Wednesday, March 24, 2010

10:45 a.m.

Anyone I've ever lived with will attest to the fact that on most mornings, half of my closet ends up in a frenzied explosion across the floor, in chairs and all over the bed. This tornado of fabric, debris of shoes and hazard of accessories is the result of my frequent attempts to look and feel both effortlessly comfortable and stylish in what I wear. I used to try to tell myself that I just liked throwing clothes around, or I was just looking for that one shirt. Here's the truth: I had no idea what to wear, and the outfit I planned in my head was not working. It is a difficult thing to admit.

Hi, my name is Sarah, and I spend an insane amount of time "developing" and trying on ensembles that are, many times, never worn, or they are seen by very few.

The thing about fashion is, if it looks like you tried, you didn't try hard enough. No one wants to look vulnerable or unconfident in what they wear; it's not flattering to your personality, and you aren't doing yourself any favors. I have made (and continue to make) so many mistakes when it comes to clothes — buyers remorse; low-waisted, boot-cut jeans; cable-knit sweaters; the '90s. However, I have always tried to make wearing clothes a fun adventure, and in this way, I'm learning -- through lots of mistakes and good outfits too -- about my own style. Although I adore patterns on top of patterns on top of patterns, it is important to know how to tone things down.

That's why I loved this piece, written by Jess Cartner-Morley, the Guardian's fashion editor and one of my favorites (make sure to watch her How-to-Dress series, which has been mentioned here). Ms. Cartner-Morley was invited, along with a number of fashionistas and fashionistos to meet the Queen. When she received the invitation, which suggested "day dress/lounge suit," she shrugged it off, and did what I and I'm sure many of us do: She put together an ensemble in her head and waited until the night before to try it on. Guess what? It didn't work, and she kind of freaked out. Just a little.

I imagine it would be difficult to meet the Queen when your world is defined by what's new and modern and trend-setting. Where is the line drawn between understated-demure and I-know-what-I'm-doing-Glam?

Whenever I have an interview, I always struggle with what to wear. How does one appear professional but still show people I'm creative? Luckily, for these occasions, I've picked up a few go-to pieces, which have gotten a lot of wear.

You'll have to read Ms. Cartner-Morley's piece to understand that her admission is coming from a true follower and master of fashion, and it means a lot! In the end, everything ended happily (Reiss really seems to come through for people), and we learned that many of the world's key fashion players also admitted to having trouble when it came down to what to wear. Maybe we all need to be a bit humbled by a Queen Mum-experience to realize that we might be over-thinking things, and we should just go with the wrap-dress.

To see if what they wore was Queen-worthy, check out this out.

Sidenote: Pay attention to what Jess Cartner-Morley writes concerning wedding attire; the season is upon us, and you'd better try things on before the eve of your best friend's big day!

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