winter is coming*

Vanessa Jackman

The world has, for the moment at least, appears to have gone to the pits, what with riots in England and our Titanic of an economy steering itself into another iceberg, threatening a slow, painful death. And this while we're still reeling from the Norway bombing and shooting, to say nothing of the the famine in Africa. Bad times.

I felt like a Marie Antoinette after an email exchange with a friend over handbags. I am shamefaced by my frivolity, but a part of me is relieved, and grateful, that I'm in the position to even talk about handbags. Some of us have so much.

Still, even now, I was today struck by a thought about... dressing.

I've always been attracted to comfort dressing, but these days, even more so, given the state of things. What do you wear when you have that nagging feeling of apprehension and faint dread at the back of your mind? How do you dress as you mentally prepare yourself for whatever comes?

I feel inspired these days by clothes that mean business. Smart, chic, yet comfortable things built for mobility. The things I pull out of my closet these days are weathered but sturdy, unassuming in their strength and durability. Shoes I can run in (my desert boots, trainers), crisp shirts just softening at the edges from lots of wear, any of my jeans, a chunky pullover whenever the weather permits, or an unlined jacket. Clothes that are sober, but not grim.

Emily Sweater
Vanessa Jackman, Maya Villiger

These looks are of course too hot for me to wear in the weather. But I like their air of self-sufficiency and purpose. I don't feel good about the world. But my clothes help me get on with it.

*Fans of "A Song of Ice and Fire" by George R. R. Martin, anyone?

Pictures from vanessa jackman and turned out


S said…
Hahaha, the title of your post made me laugh, so perfect and so true ... there definitely is a feeling like something ominous is about to happen, and just because a chapter is titled after you, doesn't mean you are safe! lol. Anyway, I haven't really thought how you would dress in such a case, besides things that are just practical and don't make you appear as if you are oblivious to what is happening around you. So like you, comfortable and sturdy shoes, fabrics that can take a lot of abuse and wear, nothing delicate or frail.
A said…
I know just what you mean. Dressing practically and nonchalantly (even if a certain degree of thought did go into it) helps one feel invisible, even potentially useful.
Amanda said…
Oh thank god someone else in the style blogging world is feeling as despondent as I am. For the past few weeks I've been feeling as if I should dress like a farm girl, be at the ready and make as much monetary donations as possible to any organization that needs it. I don't know if it's just some kind of psychotic paranoia, but I feel as if the sky is going to fall down at any moment and I need to be ready (in that WWII kind of way). And shoes, sweaters and bags are the least of my priorities.
Pret a Porter P said…
I'm not one to watch the news 24/7 but one cannot ignore the overlying feelings of uncertainty and the people that are struggling look like us. Yes we are fortunate to have the frivolity to ponder such unimportant things, but we do have lives, opinions, and responsibilities outside of our public (whether internet or real-life) personas. I like effortless dressing. I can pull blind, not spend more than 60 seconds figuring what to wear, and know I'll look presentable and be comfortable through the day.
Siobhan said…
I've been glued to News24 these past few evenings, swinging between upset and so angry for all of those affected - and it's hard not to feel that all the materialistic stuff is even more pointless that usual. But then, having somewhere to escape into and retain a degree of normality is valuable too, and if that's wardrobe musings, so be it.

At times like this I like clothing that requires little thought - falling back on a uniform of tried and tested, pull from the wardrobe in 30 seconds things. And, as you say - shoes you can run in!
miss sophie said…
very well put. these aren't really times for giant logo bags.

i've been looking forward to fall and winter and sliding into the relative comfort and protection of my leather jacket, and perhaps some post-apocalyptic boots. emphasis on the post-apocalyptic.
Cannot agree more! I'm am dressed very sensibly today, must be the subliminal urge to be ready to flee (this is only semi tongue-in-cheek!) There were riots in my city a few years back that started for a similar reason - protests of the death of a teenager in a police chase - and it is only now that I realise how close we came to a total breakdown of social order. It was a small miracle that it didn't spread.
But, on the topic of distractions, I spent my lunch hour making cat ears for a party costume. Time to forget all the tragedy... for a few hours at least!
yanqin said…
S: Nothing like indulging in medieval fantasy epics for a bit of escapism, haha. There are no riots where I live, but even the thought of them is chilling.

A: I suppose for some of us, how we dress is a way of dealing with situations.

Amanda: I think many of us are affected, but it's not the easiest thing to express. The idea of shopping has become a vague concept for me, but I do take comfort in what I have - material and otherwise.

Siobhan: I become a news addict too when something bewilders me. And hurrah for sane shoes.

miss sophie: I know what you mean by post-apocalyptic :) I hope you're all geared up for Shanghai by now?

Pret a Porter P: Agree. I had wondered whether I wanted to make a post of this on my blog, but in the end, I'm not one for keeping things separate I suppose, hahaha. And 60-second dressing: the envy of us all!

la fille mal gardee: Sounds like a very sobering experience.

Hope those cat ears turned out well!
It's hard to distance yourself from all the disheartening news, especially with the internet and social media and all. This makes me especially sad, since I love London. But it's good to ground yourself now and then, whenever I have a crappy day I just think of how small my problems are compared to other people.

Can't wait for fall/winter! Though I have not been as enthusiastic about making wishlists or browsing runway shots - I think the volatility of the markets is making me more cautious.

I have not read A Song of Fire and Ice but have become obsessed with HBO's Game of Thrones, which is the show based on the book. I have been trying to rent out the book from the library but due to the popularity of the show it's always checked out! I might have to just buy the eBook... I can't wait for season 2 of the show! I hear they stick pretty closely to the book, although a few plotlines have been left out and of course it's dramatized and sexed up for TV.
rL said…
Frivolity in style...Interesting point. It's important; both as blossoming young persons that we start dressing our part. Yoga gear is not necessary to be seen outside the studio, nor in a classroom. Comfort dressing can be done easily with a blazer and flowing skirt, or for a man; a dress shirt and a sleek pair of jeans or slacks.

However desirous of a greater good, I mean by this term as well--the "goods" that have been and continue to be looted; it is ever so wrong to steal. They riot for a new tomorrow, but the only tomorrow they will see is a messy cleanup and a potential jail sentence.

In many ways, we must smarten up.

P.S Excellent post on the parallels between style & rioting.

A said…
Thanks a lot for mentioning this horrible situation!! I also feel deeply troubled by what's going on in the UK these days, and earlier in Oslo. How can people... ???!! Then of course Somalia and also Japan... I currently don't feel like writing about fashion and livestyle related things, but at the same time don't really know how to integrate these serious topics without coming across as even vainer. "OMG it's so sad what's going on in the world but look at this bag".

But I think you're right and the best thing we can do is be aware of the fact, that we're well, and be grateful for it.

btw "winter" is also what I've been thinking of first, after looking out of the window lately...
son said…
its both alarming and comforting to know that im not the only one who feels like this. its frivolous for sure, but talking about clothes and bags is a welcome brain vacation and a sign that life must go on. ive been taking to clothes which prepare me psychologically for a battle, rather than physically reassuring clothes. its times like these (as dumb as it sounds) im glad to have found a style i know works and looks good so i can dedicate energy to more important things.
yanqin said…
koko: Yes, after spending 2008/2009 as a working adult experiencing her first recession, I'm definitely more penny-wise now! Also, I'm experiencing mornings when Im torn between two shirts - definitely a sign that I have more than enough things I can't wait to wear, haha.

The books has plenty of graphic sex and gore, so the TV series isn't too far off. The books definitely have richer characterisation, but all adaptations are like that. The plotline and characters are what's keeping the show from becoming "Spartacus" for me...

rL: Thanks! I am guilty of wearing yoga clothes outside of the studio, haha, but only if I am headed straight home after - too lazy to lug sets of clothing around!

cato: I agree, I was a bit, hmmm can I really post this and then go back to musing about shirts after that? I did my best to put it in context.

The looting is actually quite interesting in the sense that it reflects certain values people hold about "things" and "possessions". I think it says something about the obsession with material wealth. It's only on strand of the whole myriad of problems but it's a telling one.

son: my brain vacation is, as one can tell from the post title, medieval fantasy epics. But frankly, the warring, the betrayals, the realpolitik, the gulf between the rulers and the oppressed - they're quite an ironic reflection of our times, haha.

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