8 September 2009

A Rural Escape


In my last post I wrote about my fantasies of adapting the beautifully dark, yet most importantly accessible, aesthetic of Helmut Lang. However, the mind works in such a way that our thoughts and inspirations tug and pull at us from all corners. Another fascination I have felt as of late, which is indeed perhaps most appropriate for the upcoming autumnal days, is that of traditionally based functional work wear. Perusing the Fall '09 lookbook for 45rpm, I found myself filled with a city boy's sense of wonder, appreciating the rugged and simple aesthetic of the designs.

Having been born and raised in the city I have always had that rather romanticised view of rural style. And although I have long known it not to be the true image, it is nevertheless an inspiring thought. Just as one would create a sea-inspired or military-inspired outfit, being an adapted and romanticised view of those elements, my fascination with rural and work inspired clothing is the same.

The style I have pictured since I was a young boy is one of functional, and yet wonderfully stylised, attire. A fitted plaid flannel shirt peeking from underneath a chunky hand-knitted woolen sweater, worn atop a pair of broken-in selvedge denim jeans and chestnut brown work-boots, constitutes one image of my autumnal rural fantasy. Each element is functional in is purpose, serving to keep the body warm or designed to be tough and hard wearing, yet the combination of textures, colours and fits creates a clear sense of style.

I am enthralled by the idea of traditional based working attire for it is in truth, a concept foreign to me. I suppose those things which are foreign to us shall always hold an allure in our minds, steeped in the mysteries of the unknown. Yet I suppose that is indeed truly the way inspiration works - we pick upon the elements of a subject matter that we know most about and find most attractive and then adapt it to our own needs and desires.

The style of this collection is one I find fascinating, and yet there is a sense of the escapism to the style in my mind. As it is not a style I am used to wearing, it becomes one that is interesting from a whole range of different aspects and viewpoints. Most importantly however, it is the concept of identity and fashion that truly intrigues me. Taking this example I wonder where one would draw the line between being influenced by and dressing up as? I could quite happily find myself wearing a pair of reproduction Levis from the turn of the century, a rough cotton work shirt, a chore coat and a pair of vintage leather boots, and yet it begs the question as to whether I am simply dressing up to play a part. At what point does an outfit constitute as costume?


Fashion shall always inherently contain and fulfill an element of escapism. By virtue of deciding what we wear each morning, we are making a conscious decision of how we would like to present ourselves to the world. Taking this further down the line, we are consciously deciding upon how others will inevitably perceive us. As such I wonder whether fashion is always a matter of us dressing up to play a part? To walk down to the supermarket one may wear different attire as one would to attend a job interview. Both of those outfits represent us, yet to what extent they are a true representation of us is debatable.

I suppose I have the same dilemma when it comes to certain areas and trends in fashion. There are concepts that feel foreign to me, and whilst I would be perfectly comfortable in wearing them, there is still a question of whether they truly represent me. I guess the answer most would give to this is to simply adapt the fashion to oneself. Whilst this is indeed true, I have always wondered what this actually means. If I am comfortable in wearing something, where do I draw the line as to what would constitute a costume on me?

I feel that costume and fashion are inextricably linked. The outfits on a runway show are presented in full concept, arguably making them a costume. Yet once bought and worn by the consumer, away from the image of the original presentation they are for the most parts no longer deemed as costume. However I think that the idea of dressing up is unavoidable, and it truly is down to the individual. An eclectic and diverse sense of style can often throw up the questions of costume and identity for an outside observer, and yet for the individual in question, it is part of their self.

Escapism is for me inherent in all fashion, yet where style is concerned, it is simply a matter of who we are. Even if for only the briefest of moments a garment can transport us to a different state of mind, give us a renewed sense of confidence, it becomes an experience to relish and enjoy. I apologise for such a convoluted post today, however these are questions that have been on my mind since I first became aware of clothing, let alone fashion. I realise that the luxury of time is one few have, and so to those who have actually taken it to read this far, I would like to thank you immeasurably - you truly are the reason I continue to write this blog.

Just as putting on clothing that is foreign to us can feel like costume, and takes that concept of escapism further, it is for me a wonderful exploration of self. By wearing something I am not used to, or indulging in a style that is in some subtle way arguably not my usual self, there is a wonderful exploration. I suppose that fashion shall always be about reinvention in design, but for the individual it is about self understanding. To experiment with colours, fits and styles, to find what truly appeals to us and makes us comfortable is a life long exploration. Though we may stray from the path at times, most notably in the boldness of youth, it is that journey of self discovery, which makes clothing, fashion and adornment a truly immortal human trait.

I am not saying that one ought to purposely play dress up and constantly indulge in costume, but that to explore one's boundaries is a necessary step every once in a while. Indeed I often find myself wondering how I can take what I have and find a new way of wearing and presenting. It does not have to be a major step, for it is often the most subtle of changes which have the truest effect on our person's. I suppose what I am trying to say is that clothing can reveal to us who we are when we least expect it. A woman can wear a certain dress and find herself feeling more beautiful than she could have ever imagined, and it is the paths we take to those moments that make the journey all the more worthwhile.

Currently playing: We On ft. Lupe Fiasco - Gemini

xxxx

41 comments:

  1. Interesting that you say this look is foreign to you, because it's foreign yet familiar for me--foreign because I don't wear it myself, familiar because outdoorsy functional workwear is part of the iconography of a nation full of lumberjacks and curlers. ;-) What you've shown here is haute lumberjack, I guess. :P

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  2. i love those looks!!!

    thank u for your comment:)

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  3. so agree, love to play dress up--it fun/creative. love the cardigan/sweaters!!
    xx

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  4. We saw Taking Woodstock (really recommend it ! well if you're interested in that kinds of stuff :P)
    Really like the pictures from your Spectrum-post !!
    Take care

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  5. My husband, a DECIDEDLY urban man who calls sitting on a folding chair in the park "camping," is very drawn to this aesthetic, too. It's always struck me as strange ... but then again, I adore punk looks and am about as far from punk as possible!

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  6. Great photos. I love these. I live in a rural area. I've often wondered what it would be like to live in a city.

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  7. I love all these photos and the outfits in them...they make me long for fall. :) These cozy chic outfits also make me want to go camping or spend a day in a small town, stopping at antique stores or eating in a small diner...sigh.
    Yeah, I have a romantic view of rural life as well. Lol. I grew up in the suburbs. :S

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  8. This is such a great editorial- not like the regular darker ones. The models are smiling!

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  9. Such lovely looks!So natural and warm:)

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  10. what a gorgeous collection! the photos are so charming...they really draw you in.

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  11. Really fun pics... they bring back fond memories of the ropes course at summer camp! And I love the Missoni-esque knits, especially those Fair Isle leggings!

    xoxox,
    CC

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  12. Great collection. COZY!

    have a great day DK!

    XoXo

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  13. the short version is that the person in coatume is not me but a part of me, taken and exaggerated.

    i mean the person wearing a costume is taking on a character, but no character should ever be totally disconnected from the genuine self, if you see what I mean.

    the long version is here:

    http://iamsorenlorensen.blogspot.com/2009/07/ridicule-is-nothing-to-be-scared-of.html

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  14. Hiya !
    It's a self discovered always....Today i was thinking some what same before reading your blog......

    You keep on ROCKING ....


    Jolliiees:-)

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  15. i understand about what youre saying about clothes being escapism and how it is perceived by others. for some clothes reflect on their personality and style. and im thinking that if i happen to dress completely outrageous i dont want them to think that im different than they are, even if it is inevitable. i guess being judged is eternally inevitable, its like were just everyday samples for the world to see.

    sorry im babbling, i have no idea where i was going with this. but nice post.

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  16. I am so with you -- I love everything about the countryside. Or more specifically, everything about the idea of the countryside. Dressing for it might just be the next best thing, though.

    Love these looks!

    * Kelsey

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  17. I wanna i wanna i wanna be part of your around the world-project! But i cant comment on that post.
    It would be wonderful to be the first swedish "member" on the list. Can I join in? Pleaaaaaaase?

    Im Kajsa from Sweden and my blog is; www.aenigma.blogg.se
    Anything else you need?

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  18. I liked 6th pic.......some thing strong.

    Cheers(-.-)

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  19. Beautifully written post. My favourite part of the whole post 'The style I have pictured since I was a young boy is one of functional, and yet wonderfully stylised, attire. A fitted plaid flannel shirt peeking from underneath a chunky hand-knitted woolen sweater, worn atop a pair of broken-in selvedge denim jeans and chestnut brown work-boots, constitutes one image of my autumnal rural fantasy.' Perfection ♥

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  20. Great post DK! I love what you wrote about escapism and as my style evolves, I'm constantly on the look out for pieces that may be outside of my usual comfort zone. After all, experiementing with new styles and colors is what makes fashion fun. The collection and photos are very cool with the rural vibe. I could live in flannel plaids! Hope you are doing well!

    xo, Becs

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  21. such fun. Love the life of what they have on..as you ended it..it made me think of something I wore when I was really little at my grandmother's like seven & I wore..a dress that made me feel like a princess that I felt I could do anything in. Well, there was a boy who was older and he was the kind of boy who made you feel you could do anything. And we were taking a walk out in the country. There was a creek. Guess you know what we did. We jumped in. Not the thing to do in your princess dress.

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  22. escapism, what a great word!

    and i see why you happily romanticise rural. i do too.

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  23. I'm sure rural boys have the same fantasies bout the city life too, but its always interesting to present clothing in a rural setting, its vibrant and cool, more like serene.

    P.S: thanx for d bday msg

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  24. another interesting post, as always! this look is very foreign to me too, but i can see a few pieces i could take from the collection and dress up. like those adorable knitted leggings!

    ♥ Hannah

    ((london--rose.blogspot.com))

    xx

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  25. Loving those knitted leggings and coats.

    This collection gives me an idea of really relaxed and a sense of freedom !

    And what you said really inspires me and to think more about fashion :)

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  26. they have this pioneer feel about them that they don't need much to make them happy.

    thanks for the note, too.

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  27. Such a natural sense. I like that.

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  28. so Interesting!
    cool colors of autumn here..

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  29. These are so cute! I love how happy and rather un-fashion-y they are.

    I totally see what you mean about fashion as escapism. I've found that as I dress more like the life I want to have, my life becomes more like that. It sounds really cheesy, but that's the psychological power that fashion can have.

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  30. I used to be more experimental in my dressing when I was skinny and modeling---but now I don't feel so adventurous---I still love costumes and trying new things---but don't feel as comfortable doing it as I used to....

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  31. It is great the appetite for new things, and I like the outdoor look. Too many view outdoors in a practical way, you could go the whole way and wear a Tartan Blazer to augment the outdoor man image

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  32. Perfect looks. I love the simpleness of it all compounded by the wildernessy backdrop - very Helmut Lang meets Muji.

    Love the blog

    Mmx

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  33. I must say it looks really great and well done! DO u know where they sell it?

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  34. I think in my mind, a costume is something you wear with the intention of wanting to look like someone completely different, lacking all traces of who you are. If you're the type to explore with different looks, I wouldn't necessarily say it's a costume - I tend switch between different looks depending on how I'm feeling or which aspect of me I would like to channel into an outfit. I do think if you're wearing something that isn't 'you', it will be visible you're not comfortable and this will look like a costume.

    Loved all these looks by the way. I love the fact that so many of the models are smiling in the photos... it gives the whole thing a more natural vibe and underlines the functionality because it no longer resembles just a photo shoot.

    Hope you're having a lovely week so far :)

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  35. i love that long blue dress with the fur hat! =)

    http://pinkchampagnefashion.blogspot.com/

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  36. i love that long blue dress with the fur hat! =)

    http://pinkchampagnefashion.blogspot.com/

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  37. Such a refreshing look book. I too am a city boy dreaming of a country life, I will escape London town this weekend but won't look half as good as the chaps featured here.

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