(image taken from AOL Shopping)
(image taken from Forever 21)
Obviously, I peruse my fair share of style magazines and blogs, assimilating and imbibing a diverse array of fashion editorials, from typical mainstream trends to more extreme fashion as artistic medium; after all, I spend much of my waking life in a cubicle, before a computer, and time must be wasted somehow. Collecting rejection letters from various literary publications is a great procrastination method, and an arguably more productive one, but fashion fascinations tend to leave my intellectual self-esteem unscathed, and, in fact, occasionally well massaged. Today, having not too long ago returned from a fantastic autumn wedding in South Africa (at least, according to the calendar year; seasonally, it is the transition from spring to summer in the southern hemisphere), I was intrigued by a post on Refinery29, offering timely sage sartorial advice for any fall wedding dress code. Some of the insights were, indeed, fitting, though a bit obvious; florals for a brunch wedding, in the appropriate hues, are generally a sure bet, provided a busy pattern flatters the figure in question.
I have learned to read any type of new information, or writing, for that matter, with a discerning and critical eye, no matter how superficial the content. Wedding dress codes are about as frivolous as it gets, but ceasing critical analysis is still not excusable. As a proposition for a traditional black-tie event, the author recommended sparing no expense, at least when it comes to the dress, highlighting an elegant and faceted Erdem lace gown, which will set any account back a few thousand dollars. Absolutely beyond my personal spending range, I nonetheless wholeheartedly agreed with her selection; truly stunning. My confusion and frustration were incited when I glanced at the next item, her suggested accessory for this gorgeous and ostentatious dress: a cheap rhinestone necklace from Forever 21.
Now, anyone who personally knows me, understands intimately that I, ostensibly, have no problem with donning cheap rhinestones, usually the more, the merrier. Slather them on me in layers. I collect vintage costume jewelry, and my section of rhinestone abounds. I also, honestly, respect when publications, both print and online, present innovative and evocative and fun styles that represent a range of price points, essentially democratizing the industry and not purely relying on packaged, stock looks stolen from the runway. Still, when a multi-thousand dollar dress is paired with a beyond budget necklace, one that indeed detracts rather than complements, the effort seems forced at best, and condescending at worst. Perhaps my sense of pragmatic realism is too potent, but the woman who buys this Erdem gown is not going to be seduced by the plastic glint of the Forever 21 baubles. The entire thrust of this editorial was practical insights, solutions really to deciphering sometimes ambiguous wedding dress codes with sophistication and class, in a way that melds with the wedding aesthetic and personality. I would have felt more inspired, and would have trusted the perspective and guidance from the author, if more attention had been paid to the staple of the look, the dress. For me, showcasing two different looks, a sort of high-end approach and a budget-friendly approach, which could still avoid the massive wares of crap of Forever 21, would have been more engaging and more useful to the reader.