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Tuesday , December 14, 2010
Laura Jane's Ultimate Fashion Challenge: Week One
If you had told me five years ago that in a half-decade's time, my claim-to-fame would be engaging in weird fashion challenges and posting them to the Internet, I probably would have found that strange, and remarked that I might possibly be wasting my full potential. But what can I say? Some people get wiser with age; some people throw it all to hell and decide that there is nothing cooler or more relevant for them to do than turn the often humdrum ritual of getting dressed in the morning into a never-ending conceptual art project. I fall into the second category of people.
My compulsion to monomaniacally document every single aspect of my life down to the nittiest-grittiest detail remains a mysterious and often frustrating enigma to me more than anyone (I'm assuming; I doubt anyone else really thinks that hard about me besides my good old egoist self), but I'm hoping that forcing myself to complete the Ultimate Fashion Challenge will perhaps lead me towards figuring it out.
So: what the Helen Keller is your Ultimate Fashion Challenge, Laura Jane?
Well, the most basal rule of the Ultimate Fashion Challenge is as follows:
EVERY SINGLE THING I OWN MUST BE WORN ONCE, BUT ONLY ONCE.
The Ultimate Fashion Challenge is designed to counteract two opposing forces in my life: 1) The urge to constantly waste money on avant-wack thrift scores and/or low-end children's sale rack items, and 2) The fact that despite my obsession with buying clothes constantly, I only ever wear the same five t-shirts, three cardigans, and two pairs of shorts every single day of my life. This makes up about 2.3% of my entire wardrobe. The Ultimate Fashion Challenge will be in effect for as long as it takes me to wear every single item of clothing I own, even (especially!) the ugliest, worst and most embarrassing crap of all. The Ultimate Fashion Challenge is highly strategic and highly stressful, but after one week of participation, I'm also finding it oddly freeing.
The knee-jerk reaction that most "smart people" (or, "people who fancy themselves to be smart") so cleverly fall back on when the subject of fashion comes up is that it is shallow, trite, snobby, superficial, et al. But anything can be shallow and trite if it is approached from a shallow and trite perspective. There are countless aspects of fashion and the fashion industry that I would literally rather shoot myself in the lower leg than condone or be affiliated with in any way (luxury branding; brand as identity; "size zero or kill yourself" mentality) but at once, fashion- particularly the act of dressing oneself- is psychological, political, creative, and a valid and massively important method of self-representation. In short: we all get dressed in the morning- what the hell does that mean?
I'm hoping that throwing myself outside of my comfort zone and introducing restrictions and limitations into an inescapable ritual that I suppose I do take for granted, will force me to think about things I never stop thinking about in ways I never would have considered without having those constraints pressed upon me. And if not, whatever, maybe I'll just come up with some cool outfits.
Tune in to nogoodforme.com every single Sunday for the next ten billion years for my weekly UFC re-cap; to bring you further up-to-date, here are some ground rules:
1. All jewelry and accessories count except my "Laura" necklace (because I never take it off), and shoes/bags/sunglasses (because I don't have enough).
2a) I have way more tops than bottoms in my wardrobe; let's just wait and see what happens before setting any rules in stone, but I imagine that I'm going to have to start a second shorts cycle at some point- I am NOT suffering through jeans in a heat wave all in the name of a pointless and self-governed task I invented for no reason.
2b) Complicated situations such as the aforementioned shorts dilemma or "I have to go somewhere fancy and only have scrapola tore-up junk left" will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
NOTE: Do not abuse these policies, Laura! They are meant to be used as sparingly as possible; in case of emergency ONLY
3a) Absolutely NO buying of new clothes!
3b) If I for some reason find an article of clothing so amazingly fabulous that I cannot live without it and will spend the rest of my life regretting not buying it, I can make an exception, but it cannot be worn until after the Ultimate Fashion Challenge is over, or else I am a big cheater.
4a) Pyjamas and underwear don't count.
4b) However, all pyjama-y items that pass as clothing can and MUST be included in the greater scope of the UFC.
5) If something can be worn in two ways (ie. headscarf vs. "neckscarf"), it can be worn twice (but only twice, or else I'm kind of pushing it) over the course of the UFC.
6) If for some reason I have to change outfits over the course of a day, I have to suck it up and cut my losses: it all counts.
I hope you all enjoy watching me wear progressively crappier and weirder outfits over the course of the next god-knows-how-many weeks. Months. Years. Click behind the jump for Week One's day-by-day recap.
Day 1 (08.04.08): Jamaica sleeveless t-shirt; madras short-alls
I started off Day 1 with a bang by immediately getting rid of a) something that I always want to wear (Jamaica tee) and b) something that I never want to wear (madras short-alls). I regularly deem my short-alls "the bane of my existence" because I like them in theory, but the prospect of actually putting them always seems unappealing. I mean, really, how often does a person wake up in the morning and think "Whoa! Fruit-salad-hued plaid short-alls are the exact representation of how I feel inside!" I felt like I a total dumbass for wearing them, even though other people think they're cooler than I do, but am relieved that I don't have to wear them again for like EVAH.
Day 2 (08.05.08): Cut-off J Brand jean shorts; white wifebeater; yellow sleeveless hoody (vintage Gap from Goodwill); "Imagine Peace" pin
Just as pink is the navy blue of India, flip-flops are the Wellies of summer. It rained on Day 2, which taught me that the UFC is highly conducive to obsessive-weather checking: weather.ca is becoming a very important part of my life, though at least all this business is helping me come to terms with impending autumn and winter. The sooner cool weather arrives, the less chance there is that I'll get stuck wearing turtlenecks in the summertime! At its core, the UFC is is a battle of wits between me and the natural environment. I had no choice but to "waste" my super-killer-awesome-hella-rad yellow sleeveless hoody on today, which SUCKED because I don't get to wear it again forever(!), and now I am forced to ask myself: What the hell am I going to wear the next hot day it rains?? I shudder at the very thought of it.
Day 3 (08.06.08): Pear shift dress; lavender "neckscarf"
I woke up after a three-hour sleep at my friend's apartment, hungover as I've ever been and in the mood to do very little besides crawl into a hole &/or die &/or consume copious amounts of caffeine and his bitchface girlfriend, Taurine. I'd had rather high hopes for this failure of an afternoon, all of which fell apart within five seconds of my being awake. And that is the story of why I ended up looking like I should be breezing along the cobblestone streets of Milano on a mint-green Vespa on the day when I reeked of sweat and boxed red wine and saw The Dark Knight alone at a tackyass multiplex.
Day 4 (08.07.08): Kate Moss for Topshop jeans; woven Guatemalan-y belt; red cut-off faux-Gucci tunicky thing; four blue plastic bangle bracelets
Day 4 was weird because I didn't really have anything to do, so I decided to get some crappy shit out of the way. Then after a couple of hours of wearing my alleged "crappy shit," I realized it was actually awesome! Then I got pissed off about how my Gucci tunic (originally a muumuu) and too-small woven belt are actually the coolest things I own and I was just too ignorant and wrapped up in my "Oooh, I love my scrappy jean shorts and Mets t-shirt" bullshit to notice.
I discovered a loophole in the UFC: if I put a pin on a bag, it becomes part of the bag and can be worn multiple times. I also realized that within the UFC, jewelry functions opposite to clothes. I am really hesitant to wear a lot of my clothes because I want to "save" them, though I don't really know what for. But since I think most of my jewelry is lame and I "don't get jewelry", I want to get rid of it all ASAP so that I don't have to deal with packing on gobs and gobs of ugliness during the UFC's last five days. That's why I wore those blue bracelets. Hurrah.
Day 5 (08.08.08): Blue-and-white striped Oxford; a couple of thin flower-print bangles; little grey Jacadi cardigan; corduroy plaid Richard Chai for Target walking shorts
I didn't mean to end up looking so biz-caszh, I swear! It just happened.I bet this outfit is exactly what I'd wear if I sucked it up and got a proper office job; the only thing that saved me from looking like a total Normie nine-to-fiver/bridge-and-tunneler/middle-manager/slave-to-Father-Corporation is the acid-fried aura of obnoxio-kookiness that hangs about my person. Oh, and I unbuttoned the Oxford really low, because I'm really into showing off my goodies (KIDDING). These cord shorts are brand-spankin'; I only bought them at Tarjay a week ago! They came and went so fast, just like the life of Jean-Michel Basquiat. I highly doubt the UFC will end until the autumn at least, so I probably won't get to wear these again until the spring of next year, and I'm sure I'll hate them by then, just like I hate all the other crappy crap in my crappy wardrobe. Oh wellskies- they're kind of uncomfortable, and in the end, I would WAY rather be a cool committed trooper and stick out the UFC. Go Laura!!
Day 6 (08.09.08): Wack-attack turquoise and pink minidress; black-and-white striped cardigan
Oh, life. What a cold and brutal bitch you are. I woke up on sunny Saturday morning all chipper and jazzed to go spend the day at Centreville with some friends. "What a perfect day to wear an exuberantly-printed ruffled minidress!" I thought to myself as I skipped daintily around my bedroom. Twenty minutes later I was sulking on the train, watching a tumultuous thunderstorm pummel away at the train windows, my outfit choice, and my plans. It ended up being one of the greyest, gloomiest, rainiest and dismal-as-hell-iest days of this whole entire summer. I at first couldn't help but feel mildly more lighthearted than I might have otherwise, so there is kind of a lesson to be learned here: if it's rainy, dress like it's sunny, and you will psychomatically trick yourself into feeling like this is on some level true. However, such a commendably positive attitude can only be sustained for so long; after about three hours of a hurricane/sundress combo, my legs were cold and I wanted to cry. "The joke's on you and your stupid damn Fashion Challenge, Laura Jane," laughed Mother Nature bitterly. And I spat in her face.
Day 7 (08.10.08): Brown leggings with a hole in the butt; reddish tank top; camo-print little boys' thermal from Target
Want to have your mind blown? This is my outfit from TODAY. It is what I'm wearing EXACTLY RIGHT NOW, as I type these very words! Isn't that TRIPPY? Blogging happens in real time, bitches! Anyway, today I am doing abso-frickin-lutely nothing except for posting to nogoodforme.com, so I decided to wear two of the ugliest and least flattering shirts I own. I got this red tank top as part of a "seven shirts for $9!" deal at some janky shoppe in Chinatown; the other two rule (I split the deal with a friend), but this one fits really awkwardly, and is one of those weird shirts that for some reason makes you sweat a lot more than every other shirt. The only specification I had for my personal style today was: don't be naked. And guess what? I'm totally not naked! I'm getting really good at this.
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