I was in the dressing room with a client helping her find a bathing suit (we found three fabulous ones she couldn’t resist!) when she told me about a must-see movie. I made a point of seeing it the next chance I had and she joined Russ and I for a Saturday matinee. Everyone I’ve run into has heard me go on and on about this film and now you’re hearing it too!
Bill Cunningham New York is a documentary about him and his life and career in New York, photographing people on the street. His “On the Street” photo column appears every Sunday in the Fashion & Style section of the New York Times. It’s a half page collage of photos depicting one theme per week. You might see his street shots of people in trench coats, footwear, rain gear, men’s jackets, plaid, texture, color, etc. He’ll stand on the streets of New York waiting for interesting fashion to go by. He photographs it, organizes the photos in themes so we, the readers, can enjoy the spectacle just like he does. Oh, and he’s an octogenarian who bikes all around New York on his 29th bicycle (the last 28 were stolen). His passion is boundless. The mystery around what makes him tick is nearly as vast. This film could be playing in an art house near you. Check it out!
Quote from the movie
Clothing as armor
In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about what he said about clothing being armor that we can’t do without. I may not call it armor but I do absolutely believe that what we wear helps us function in life with more confidence and ease than if we just wore one uniform our whole life – which actually, Bill Cunningham does! (Odd, I know, but that’s why you have to see the movie and join in on this conversation!)
Clothes give off strong vibes
To help you understand how I interpret this, I’ve got three examples for you. I know that when I need to or want to feel powerful in a situation, my clothes can help support me.
I’ll choose crisp fabrics, something with a collar, strong jewelry pieces. Perhaps I’ll wear contrast in my colors because that’s more powerful than soft, pastel colors. Sometimes when I walk into a room of strangers, I want to feel stronger. Or maybe when I give a presentation and really want someone’s attention, I’ll dress in a more formal, powerful way.
A power core of pieces
Symbols that help you look powerful, when maybe you could use some help include:
- Crisp fabrics
- Bold jewelry
- High contrast in colors
- Strong collars
- Military details like brass buttons and epalets
- High-heeled, closed-toe shoes
Put away the powerful and bring out the playful
So if you or I have a job where we have to wear our “powerful” faces Monday through Friday, we have to be able to tell our brains to knock it off on the weekend and go out and have some fun! By changing our clothes, we can change our thoughts and create a new experience. Clothes can help us relax.
Playful pieces encourage play
Some clothing options to encourage our brains to get out and have some fun include:
- Prints, especially polka dots, abstract prints, soft stripes, florals
- Open toed shoes
- Details like bows, or in the shirt above, tying the ends of the blouse together instead of tucking them in
- Floppy brimmed hats
- Softly structured bags, fabric bags
Clothes that comfort
Who doesn’t need cozy clothes? Sometimes when you come home from work you want to get out of your work clothes but it’s too early to slip into jammies. That’s when you need some clothes that sooth, comfort, and cradle you. This is a sub-group of people’s lifestyle that often does not get the attention it deserves. People resort to horrible, worn out items that have morphed into comfort clothes because they’ve been washed and dried a thousand times. But you couldn’t run out and pick up some ice cream wearing them. You may be used to them but the public could be appalled. Come on! ‘Fess up! You know it’s true! Give this important part of your life the respect and attention it deserves.
Cozy clothes doesn’t mean worn out or sloppy clothes
Symbols of clothes that give off a comforting vibe include:
- Soft, drapy, fluid pieces
- Fabrics are soft, never scratchy or stiff
- Knits make great comfy separates
- Shoes are easy to wear and aren’t full of detail
- Handbag has a slouchy shape and is in a soft leather
- No hard creases in pants
So tell me about your clothing armor! What you’re wearing to face the world? How does it make you feel?