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Monday, March 8, 2010

Where do you look your best?

Yesterday, the bff sent me this article: "Dressing the Part: Why I'll Never Look my Best in This Town", by Elizabeth Weil from 7x7 San Francisco. It's about how some people just look their best, their most natural, most comfortable, most at home, in particular locations. This got me thinking about myself and my friends, and how my wardrobe changes from place to place.

I was wearing pretty much the same clothes I wear around Bernal Heights—jeans, flats, a “good” T-shirt—a fact that I know will upset my most fashionable San Francisco friends who reserve whole sections of their closets for “New York only” apparel: knit rabbit scarves, Louboutins, stuff you just can’t possibly wear here unless you want to look like a hooker, a rabbit killer or worse.

I have a friend (who shall remain nameless), an Oakland native turned true New-Yorker, who owns a rabbit fur-lined hoodie, she told me this in secrecy, hushed tones, one visit while strolling around Bloomingdales in Union Square - even at Bloomies rabbit-fur is not okay in San Francisco. Similarly, when I spent 9 months living in Orange County as a 20-year-old I wore Juicy velour sweatsuits with platform flip-flops, fake french tips, and regularly spray tanned. My friends back home were horrified (especially the aforementioned bff).

California: San Francisco, Oakland

NYC: West Village, Downtown
via the sartorialist, january, and february

I certainly don't fit in in my hood, the Oakland/Berkeley area. I always want to wear heels and a dress, and then have to be worried about looking overdressed or like I am trying too hard when I am really not trying at all, I'm wearing what feels best to me. I love that in NYC I can go out in a party dress and heels and no one thinks it's strange, but I don't really feel like a babe in New York either, like my style isn't sophisticated enough there, at least not yet. I was recently at my local hipster/motorcycle bar around the corner and there was some discussion of my white, 4-inch, peeptoe heels - I was being teased (in the nicest way possible, these are nice hipsters/bikers); these shoes were completely out of place in this environment. I asked my hecklers how they would characterize my style, and got "Alice in Wonderland", and "Strawberry Shortcake".

I’ve developed a theory: We all have a city in which we look best, a city that somehow aligns with our values and brings out our best selves, that same way certain blue-eyed redheads look great in teal.

I don't know yet where I look best. I have found my style become more and more my own as I get older. I think a lot of that is just getting more comfortable with who you are, and worrying less about about how people may judge you. And it takes being a little brave. Like sometime I worry about other girls talking shit when they see me wearing heels in a bar where no one else is; and they probably are, but I've been on the other side of that scenario, the shit talking side, so I can admit that often it's only because you wish you were confident enough to wear it yourself, or because you wish you could pull it off but don't think you can. Anyway, I guess I am gravitating a bit from the geographical topic, but I think it's all connected.

So, do people really look better in different cities? Where do I look best? Where do you?

Have a lovely Sunday evening, mes amours, xoxo.


Anonymous said...

I agree with this completely! I feel a huge shift in outfit appropriateness when I’m in San Francisco versus LA. A very extreme example is walking around in Palo Alto where my parents live and feeling oh so judged for wearing motorcycle boots when I should be wearing Tory Burch sandals or something. There is even a dramatic difference in style between the east and west sides of Los Angles. What people are wearing in Venice, Santa Monica, Hollywood, and Silverlake are all considerably different. I have to consider what neighborhood I’m going out in before I get dressed at night!

tessalexandra said...

So true! Every situation requires different outfits. For me, I dress a little trendier at work, then going out in the South Bay (LA beach scene for those who dont know) where I live, I still wear heels and dresses (usually casualled up with something like a scarf or tights) even though I am wayy over-dresses compared to the other girls... and then when I hit Newport for the weekend, the girls I hang with there dress a little sluttier and I def need my spray tan. Its so fun becuase I can wear all my clothes different ways depending on my situation!

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