A few days ago, an anonymous reader left a comment saying that my style was plain jane, and that I get over hyped for my fashion sense. That my blog title didn't suit me at all. Which made me think. How does one get taken seriously as a fashion blogger in the Philippines. Do I have to dress like this?
I have never met these girls, and they do look sweet and adorable in the Asian fashion kind of way. However, these looks work if you are in your teens or twenties. All that color, layering, cheap (read: synthetic) fabrics, lots of make-up, tons of piled on accessories, sky high heels. When you are young, the sky's the limit.
But I do think most Filipinas need to learn more about real fashion and personal style. It's just become too formulaic. They all think, the crazier the look is, the more it is "fasyon" - a term I hate, along with the skin-crawling "fashionista" which is so 1995 if you ask me. They wear everything all together, and if "carry" then voila, fashionista.
Oh! And don't Filipinas just love Longchamp? I don't get it. Maybe because it's the closest thing to a an acceptable "designer" bag if you don't have the budget for one. Little did I know when I first wrote about Longchamps in 2007, that it would become so ubiquitous in Manila! My friends and I especially don't get how some women are so conscious about designer bags, when they do have one. The way they hold it by the crook of their arm, and treat it so precious as if it were their own child. It has to be effortless you know, it has to be you carying the bag and not the bag carrying you. I can't remember who said it, but she said something like "True luxury is beating up an expensive handbag". Which is true in a sense, because you can afford to replace it anyway. And don't get me started with women who wear crazy ass heels but look like they are wobbling when walking. If you're gonna do it, do it like Daphne Guinness!
I can go on and on, but I'd rather we look at "fashion icons" outside the Philippines and tell me if there's something they all know, that "fashionable" Filipinas don't.
US: Here's The Row's Ashley Olsen, who has made a name for herself in industry making luxe basics that women want to wear, never mind the insane price tag. Then there's socialite Olivia Palermo, who does artful layering, but with a restraint that is so impeccably chic.
France: French Vogue editor Emmanuelle Alt wears the most basic pieces but everything is perfectly slouchy, perfectly tailored, and perfectly fitting. Even the way she semi-untucks a shirt is an art in itself. Then there's the scruffy chic Lou Doillon who can wear anything, but loves well-worn jeans and her mother Jane Birkin's beat-up Chuck Taylors (I think I read that in Vogue)
UK: Alexa Chung. She styles herself well, is a muse to many, and has probably made a small fortune designing for collaborations with Mulberry & Madewell. Kate Moss, who said, "clothes go in and out of fashion, but that's not style. Style has to be classic." knows what she's talking about. She has an appreciation for fit, fabric and tailoring, and when put together, that's effortless style.
Take a close look at these set of icons and then go to our local versions. There is a whale of a difference in terms of style and aesthetics but that is what resonates and gains a following in our country. It could be cultural, I don't know. I haven't really dissected it.
Can you help me make sense of this?