Friday, October 17, 2008

Sirens and cents

This photo, posted on The Sartorialist, drew ardent compliments, mainly for the Milanese subject's legs. Some persons said she gave them hope, was a marvelous vision of aging, etc.

Do you admire her?


I'd kill to have legs this sensationally shapely. I like how her scarf's tied on her bag, and how her black dress just skims her body. (The
bag, a Ralph Lauren Ricky, drew gasps.)

As we age, good accessories are essential, but chances are if you're reading this post (instead of, say, consulting with your personal chef or being chauffeured to your Gulfstream), you're mindful of the staggering cost of beautiful bags, shoes and jewelry.


What to do? Cruise consignment shops, bite the bullet to buy an impeccable bag you'll carry for a decade or more, or hope for a spectacular gift. (Fifteen years ago, my Parisienne GF Daniele was given a black calf Kelly by her late husband. She jokes that Roland, a canny financier, looks from heaven in approval, for the bag's still going strong.
)

Comp
are la donna with the Ricky (let's call her Woman A) to this shot from the Advanced Style blog that Deja Pseu featured on a recent post. Both women caught a photographer's glance; both were admired on their respective sites for flying their signature style flag.

My aspiration is resoundingly toward Woman A, but there are days, in a comfy sweater and flats, that my inner Woman B peeks out. It's all in the aesthetics, which in turn determine the choices, the palette, the grooming.

With styling, Woman B with her orange tote
could swap places with Woman A. In a kind of reverse-schlumpadinka-with a half-twist, Woman A could drop her Prada shopping bag, kick off her stilettos, adopt the colour-happy ensemble of Woman B and look less elegant, more hamische.

Woman A wears obviously costly accessories. Sometimes I think, I too could look beyond fabulous if money were no object. But then I realize that's an easy excuse. I need to hone my eye, experiment, seek occasional professional help, and not deny myself a decent handbag. (Go Pseu, in Paris!) That doesn't mean a Ricky, you little enablers.

And no socks with sandals.

16 comments:

WendyB said...

Actually, sandals and socks can work if done the right way :-D

La Belette Rouge said...

A is heavenly. I saw her photo on the Sartoriliast and I was envious her legs the minute I saw them. She does look amazing. I do think you are right, it doesn't necessarily take oodles of money to be closer to A than to B. It just takes thought and discipline( i.e., save for the best you can afford and splurge on the best accessories that can last a life time). Now, I am not saying B looks bad. It may be the absolute best style for her. I just am drawn to the style of A.

Duchesse said...

belette: I'm beginning consider bag fractional ownership.

When I look at many (not all) of the people on Advanced Style site, I am reminded of what I say to Le Duc: Shoot me if I ever start to dress like that. Get-ups: I wonder if these women (nearly all are women) dressed like that when younger or thought, consciously or not, now I know how to still get some attention.

Duchesse said...

wendy: you're a great photo poster so kindly demo for me, perhaps something in cheetah?

greying pixie said...

duchesse, your problem is you're too nice. Your inner Woman B would never look like the one in the photo. Why should comfort obliterate all notions of style? I can't think of anything more comfortable than a pair of cashmere palazzo pants (with flats) and a loose cashmere sweater.

I can't see anything admirable in the turnout of Woman B, just a jumble of rather mismatched, mis-shaped clothes. Blue and red together is already rather dangerous, but put next to khaki green and orange is a grave mistake. Is it an accident that she is standing in front of paintings presumably for sale in the street? As soon as I saw her I thought of the flock of amateur artists that keep our local arts club financially solvent. Sorry, I don't want to sound cruel, but Woman A would win in any contest in my opinion.

Duchesse said...

GP: Your comments made me laugh, b/c they evoke memories of an old friend. She dressed like Woman B; she was an "artist". Limited means, and also a style that favoured LOTS of colour bursting forth as pure get-ups. She fell in love with an accomplished, sophisticated silver fox. Another friend took her aside and said, listen, you are not going to keep him dressed like THAT. Almost overnight she shifted to Woman A (this took a bank loan.) As of today, about 7 years later, they are living happily, elegantly ever after about 6 yrs later.

Duchesse said...

Oh one more thing GP: your description of the cashmere palazzos/sweater is my absolute favourite ensemble!

Julianne said...

Her legs are beautiful. I want legs like that wah wah wah. She looks so stylish and attractive. But, herein lies the problem for me. I love the look of A but would be most uncomfortable dressed that way.

I can't imagine going shopping like that, but it looks so lovely....

Karen said...

Killer post, Duchesse. I saw a woman walk in to my consignment store and "dump" an 800$ Louis Vuitton bag. Should I buy it if it is $300? I cannot decide if it is tacky to carry a signature bag or not. To this date, I have not. I hate labels. But then, the Louis is a classic, no? What do you think?

Duchesse said...

Karen: I'll quote my GF Vicky, a (real) baroness. "Perhaps in some circles" she will say, a damning phrase that means: never. The only LV I'd consider is the non-logoed leather, or an ancient trunk used as a coffee table.

Duchesse said...

Julianne: You've captured the dilemma: how to look like Woman A but be comfortable. Those shoes on cobblestones!

greying pixie said...

I've always been of the opinion that style cannot be purchased at any price. Woman A looks expensive not only because of her bag, shoes, etc., but because of her elegant posture and lovely bright confident face. Personally I don't think she needs to wear those high shoes, with her lovely legs she would look just as good in Ferragamo Varas (think Audrey Hepburn circa 1965).

The reason I refer to 'amateur' artists regarding Woman B, is that there is an assumption that penniless artists cannot afford to dress with any style, and yet real artists are actually extremely fussy about their appearance; just aren't that interested in conforming - there is a difference.

Anjela said...

Woman A just looks like she exudes something that Woman B doesn't have in her gene pool. I don't think you can buy it. Also Woman A's legs look good but note she isn't wearing sneakers so it gives that fuddy duddy look.

Duchesse said...

anjela: I don't wear sneakers either and my legs will never, ever look like that. If I did, I'd probably not own one pair of pants. Mamma mia!

Anonymous said...

Ok, I think I actually saw woman B on the street in my neighbourhood. She was aiming for style but was weighed down by poor posture, illness and a huge weight of sadness that permeated from her like bad perfume for yards around her. Illness and sadness I can handle, but god forbid I ever have bad posture.

sjcyogi

Duchesse said...

sjcyogi- Woman B was actually held up as a model of "Advanced Style" by the blogger who created that site. Go to the blog (search "Advanced Style") and you'll see a few conventionally stylish people and also many subjects who have chosen what I'd consider get-ups.