Friday, April 23, 2010

Pattern Styling Experiment, Take Two


fuschia animal print wrap dress (Express)
black cami (Old Navy)
black wedges (Lauren by Ralph Lauren)
beaded headband (NY& Co)
pewter disc earrings (Charlotte Russe)
beaded necklace (NY& Co)
black cardi (NY& Co)
black patent belt (Forever 21)
black patterned tights (Target)

Anne-Marie's post from Wednesday, in which she offered an alternative definition of "overdressed," got me thinking about my own styling choices.  How often am I guilty of "over-styling" a look?  My own juxtaposition of different looks on Tuesday also gave me a different perspective on those styling choices.

So, I wanted to keep that conversation going by experimenting with "under-styling" and "over-styling" the boldest pattern in my closet.  The color, print, and cut of this dress work together to ensure that it's something I'd never wear alone unless I was feeling particularly adventurous.  I doubt I would have bought it to begin with if it hadn't been on clearance.  After snapping a photo of the dress by itself, I piled on all the various accessories I have worn with this dress in the past.  I've never worn all of these accessories together, but  I'm not sure anyone would think twice if I showed up on campus sporting all of these items.  I probably tend to over-style more frequently than I under-style.

I think this dress is best with a cardigan, which helps to mitigate the impact of the bold color and print.  If forced to choose between the two looks today, though, I'd probably choose the one on the left.  Before Anne-Marie's post got me thinking about overdressing in this way, though, I might have chosen the one on the right.  Now that she's asked me to think about it,  I'm uncomfortable with the way that piling on accessories says "Look at all these commodities I own!"


  • Okay, be honest: would you ever leave the house in a fuschia animal print dress?  Or should I have left it on the sale rack?
  • What's your analysis of the under-styled look versus the over-styled one?
  • Which look do you think is more similar to those featured on other "fashion" and "style" blogs you read?  Have you noticed a difference in the styling choices made by Americans and those made by residents of other countries on these blogs?  Share links!
  • I'm also wondering to what degree these styling choices are as much (or possibly more) governed by class status as they are by nationality/regionality.  Do high profile people in the American fashion industry really style themselves differently than high profile people involved in the fashion industry in European nations?


Scholar Style Guide said...

Thanks for making the distinction between "over-styled" and "over-dressed," first of all. Conceptualizing the issue according to these terms helps me think through my argument from the earlier post.

I would totally wear this dress! I might wear it with chunky flesh-toned heels to draw attention to the color of the dress, but I like the way you've paired it with black wedges.

Can't wait for readers to weigh in on the question of class. Dressing choices are undoubtedly mediated by socioeconomics, but when it comes to layering/styling, I wonder how.


Diana Mieczan said...

I would wear that dress for sure:) It’s very cute.
Great Post! Have a nice weekend :)

Scholar Style Guide said...

This will come as no surprise: I would so wear a fuschia animal print dress. And I think it looks great on you!

I think your last prompt is especially interesting. I think that styling is absolutely related to socioeconomic status...but also inextricable from nationality, and within that, regionality. For example, I think that urban settings produce different fashion priorities that are reflected in various ways down class lines that are much different than trends in different class straifications in rural areas.


Scholar Style Guide said...

Thanks, ladies. Next time I wear this dress I will try to own the print instead of letting the dress wear me. : )