28 Sep 2012

Fashion… Putting It Together… and The Edit

Fashion is a strange beast… difficult to fathom, gentle at times and savage at others. Fashion begs the question… who is taming who?… Fashion sense or dress sense doesn’t come naturally to us all… wearing what we love, what suits us and what is à la mode is a skill, that in most cases is learned not intuitive.

I have always adored fashion and all that it entails… just one of those things… not because of any parental influence or circumstance… I was just a young girl with a love of pretty clothes. I spent all my pocket money, my teenage pennies and my first salary on fashion… Looking back it was probably not so prudent, but that was how it was. After I completed university I opened my own business… a fashion shop… at the time a dream come true… I was working and playing in my most favourite world… and that was my life until my three children demanded more of my attention than the frocks… I really enjoyed the rapport and the trust that I built up with my clients. Dressing, putting together outfits and their wardrobes was what I loved to do… I knew my clients, their personalities and their lifestyles… that is what made my business so rewarding… it was personal… personal for me and personal for them.

Today the shopping experience is different… In most major cities the boutique is few and far between and the sales assistants are far more interested in commission earning than individual service. For those who dress for practicality, rather than passion, it is a hard scene to navigate. Online shopping has now taken the world by storm… I like it and use the opportunity frequently… but the process can be daunting and unfamiliar. It will never replace lunch and a shop with a girlfriend, or a day out with your daughters… but it can sort your wardrobe out easily… once you get the hang of it.

I think of online shopping in the same way that I approach the department store. Different floors… different categories… I choose what I want and try it on in the dressing room… I select the items for consideration and place them in my basket… Once I have finished ‘shopping’, I edit just as I would in a dressing room. To be a successful online shopper, it is necessary to know sizes… to know the fit of the designers that you prefer …  Returning, whether it is free or not, takes time… Getting the right size is imperative and generally, once a brand is familiar, the size will be true to form. Online shopping sites are easier to navigate now… those clunky manoeuvres and checkouts have become much more slick. The returns policies are very generous and besides, nothing beats trying on at home with your own accessories. Online sites are now sharing ‘look books’ and ‘style icons’ which means that we can see how to wear it, what goes with what… and in general we can get a feel for the season’s trends.

Putting ‘the look’ together is the tough part. Knowing what is available out there is only the half of it. Slim lining the options is the other. All the great fashionistas are brilliant editors…. for themselves and for others. The rejecting is far more gruelling than the buying. Superfluous choice is overwhelming and can leave you empty handed and despondent… How often have you left a boutique, a store or a website because the options are just too multitudinous? Then there is the ‘age’ consideration… interpreting the fashion mood, in a way that suits a stage in life, is a talent. I don’t wear what my daughters wear… yet I very much want to be fashionable.

It all comes down to ‘the edit’… like photography, it is having ‘the eye’… spotting that piece that is ‘you’, that will bring you up to date and make you feel fabulous not foolish…The editing is my favourite part of all… long practise and habit from my shop days… I might not be able to wear what I once could but that doesn’t mean I can’t look… Seeing what is fresh, what’s new… what I can recycle… and what I can’t live without.. that is the game… Once I have narrowed it down… then the fun begins.

Edit or editor? how do you ‘put it together’… xv

 

THE J.CREW EDIT

Double Cloth Symphony Coat… great in khaki or black… wear everywhere, anywhere and with everything… here 

French stripes… with anything… here

The Biennial Hobo Handbag… I mentioned this before… Great value and so stylish… here

The best Turtleneck… black and camel… with jeans, with pants… or a skirt.. here

For the Weekend… I love a Duffle… here

Snake it up in these… here… More demure… Mary Jane it… here or these leopard lovelies… here

To view the whole collection click here

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20 Comments

Martine Alison

Bonjour ma chère Vicky,
Un grand merci déjà pour votre gentil commentaire. Vous ne m’étonnez pas en m’avouant que vous aimez Ramatuelle. J’ai vécu plus de 12 ans à Port-Grimaud où j’avais ma maison. Mes enfants sont nés à Saint-Tropez. J’ai tant d’attaches dans la presqu’île que même après avoir quitté la région, il est très important pour moi de m’y rendre régulièrement.
Aujourd’hui en vous lisant, je sens l’amour qui vous guide pour la mode. Tant de passion, de justes réflexions et de professionnalisme dans vos propos… Vous avez dû être un “sacré manque” pour beaucoup de femmes…
Je suis très heureuse à chaque fois de venir découvrir votre blog.
Je vous fais de gros bisous.

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Anita Rivera

Good morning Vicki!

I guess it happens to everyone, but to see SO MUCH CHANGE in one’s lifetime is quite remarkable. I remember seeing my dear old dad experience the joy of the PHONOGRAPH, the stereo, and before he passed way, THE WALKMAN…so obsolete now. But who knew that in my own lifetime, I would see the shift from such a personal experience of shopping with a friend, trying on the clothes and ALSO getting personal service? I refuse to shop for clothing on-line because I HAVE TO SEE what it looks like on me. AND the only local shop I trust for personalized service is ANTHROPOLOGIE. I guess like my father, I will hang on til the end to those things that I refused to let die, like good craftsmanship and human interaction!!!!

Great post, like always! Anita

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Elle from Elle's picturebook

I like more and more to shop in stores with good returns policies (once was burned at Armani & DKNY with their very unreasonable returns policies!) the whole event of going to the city and browsing is so special to me.

I now save the web for what I call boring shopping!! silly things that are hard to find but oh so useful, household items, books/dvd’s – I adore Amazon!

It is interesting how our shopping habits change and evole throughout life.

Elle

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Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen

My first career was in the beauty & fashion business and I miss the personal attention of both giving and getting. I prefer to shop in person, but I don’t always have that luxury when we’re in the mountains with very little selection. Besides, my husband is always in a hurry in a store. You’ve helped make sense of on-line shopping Vicki. It’s really nice to try on things at home and put your look together in the quiet of your dressing room. Merci beaucoup for making on-line shopping more fun for me.

In answer to your question, I edit, edit, edit now and only buy or keep what I love. And J. Crew arrives in my in-box daily :)
Sam

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Laura

I have never been good at editing…my wardrobe or my home.
Your taste and editing skills are to be admired. Thanks for sharing those talents with those like me who are challenged in this area!

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Heather in Arles

Oh the edit, the edit…Vicki, sometimes I feel that it is almost freaky how prescient you can be, it is like you are reading our minds! For this afternoon, I am doing “The Changeover” which is always about the edit (especially as I have already mentioned, I will be shopping in my closet this season). Now you already know how the “trying on of the jeans” went the other day *cough, cough* so I really can use this to shore me up before the attack!

If I knew that you had a shop before, I had forgotten it and I can just see you. You are one of those women that people automatically believe what you say without any hesitation. I bet you were amazing at it. My Mom is a fantastic seller and by no means goes for the commission. She is all about establishing relations with clients to last…they trust her and as well they should.

Hope you are enjoying this gorgeous day!
xo,
Heather

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Stacie Hansen

I work at the big fancy in the US. I do aim for personal service. And yes most of the stores are commission. But, the problem here is online shopping. The home stores are up against the online stores. They throw out better sales,free shipping,better product selection. Keeps inventory in the store down. And this is causing them to close stores left and right. I too do online shopping!!! I try to keep it to things I can’t get, a sale that can’t be matched etc. Enjoy the 2000″s and the online world but enjoy the lunching with girls and shopping too!

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Teresa @ Splendid Sass

I enjoyed reading this, Vicki! I spent a lot of my babysitting money on clothes when I was young, and once in the professional world, I had to contain myself. I love shopping in the store and online, so I can’t get away from it. I so agree that the salespeople have gotten a bit lazy to say the least, so being downright rude. I never go back, but I let the manager know.
Happy Thursday.
Teresa
xoxo

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peggy braswell

I owned a shop also in Fla(when children were little) + I too love fashion & all that goes with it! I am not a fan of on line shopping much prefer a visit to the shop if possible. Great post. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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lisa | renovating italy

I would spend all my money on photography books and somehow missed fashion LOL. I am still waiting for someone to spot me in a crowd and give me a make over….unlikely so til then I’ll get my fashion hit from you dear Vicki!
ciao lisa x

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Veronique Savoye

Bonjour Vicki. Thank you for stopping by chez moi yesterday. Online shopping. Perfect timing, right? You will be happy to hear my new Richelieu arrived on my doorstep today – 48 hours or less after I ordered them, ah, Zappos.com – They fit like slippers and I love them :-) I am going to be the trendiest girl in my corner of American suburbia, no doubt. Thank you for the tip about J. Crew sale. I love the brand too, and will rush over to look at these turtlenecks. A bientôt. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

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Bette @ Ideezine

It can all be an illusion if one is not paying attention. But what fun it is to shop until you drop right in you own home…I agree there is noting like it these days and I feel it will only get better as time, technology, and we allow and learn how.

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Kaaren

I have a serious problem that I throw things out then have nothing to wear! Sound familiar to anyone? I think there really is a void in fashion for women over 50. Down Under in Australia most reasonably priced clothes for just round and about all come from China- everyone look the same. It is with the homes at present I visited some display villages recently but I must admit we are starting to get the hang of flowing from one area to the next and not being closed in especially when the sun is shining as it is today Queensland. Beautiful one day PERFECT the next as the saying goes. I suppose it is starting to cool down over in France.

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miss b

Yet another interesting post especially your paragraph on editing. I too have always had a keen interest in fashion (and as a seventeen year old had a Saturday job in a store where I immediately spent everything that I earned and more!) Such a pity that the individual boutiques continue to disappear. This week I have been ‘editing’ and later today I’m off to the charity shop with the items which hopefully someone else will be able to enjoy.

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pve

If I was going to start all over, I do think that I would be a “stylist” because in order to be a great editor, one starts out as a stylist. Look at all the great editors and where did they begin.
I always admire less and really good quality.
Gucci’s Spring line is gorgeous… beautifully designed and edited. The color, the necklaces are all the epitome of great editing.
pve

Reply

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