Friday, 5 March 2010

Sometimes words look as good as they taste

It's time for me to sit down to a steaming hot bowl of my own words. You see, dear reader(s), years ago when I was just a young university student with big logo-emblazoned dreams of a fast and fabulous career in fashion journalism, I spared no one my devout beliefs in what I thought constituted true style. If it wasn't bright, leopard printed or platformed, it simply did not qualify. Between the economic surplus of the dot com boom, the upbeat tempo of Brit Pop bands, Union Jack mini dresses and the ubiquity of logo'd Italian sportswear, understated was not the mot on everyone's lips. Especially not mine.

At the time I had a boyfriend who was one of those rare specimen of suburban kids who are weaned on hot dogs, baseball and pleated chinos but who harbour a subconscious proclivity for the finer things in life. It wasn't long into our romance before he started buying leather-soled shoes and single-button blazers. I couldn't, however, get him to permanently shelve the chinos. Personally, I couldn't get my head around it: why would he wear something so mundane and uninspired and American (a word I spat out with the same disgust I normally reserve for Crocs and lawyers)? He would try to appease me, God bless him, by buying flat-front chinos and pairing them with a cashmere V-neck and an elegant overcoat. But I still couldn't get on board.

Then one day he showed me a picture of a casually elegant man in a magazine wearing a button-down shirt and classic trousers and said he wanted to emulate that look everyday. He called it his new uniform. And I nearly fainted. How could he possibly want to wear the same look day in and day out, denying himself the excitement and wonder that came with studiously throwing things together to create a new style image for every occasion? He was killing the art of dressing as I knew it. And I felt as though he had just driven a knife through my D&G-branded sweater.

Eventually, I moved to New York to pursue that fast and fabulous journalism career (ha!) and came to appreciate the considerably pared down American aesthetic. Dark denim jeans with heels, a crew neck sweater on loose trousers with a fitted jean jacket, an LBD with ballet flats. So simple, so easy. I was sold.

This week, Banana Republic held a media event to promote their new Live In Chino campaign where they espouse the philosophy that a chino day keeps the fashion police away. I was invited to the event and offered a piece to take home. I got a great fitted crinkled blazer in ecru with built-in shoulder pads that reflects a recent trending towards a strong '80s-inspired shoulder. It fits perfectly with my wardrobe of jeans, t-shirts, flats and heels. Which, by the way, is my new uniform. I have a feeling I'll be wearing the khaki out of it this summer. And quietly feasting on my diet of words.   

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