Chloe Sevigny. I’ve never been a fan of her style – it’s WAY out there, and sometimes not in a good way – to my sensibilities anyway. But reading this interview she did with Leandra Medine in Net-a-Porter’s The Edit this month changed that – or at least made me think very differently about her, and personal style in general. (and honestly…who better to interview her than the man repeller herself? someone whose style is similarly confounding…)
I love what Chloe says here, that we’ve become too concerned with “good taste”:
LM: Although it’s not superficial, because the way a person chooses to dress is reflective of who they are and what they’re thinking.
CS: But now there’s this lethal concept of everything being in “good taste”.
LM: Too polished?
CS: Yeah. I miss [the time when] things were a bit…off.
Now, I appreciate good taste, and “clean” dressing, but I also appreciate some whimsy and individualism, as long as it’s also thoughtful (my harem pants are very calculated whimsey LOL). I know, maybe that’s an oxymoron, or the two concepts are antithetical to each other, but I do ALWAYS think about what I’m going to wear and how I want to be perceived on that day, in that situation (like Chloe…), and I think style is more “effective” that way. As opposed to when things are just thrown on.
You can tell, can’t you? The difference between a person who is just wearing clothes – whatever’s clean maybe – and a person who is wearing an outfit, who has thought, however briefly, about her presentation and character for the day. The “irony” of course of the casual chic/minimal look we all love so much and respond to, is that it’s not generally just throw-on-and-go – it’s well thought out, either in terms of careful wardrobe planning from the beginning, or at least at the point of dressing in the morning. There is no such thing as effortless chic; it takes effort…
And even though I may not LIKE what Chloe wears, or whoever, I always appreciate and respect that at least they care about how they’re presenting themselves to the world. They’ve made an effort to express themselves and say, in their own way, “hi! this is me!”
LM: What is the process of getting dressed like for you?
CS: It depends on where I’m going and who I’m seeing. I find it difficult if I have a Hollywood meeting and then I’m going into some sort of hip [social] scenario, because those are two different roles that I have to play. I wish I was a person who could wear jeans and a T-shirt and be like, “This is it,” but I’m not. There have been periods of time where I haven’t bought any clothes for six or seven months because I was so depressed by how I needed to look to feel good about myself. For example, if I was going to go out on a date or doing a show, I would think, “I have to have something new or I’m not going to feel good about myself. I’m not going to feel sexy.”
OF COURSE I have thought the EXACT SAME THING about wearing a t-shirt and jeans, wanting to feel like “this is it.” I’ve written about that before, in more general terms; my struggle with being “okay” with whatever I have, with whatever I wear. The problem being, ultimately, that I am not, or have not been, “okay” with myself, so that I use my clothes, and/or buying new things to create a feeling, however superficial, that I am good enough, and feel good about myself.
I suppose I feel vindicated, in a way, that even Chloe Sevigny who seems not daunted at all, by wearing the “interesting” pieces she does, in fact, has moments where she depends on her clothes to feel good about herself.
But it’s also frustrating that so many of us feel this way; that we are so caught up in appearance and thus tie that into our feelings of worthiness.
Then again, it doesn’t all have to be so serious. I love getting dressed. I love wearing “nice’ things. I like to have things I love. I like to express myself in my outfits. I care about what I wear and how I present myself to the world everyday. And most of the time, all that means is that I’m interested in aesthetics, in style, in how I (and people) LOOK. That’s all.
What do you think? Do you agree with Chloe that we’ve become too concerned with “good taste” and long for more “individual” style?
Do you dress for different roles you’re going to play? Do you dress according to how you feel? or how you WANT to feel?
I agree with her “good taste” statement. I tried to do the mainstream dress code (dresses or office attire) earlier in my blog and it just didn’t work for me. However, I do have those “this is me” days .. today being one of them …lol. I have on an old pair of flair jeans, an old t-shirt an athletic jacket and tennis shoes. So this is me today .. kinda slob like, oh, well tomorrow is another day 🙂
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side riff about man repeller- yes! her style is confounding to me too!
however, i really appreciate her b/c i was taken aback by the whole underlying concept of her style,
it forced to me realize that the prime directive in how i dress is to appear as thin as possible ( i was a bigger as a teen – formative years). somehow, i thought this was a goal in how everyone dressed.
but the man repeller has never had this issue, and it isn’t a concern in her style at all.
now i will read the chloe interview.
In a way I feel the opposite! Like so many people are trying to dress to be seen, in this era of everything photographed.
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Lol – I notice this too. Many NYC neighborhoods are crawling with people who look like they’ve really sweated their “model off duty” outfits. And picture-taking of said outfits is rampant, of course.
Grechen Reiter says
i can see that, in certain cities/places. in my day-to-day real life, however, i see nothing of the sort 😉 i WISH people would dress more often like they’re going to be SEEN. you know??
Playing catch-up on blog posts here after a crazy week, but I feel this is an important topic. We all know, or should by now, that “effortless” is really anything BUT! (Maybe for Gwyneth…Nope! Not even for her.)
I find it fun to think about what I’m going to wear and how I want to present myself each day. On days when I’m at home, it might be my navy thermal Splendid oversized tee and a pair of gray Old Navy yoga pants with my comfy socks. But if I’m going to church, it’s either my black Eileen Fisher pants and a nice top or a maxi and a cardigan. So yes, I dress for the occasion. I only feel nervous about dress-up events. I just don’t have a wardrobe for “gala dressing” because I never required it until moving to our present locale.
I have been trying to be more conscious of the “3-piece rule”: It’s the idea that the 3rd piece you add to an outfit is the one that makes it special. So it’s a scarf, or a jacket, or maybe even a necklace. Those are the items that really allow me to express my personality.
I know that I find award show red-carpets a yawn lately. I’m always waiting for someone to show up in something original, but they’re all so styled to perfection by the pros that it’s just plain boring. Brava to Chloe for going it on her own!