Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Not what I was going for.

It's a good thing I don't have to go anywhere today because I don't like what I'm wearing:

The hitched up shirt thing was not intentional. Neither was the visible bra or bare shoulder.

Why am I posting about an outfit I don't like? Well, because I think it perfectly illustrates some issues that I've been mulling over for a while. And because I want to analyze what I don't like. And, finally, because it seems somehow more interesting to blog about the occasional failure than to pretend that I'm thrilled with what I come up with every time I get dressed.

It seems that whenever I admit that I'm not quite sure about the appropriateness of an outfit I'll have one or two commenters who say something like, "Who cares what other people think!? If you like it- rock it." I'm all for that kind of attitude. I'm fact my own attitude was much the same when I was in my teens and my twenties. But, as I've matured, I've realized that there is a corollary to that kind of statement and it goes, "If you don't feel confident in it you will almost certainly look like an idiot wearing it." As I've aged my idea of what I want people to think of me when they see me has changed. I don't want to completely loose the edge and flair I had when I was younger but I do want people to see me and admire what I've put together rather than roll their eyes and think, "What are you got up for? Is the circus in town?"

Don't get me wrong. I completely endorse dressing for the circus everyday if that's your thing and it brings you joy and you truly don't mind the eye rolling. I've been that person. I'm not now though. Now I aspire to straddle the line right between classic and eccentric without ever running the risk of slipping beyond eccentric into 'crazy' territory. I don't want my outfits to be costumes. I think this particular combination is costumey. It's what my grandpa, never one to mince words, would call, "some getup."

Not too bad with the coat though. Interesting.

Here's how I went wrong. I ordered this new Jean Hicks hat last year. The original I tried on was made up in a medium brown felt. With my coloring the brown hat made me look just a bit too much like I might be a Nazi admiring WWII reenacter. I thought a fun, bright color might mitigate some of the disturbing Nazi overtones. I'm pleased with the hat. I love the bright blue, the slight asymmetry, and the texture of the hand formed felt. This is an altogether striking hat. Which is awesome- and also difficult. You see, I feel a bit like it's my duty to wear hats because I can, and I like to, and seeing me wear them makes a lot of non hat wearing people very happy, if their compliments are to be believed. I feel sometimes that I wear hats almost as a public service. (You're welcome.) The last thing I want to be is a timid hat wearer but this is a lot of hat for me to carry and I want to do it well. I want to be a good example of how chic and how do-able wearing a hat can be. An exemplary hat role model, if you will.

Because I was very excited to finally receive this hat I had been planning (in my mind's eye) what I was going to wear with it. I was convinced that I wanted to pair it with these black boots. Bad move. Because- hello- if you don't want to look like you're channeling a concentration camp guard you should style your military cap with big black jack boots, right? And throw on a fat black utility belt while you're at it. Wrong. That pretty pin attached to your cap can't stop you from looking like a German soldier if you insist on wearing the whole freakin' uniform!

The verdict? Hat and boots and belt together = too much. I'll try the cap again soon with less military accoutrements and see how that works out. In the meanwhile, as always, feel free to offer styling suggestions.


  1. It is a beautiful hat. Jean Hicks is one of my favorite milliners. I love the hat with the coat. I think that you are correct that too much military accessories pushes you into the costume zone. I was wondering if you wore a pencil skirt instead of the leggings if that would work. Break up the masculine with a touch of feminine.... what do you think???

    1. Damn. No pencil skirt. But I'm sure I can manage something a bit more feminine next time. I sent photos of this hat to my milliner friend and she suggested I add a whip and go to work as a dominatrix so I could use the income to support my hat habit. I think, as you suggest, something softer will be more like what I was going for.

    2. OH MY I would never peg you as one of "those"! You have too good of a sense of humor. I hear those bi-tches are humorless....

    3. Really? 'Cause it strikes me you'd want a sense of humor in that line of work. But no, that would not be my kind of thing at all. To each his own, of course, but it doesn't appeal to me.

  2. Margaret--I like the hat, but I see what you think the problem is. Have you visited the Style Crone? She is the hat expert I think in these parts.