your boots! I don't think it's silly at all that you entered, and it looks like you've got a fan and fearless style. Sounds like the contest wasn't so clear on what they were actually looking for.

    I'm a bit of a clothes lover myself, though I often have trouble making complete outfits. Warm weather (and even cool spring/fall weather) is easy: dresses and blazers or light cardigans and my wardrobe definitely reflects that that's my favourite time of year. My problem comes with the cold weather and finding things that are comfortable (which is a must for me!) and don't look like I just climbed out of my igloo. Winter clothes are eternally my downfall and something that I'm trying to get better at constantly, without so much to show for it.

    It possibly doesn't help that at work people literally wear Snuggies at their desks, so I'm not held to much of a standard in dressing. But I could use some improvements.

    1. Thanks ! And you are so right, I love spring and summer for the same reasons. Dresses are my favorite, and with a sweater or jacket you can soften or toughen up a look. I remember a friend had this long bejewelled Indian skirt, and she wore it with a tank top and a Jeans jacket and she looked modern right away.
      It is so hard to dress for the coldweather. I never know what to wear, or rather I wear so many layers (tank top, turtleneck,thick sweater,coat,tights,jeans,socks, boots, scarf, beanie hat, gloves) that sometimes I can barely move and I feel like a giant stuffed teddy bear or a tamale.
      I have found though that high quality ($$$) fabrics like cashmere are thin and keep you warm, and like you have written about, good boots make ALL the difference.

  3. I had the same reaction as you as I was looking through the pictures... "WHAT??? People actually wear THAT?". Funny thing is that I live in NYC so I should be used to crazy fashion choices, but I'm not. From the winner outfits there are maybe one or two I would actually wear...To each its own, I guess!

    1. Yes there were definitely some outfits that I would wear and some really really nice photos. But what struck me was the weird stuff... like a girl wearing an oversized t shirt, with a huge black coat that had no form at all, ugly pants (well to my taste) a flannel square shirt tied over her waist and high heels. Fine if you dress like that but I don't see how that was fashion... I guess she was making a statement (I don't care was the statement? )
      I also noticed it was the GUYS photos who had more style, and fashion sense, their photos were better posed, those really looked like they belonged in a catalog.

  4. I don't read fashion blogs, they make me yawn. And basically, I don't care about fashion at all. I am very classic in the way I dress and have assumed myself as what Lisa calls a Sturdy Gal. I admire Grand Dames but at 36 I already know I am not one of them. I have never found a fashion blogger whose style I like, so if I feel like seeing fashion, I go to and check Max Mara and Armani's latest collection. I can't afford them, of course, but if I had the money I would buy their clothes. And Hugo Boss women (swoon).
    Now regarding the contest, I didn't have the same reaction as you when I looked at the participants that were selected. I have seen people wear that, especially here in Cyprus and definitely in Paris and NY. Would I dress like that? No, but to each their own.
    I believe the key when participating in any kind of competition (even a job search) is a thick skin and understanding that choices are made from the selector's perspective and criteria, which may be very different from our own.

    1. Well, if I had the money I have to say I like Erdem and Escada. And Dior commercials always feature dreamy dresses. Hugo Boss Women swoon, yes.
      I think from Lisa's archetypes I would be an Artsy Cousin but not all the way. And in everyday life I guess I am more Sturdy (I love pieces that are functional and comfortable and easy to mix) but my like for patterns and colors makes my tendencies more Artsy. Of course when I dress up I like to pretend to be all Grande Dame, but I think that's all in my mind.
      I have seen people dress like some of the contestants yes, though I haven't been to NY. Like you say I think people in London and Paris dress like that, maybe even in Amsterdam. Though I have to say parisian women are a lot more chic and less shabby.
      And you are right about the thick skin, it's not like I really cared (well a bit) but if you look at the pics, a few were really not that good (among the really good ones that came later). Of course you have to understand the selector's perspective and criteria, but like Sheryl said, it wasn't very clear, or at least I didn't really understand it. Which goes to say, that I do love clothes, but I like to do my own thing, not follow... and I guess I wasn't following whatever it was that had to be followed.
      As for fashion blogs, like I said, most of the time I really really like Chiara Ferragni's style (The Blonde salad), she wears lots of dresses, pastels, colors, shorts. sometimes fun prints...But other than that I really don't get it.

    2. No me expresé bien con lo de las reglas, perdon. A lo que me referia es que, mas alla de los criterios expresados, la elección siempre es subjetiva y tiene que ver con lo que le gusta a cada uno. Cómo interpretamos terminos como "originalidad" es subjetivo, depende del ojo del que lo mira. Es igual en seleccion de personal, la diferencia entre dos candidatos con el mismo CV es como nos cae la persona!

  5. I don't understand fashion. I don't know how to put things together that are unique or interesting. I spent most of college wearing jeans, tank tops, and Birkenstocks (can you tell I went to a Liberal Arts college?? and then when I wanted to dress it up, I wore my "tight" jeans (not tight at all) and a smaller tank top and flip flops (much dressier than Birks, somehow). Oh sigh.

    Nowadays, I've moved up in the world. My husband and I joke that I finally figured it out in my 30s. I have highlights and a cute haircut and I have *some* cute pieces of clothing. But really, my work styles range from boring-professional-dressy a la Express or Banana Republic, messy-casual cords and t-shirts, or my new favorite that makes me feel fashionable is the cool top and leggings. I know right? My leggings are no where near as cool as your leggings. Just boring old leggings. But I realized how damn comfortable they are, and paired with cool, drapey shirts, it is the closet I've gotten to feeling "fashionable." My weekend style is just a whole bunch of long skirts. Oh, or more leggings.

    No YOU on the other hand, you had every right to enter that fashion competition and should have made the list. Your clothes remind me of my roommate in college. She could dive into her closet of vintage, handmade or randoms and start making little humming noises and then come out looking like a fashion shoot for the fabulously quirky. Then she'd look me up and down and insist that she at least do something funky with my hair.

    I particularly love the first picture of you with the car and the toe point. That whole outfit is great. Especially the coat.

    p.s. Who doesn't secretly want to be a model? I was super skinny in high school and my mom inflated my ego so big that I was just waiting for a model scout to find me....

    1. Oh thanks for your comment, it made me smile :)
      I do have a thing for patterned tights (I have a post coming on that hehe). When I met the boy, I was wearing tights and shorts. He thought from afar that my legs were tattooed, at first sight. At least it got his attention :)

      And thanks, I love that white coat... I got it for our wedding as it was in September and you never know if it will be cold / windy in NL. My dress had short sleeves, so I needed something to cover up just in case. It is from Benetton, I think they still have similar styles, and when they go on sale the prices are quite good.

      Hahaha that story. You know I used to sing that song from clueless with my high school friends: "I don't care... what my teacher's say, I'm gonna be a supermodel... and everyone is gonna look just like me"

  6. (Llevaba mi lindo comentario escrito de 5 párrafos y me cambié de página...)

    Decía yo:

    Después de tantos buenos y largos comentarios, ¿qué va una a decir?

    Primero, acabo de terminar de ver unas fotos de "Street Style" en Vogue (gusto culpable) y nunca entenderé de qué se trata, me parecen horrendos el 99.99% de los arreglos, una combinación aleatoria e incómoda.

    Segundo, los blogs de moda no son mi hit, generalmente me siento ajena a ellos y no me gustan; con sus excepciones como Gratis Total, que generalmente me alegra los lunes, pone cosas interesantes y sobre todo diferentes. Ahí he conocido "KinFolk" movimiento, no precisamente de moda, pero en el que caigo redondita.

    Tercero, mi "estilo" muy simple creo, tengo cada día más vestidos de diferentes tipos, jeans, pantalones simples y sencillos "de vestir" y miles de camisetas, casi todas sin estampado (por más que trato de comprar otro tipo de cosa, no lo logro). Creo que lo más complicado es que desde que salí de la universidad, 2005, casi siempre excepto por un año y unos meses, he trabajado y estudiado, casi siempre desde casa. Eso hace más complicado pensar en arreglarse, porque es ¿para qué si voy a estar sentada en mi casa, en mi escritorio, todo el día? Eso sí jamás me quedo en pijama... me deprimiría.

    Total, que que bien que mandaste las fotos como a las demás me encanta el abrigo blanco y las botas son súper lindas. El experimento ha dejado una divertidas y naturales fotos, que me parece lo mejor de todo.

    1. Sí, es rarísimo, y bastante aleatorio, la gente va como tratando de ser estrafalaria pero a la fuerza y sin sentido (o eso me parece a mí que de esto del street style no sé nada). A mí me han dicho a veces que rayo en la excentricidad, pero cuando lo hago es de manera auténtica.
      Voy a checar Gratis Total y Kin Folk, los nombres suenan bien.
      Los vestidos son lo máximo, sobretodo si tienes la suerte de que el clima te permita usarlos a diario.
      Yo soy lo contrario, ahora tengo más ropa lisa, pero antes todo tenía que tener estampados, letreros, mensajes, rayas, diseños, patrones... Vamos que soy un billboard ambulante.
      Gracias ! Y sí, el experimeto fue divertido. Luego, de que se comprobó que de moda como lo definen "ellos" no entiendo nada, se comprobó.

  7. Oh goodness you are so cute :) I love that you did this photo shoot! I am absurdly awkward in front of the camera, which is funny coz Rasmus loves taking pictures of me.

    But I also love fashion (in the personal-style way). I don't get to indulge that much because I also don't want to spend a lot of money on clothes. It's not a money priority for me. But I do like trying to be creative, trying to show my personality through what I wear...

    And YEY for wearing colour to ward off the darkness of winter!!

    1. Oh thank you!

      I know, I also like clothes, but then,the ones I like end up being expensive. For instance, I tend to really like the style and quality of Karen Millen's stuff (not everything though), but they are kind of pricey. And like you I do not like to spend lots of money in clothes (Sometimes the boy has to force me to buy new clothes because I wear things until they rip).

      I have always worn color in the midst of the winter, I never really got why black, gray, brown and navy seemed the uniform of the dark months, when it's already dark outside.

      And definitely, adding a twist here and there, letting your personality show through the way you dress can be fun.


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