Monday, 9 May 2011

Let's Not Get Loud

There are so many television shows that tell you what you can and cannot wear, all dependent on your age, your sex and your position in life.  None of them, unfortunately, involve a person’s personality.  Apparently, no matter who you are or what you do, when you’re a woman over 40 you’re forced to wear synthetic fabrics that cut your boobs in half, have gathers that hide your tummy and are equipped with the all-magical capped sleeves – cool but still amazing at hiding chicken wings.  There you go, your world of fashion has been defined, compressed and packaged for your convenience.

Screw that, just because you’re at a certain age or of a certain sex does not mean you have to stick to a predefined formula of A-line skirts and froggie shoes.  There are much easier ways to dress the right way for your personality that is both flattering and tells the right story.  Fashion is all about what you’re trying to say and it’s usually pretty easy to read.

A paint stained shirt usually means you’re an artist, a black slipknot shirt usually means you’re a fan of metal and an unbelievably short skirt usually spells out tart.  It’s not that hard to interpret the subtle codes of dressing.  Clothes are usually described as ‘loud’ or ‘understated’ for very important reasons.

Clothes are loud when they scream something, anything, not just a bright colour or an annoying pattern.  Wearing all pink with your name as your necklace usually screams “I’M A GIRL!”  Too much makeup and sunglasses on your head says “I’M TRYING TO BE YOUNG!” While Ed Hardy just exhales “I’M A DOUCHEBAG WITH ABSOLUTELY NO TASTE!” We realise all these things without the blaring signs.  Your boobs point out the fact that you’re a woman, the talk about your latest boy-toy helps us realise you’re still “young at heart” and the fact that you’re personality was learned from WWE is obvious without the Christian Audigier uniform.

Screaming anything to anyone is painfully irritating, it comes across as attention seeking or needy.  As with any form of communication, this applies to fashion as well.  People enjoy the mystery and subtleties involved in getting to know someone.  Laying it all out there is never attractive.

Understated is exactly the rule people need to stick to when dressing.  Don’t say too much and never over do it, in short: “don’t scare people.”  When dressing, you have the opportunity to communicate who you are to other observers.  Statement pieces like a band tshirt, vintage brooch, wayfarers or a beanie are simple items that communicate your personality.  The important guideline to remember is that these items have the potential to show your personality without screaming them.  Onlookers have the opportunity to look at you, get a small sense of who you are and decide whether or not to find out more. 

If all this advice still fails you, listen to Coco:  “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory." – Coco Chanel


  1. Wow! Must admit, even for a man, that was very interesting to read...


  2. Glad you liked it! It definitely applies to both sexes (and all their variations).