I have just noticed a pattern in my holiday posts - I always seem to title them with the name of a place, and people read them expecting a detailed tourist guide and photos of that place, only to be disappointed by photos of (mostly) me. I vow this is entirely coincidental, and promise I'm not as narcissistic as it may seem - although some may argue having a blog is a narcissistic thing in itself. Real life sees me pottering about with a halo of frizzy hair, and glasses (which I almost always take off for photos). People can pay me compliments about my clothes, but rarely about my appearance, and it is only through this blog I've found out I have "nice hair" and "lovely eyes" - two revelations I have been blissfully unaware of until recently.
Yes, there are people who genuinely take the time and effort to look impeccable every day from floppy hat to toe, but I doubt that all people who blog (since London Fashion Week I have developed a curious distaste for the word "blogger") commit to these ludicrous standards of "perfection" day-in-day-out. In their posts, they post photos of themselves at their best - a very natural instinct of upholding a certain image. This is a good and bad thing: bad because people who see those photos retreat to their bathroom floors and weep that they are not beautiful enough, and cake themselves in make-up the following morning; good because it means that there is a lot of stellar content to intrigue and magnetise the online reader.
To contradict myself slightly, I don't think of blogging entirely as a facade, but rather a 'heightened reality' of the author. In words or photographs, I think it is important to stay true to oneself, and wear/say things you think are right. Otherwise, you risk obtaining a Jekyll and Hyde-esque split personality disorder. But then, most wouldn't want to document mundane things such as loitering by the fridge in your pyjamas, or snuggling on the sofa waiting for Downton Abbey to start (with no shame, I confess to the latter unreservedly), either... Returning to Fashion Week at Somerset House - in a place over-saturated with avant-garde outfits, with colours and eye-wateringly expensive shoes, it was almost cathartic to spot Hilary Alexander standing in a corner after Daks, dressed in simple blazer, shift and comfortable flats. The important people wear couture, the very important don't give a flying cahootle - because they have slaved enough to be respected and adored for exactly who they are. And yet... the meandering steep career path one climbs to earn that respect naturally calls for a meticulous upkeeping of a certain false image - in other words dressing to look the part - before shedding your skin and becoming yourself when you get to the top.
I don't claim that I know the ins and outs of the industry - I'd like to think what I'm writing is ignorant and not true, and that most people are entirely unswayed and stick to what they like when it comes to dressing no matter how high up they are. It is, perhaps, just an impression I got at Fashion Week, my eyes heaving in despair at the sight of yet another Topshop dress worn with that exact same "messy" centre parting... But it got me thinking about appearances in general; for instance, where does one draw the line between "tailoring" ourselves to the outside world to fit in, and the old saying that nothing in an individual is entirely his own but borrowed from people, thoughts, ideas and other influences that surround us?
Sometimes, when I visit a certain place, I do like to dress up especially to fit with the atmosphere that I imagine it possesses. For instance: Dresden. It was a bit of a trek from the Czech Republic (well, only two hours), but I've been waiting for that trip all holiday because of galleryisms, and seeing the architecture again... I wanted my outfit to be distinctively "arty", so my whipping out my sketchbook at every other painting in the Old Masters' Gallery and The Albertinum would look slightly more justified. Normally, I'd never wear a skirt this long, but thinking about the outfit made me choose something I wouldn't normally wear, and thus not being myself actually brought out my tastes in a new light. So perhaps sometimes it's not so bad to step away from whom you define/are accustomed to as yourself, and bask in the spotlight of the spontaneous and unexpected! Being yourself is not as simple as it sounds, if your style is anything like mine and constantly fluctuates from granddad jumpers to turbans and forties dresses... Is it more joyous, after all, to be a multicoloured caterpillar, than morphing into a glorious butterfly that never changes its form?
Glasses, 3.1 Phillip Lim
T-Shirt, Aubin and Wills