aura

Karyna Grey Sweatshirt

Maya Villiger for Turned Out

"I think "aura" is something that only somebody else can see, and they only see as much of it as they want to. It's all in the other person's eyes" - Andy Warhol

I like this quote. I thought of it today because:

i) I was wearing faded jeans and a white loose linen knit pullover and someone (whom I don't especially like, she being catty), said with a (catty) laugh, "You really love that top don't you, you don't seem to wear anything else. And with the exact same jeans too."

I would have rather not said anything, because, really, did such a comment deserve a response at all? But to ignore an acquaintance in front of plenty of people we both know would be rude (as if she cared when she made that comment). So I responded: "Oh, I don't know what else I'll rather wear." And I meant that in the most neutral, matter-of-fact way possible.

I don't think she'd get it the way I meant it. For instance, Maya Villiger's girls on Turned Out are so appealing to me, whereas other people may just see a bunch of girls with messy hair, awkwardly baggy clothes, and a profusion of grey sweatshirts. But it's all in the other person's eyes. When I look through Turned Out, I feel like I've found a tribe of women who understand why the right pair of shorts and the right t-shirt is the best outfit in the world, and for whom a fraying grey sweatshirt is a beautiful thing. Imagine if I tried to explain this to my acquaintance. She'd just think I'm being pretentious.

ii) I found an old bracelet I bought at the V&A museum in London in 2007. It cost maybe GBP3, I can't remember. I do remember that I liked it because it was described as a medieval design, a example of how a typical woman of that time began adorning herself (something like that). It looked so simple, so unassuming, and yet decorative. I found it touching, compared to all the ornate jewellery sitting nearby.

I wore it for the entire trip and for nearly a year after I got home, and then I put it away and haven't looked at it since until yesterday. It's curiously modern no?

IMG_8181

I like the idea that if I looked back a thousand-odd years, a woman would be wearing this going about her business, and today, I could wear it, and go about my business. It doesn't mean anything to anyone but me. And I liked that thought and decided to wear it today.

Picture from turned out

Comments

S said…
truly lovely post, lin. I love how you picked two different stories to relate to that beautiful quote. Your writing is captivating. I also have a friend who always seems to point out (not quite so rudely) whenever it seems I'm wearing the same thing all the time. She even does this when I seem to be putting my son in the same clothes. I never know how to respond. I think you handled the situation with grace.
Amanda said…
I think to a lot of women, their concept of someone stylish to aspire to is someone who has an unlimited wardrobe. It doesn't matter what kind of clothing it is or if it's a complete piece of crap, as long as it's something different everyday. And I think the evidence is in so many fashion blogs you see today - large number of clothes = fashionable. Quite depressing really, if you think about it.
Ah, people. We don't like Ms. Cattypants, but we do like your accessories twin, even if she is rather old. ;)

One of the things I've always liked about clothing is the potential for a positive connection to someone else - either the designer, the seamstress, a fellow admirer, or the original owner, etc. For the pleasure of those connections we can endure the jerks. xoxo
hannah-rose said…
This sounds just like this one time I went to a party in the middle of winter, all rugged up with coat and scarf and boots and the works, and one of my "acquaintances" said this to me - "hey hannah... you look so.... warm" . as if warm was an insult. She was wearing a really tight, short dress despite the cold. I was like, I am warm, thank you. Warm and comfortable. And I like it.

I love turned out - really, I do - and it's for the same reasons as you. it's the recognition of being comfortable in yourself and your clothes, no matter what they are. it's a comfort that can lead to confidence, but the most important thing is to be happy, that makes the clothes look the best. It's something I've realised more and more at the moment. It's why I don't mind so much that I don't really dress up and I always wear flat shoes (it used to bug me that I had so many casual clothes). I'm a dag. It's fine!

I really enjoyed this post.

X
You're important enough for her to notice what you're wearing ;) Now that I think about it, I pretty much get insulted on a daily basis for the way I look some with ill-intent, or they just don't realize what they're saying can be hurtful or just plain un-necessary or rude. I feel when one is of a smaller frame, people just feel like they can say whatever, esp. when one is a captive audience. Taking the high road can be so unsatisfying...:/

That bracelet is beautiful in its simplicity. It's timeless, modern, and personal all at once.
Ammu said…
Lovely post, and so thoughtful considering the cattiness of your acquaintance. I love wearing things again and again. If something works why change it? Then again I am not really a big one for trends. A tiny nod to a trend is fun, any more feels excessive to me.

The bracelet is lovely and timeless. I have the same piece in silver, and one in brass with an amber stone. Just good solid design.
miss sophie said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
miss sophie said…
some people never seem to get out of that schoolyard phase of throwing jabs at others. funnily enough, i have a somewhat similar anecdote from when i was much younger, also from an acquaintance. maybe i'll do a little linked post on my blog.

i completely get what you mean by aura and the beauty of imperfection. i think that's why Marc Jacobs resonates with so many people, industry insiders and otherwise. the story of the medieval bracelet is quite moving. i'd love one in gold.
Stephanie said…
And of course, the irony of that woman's comment is probably completely lost on her: You really do love that top! I think your response was flawless.

I have a very similar bracelet, and I go through the same cycle of forgetting it...and then rediscovering it and cherishing it even more.
Austere said…
An eloquent, well written post that was a refreshing read. I know exactly what you mean and I think you were able to express things that I myself had not found the words for. Funny how such a catty comment could spark genuine introspection.
alicia said…
Beautiful written and entirely true, at least for me. I love that bracelet and even more for how you talk about it.
Fashion Tidbits said…
It's all about trying to be true to oneself. There is nothing more important than that.
Anonymous said…
http://jeannedamas.blogspot.com/2011/07/isabel-l.html

min 1:59
0000 said…
I got a lot of comments like that in China, but I kind of like the idea that I wear something enough that people notice that I have a clear preference for something. I think it would be more distressing if someone came up to me and said, "I can tell you love fashion," than if someone said to me, "You wear that shirt all the time." For me, there's just something so impersonal about "loving fashion" in the sense of looking like you read a lot of fashion magazines and 'keep up' with fashion. It just seems like fashion is a game of adherence: you do are you are told by (insert X magazine), and you can be fashionable.

I would rather be personally attached to a garment--and to be unfashionably attached to that garment--than to look like I just have a lot of...stuff. It's certainly a personal preference that not everyone shares. Different people have different values. But I kind of like it when people say, "It seems like you wear nothing else," because it means I look like a girl who loves a certain garment--not like a girl who just likes...fashion.
Lindsay K said…
Well said. Your response was flawless. You're such a class act! I'm sorry that you have to deal with this. I deal with this type of behavior on a near constant basis and it's so frustrating. I think it's so refreshing to actually wear the items that you love.

I love the story about your bracelet.
Milly said…
So beautifully written and ignore that catty young lady! It is a wonderful thing to love clothes and possess outfits/ pieces you love enough to wear over and over again.X
lin said…
S: Thanks. I liked that I didn't fake laugh it off this time, like I usually do - a rather lame response, haha.

Amanda: I agree. When I'm persistently expected to be impressed, then regretfully I feel a bitchy comment coming on.

editor: You say it best, as usual. I love those connections too, and I can never describe it but I know it when I feel it and it's completely different from passing fancies.

hannah-rose: Thanks! I agree with what you said and comfort > confidence > happiness. The best revenge too, to be happier than the haters.

Pret a Porter P: That's a pleasant way to look at it :) It's terrible, if you're getting insulted on a daily basis, but I suppose as you said, it's sometimes unintentional as well. I think commenting too much on people's appearance should generally be avoided, because you never know how people well take it.

Ammu: Agree. And your bracelets sound fantastic, the brass sounds luxe and gritty at the same time. I saw a bracelet like this made of brass by Philip Crangi (or maybe his second line Giles) and was rather tempted, because I love a bracelet you can just snap on. But I decided jewellery isn't enough of a passion for me to spend on.

miss sophie: I think we all have a little story like that to share. Sometimes I think, gosh if what I wear bothers you so much, say whatever you want, if it means that much to you. I feel that way about people's clothing sometimes (why would a girl wear jeans, sneakers, and a cardigan to a church wedding????) but I rarely feel that a spoken word is called for.

That bracelet in gold would be so beautiful. I love how the design allows it to be interpreted in many different ways.

Stephanie: Thank you! And I think the value of keeping things I don't wear around for a little longer is that sometimes we can have a little moment of rediscovery.

Austere: I usually have nothing to say either, which can be so frustrating, because people think they have you in a corner, but really, it's because it's too complicated to explain. I'm sure we all have these moments, and maybe you'll find your line at the right time :)

alicia: Thank you!

fashiontidbits: You said it :)

0000: Looking trendy holds no appeal for me too. My sisters like checking out trends and working it into their style, and I respect the different approach so long as they're not falling into consumerism victim category. I can see the bright side of catty comments - it's the malicious intent I find galling.

Lindsay: Thank you! The anecdotes you shared about your colleague sounds worse than mine. Your handling of the situation probably inspired my response :)

milly: I agree, when it comes to dressing, it's completely satisfying to know you have a closet full of things you love to choose from.

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