I prefer clothes that are simple, well-cut, but with one major extravagance. Something with the sleeves, with the skirt, but nothing too fussy, too flashy.
– Carolina Herrera, Venezuelan-American fashion designer (1939-present)
You either know fashion or you don’t.
– Anna Wintour, British-American journalist, editor; editor-in-chief of Vogue, artistic director of Condé Nast (1949-present)
Everyone wants to be rich.
Even if we say otherwise, money has become synonymous to simple bodily functions like breathing and sleeping. Without it, we cannot eat, drink, etc. Though, drinking’s trickier because we should all have access to clean water, yet cases like Flint, MI say otherwise.
Removing such functions to money, money itself is important in letting people know that you have money. We always see articles with the “fake it ’til you make it” mentality, so clearly there’s a standard to what a rich person supposedly looks like.
But the question is – how does a rich person look like?
Appearance = Wealth ?
In Logan Sykes’ article for Town and Country Magazine, “How to Dress Like You’re a Millionaire,” Sykes compiles a list of things we should do to give the impression that we’re richer than we actually are.
Her article caricatures herself and the older generations for their outdated methods, saying that millionaire attire is synonymous to country club attire. Many of her tips echo the 50s, a failed decade of conformity. This makes me question whether the author is fixated on keeping the fantastical American dream alive more than she is trying to help readers identify key attributes that can give them a rich person’s vibe.
A Millennial’s Guide to Dressing Like a [Fashionable] Millionaire
Many fashion designers, which coincidentally (!) rich people love to wear, generally all agree that you should be classy, but to also test the boundaries of what is appropriate. Said designers all agree that boring is never acceptable because apparel and accessories are so malleable.
- The Basics: LBDs. You have no excuse not to own one.
- Priorities: You can buy a lookalike shirt at a lesser known place, but shoes and bags are not a commodity. Investing in a good pair of sneakers is always a plus in our athelesiure culture.
- Fakes: Fake anything is never acceptable. If you can’t afford it, get a vintage designer piece at a thrift shop instead. No one think’s your Gucci belt’s real when it has two C’s instead of G’s.
- Logos: YES to obnoxious logos. If you’re going to wear them, make sure it screams at you, but if not, make sure to keep it completely understated.
- Sweaters: Be chic and wear your cardigans, blazers on your shoulders. Unless you live in a country club, don’t drape them on your shoulders. Bonus points if you hang a blazer on top of the blazer you’re already wearing.
- Reform: Anything you wear must be in good condition, unless you bought it like that. Random scratches on your leather goods just make you look sad.
- Sunglasses: Wear Jackie O’s tortoiseshells, or John Lennon’s circular eyepieces. Regardless of what you decide, be aware of what works well with your face and/or outfit.
- Nails: Make them cohesive with your appearance. For a crazy look, your clothes should be just as crazy as your nails. If you want to make your nails to make a statement, wear something unobtrusive.
- Denim: Own denim in different colors, but have a couple of dark washed ones too. Obviously, a dark washed jean jacket isn’t appropriate for the summer like a lighter one is.
- Vintage: Take advantage of your family’s old wardrobe. You mom’s vintage Max Mara velvet shirt from the 80s? It’s perfect for today.
- Perfume: Unless you’re Grace Kelly and received a custom fragrance, don’t limit yourself to one signature scent. Your scent should reflect your mood, and should be purchased from an accredited place, not like CVS, unless you like to douse yourself to smell a hint of perfume and to wear alcohol stained clothes.
- Jewelry: Go crazy as you want, showing off your diamonds and pearls. Extravagance is celebrated, but don’t do paste jewels – you aren’t five anymore.
- More Basics: Turtlenecks and long coat. Nothing screams chic like a black turtleneck and a long coat. If you don’t own at least five, you’re doing something wrong.
- Tailors: Clothing should always be structured towards your body shape. That being said, don’t compromise the look of a designer piece either.
- Monochrome: Stick to one color or one outfit to let people know that you’re a serious businessperson. Nothing screams power like a go-to uniform.
- Time Pieces: A good watch oozes confidence. Let people know that you have good time management.
- Animals: Don’t look like a safari exhibit. If you wear animal patterns/fur, don’t try to go for a caveman look.
- Hair: Just make sure that it’s clean. Dry shampoo isn’t meant to be swapped out with your shampoo, so don’t abuse it, and wash accordingly. Most of all, cut off those split ends.
- Be a Trendsetter: Don’t try to follow trends – create them. By the time you follow them, it’ll either be going out of style or you’ll be swept in the bandwagon. Explore your creativity and make something cool for yourself.
The biggest marker of a millennial is our desire to not be labeled. Categorizing things are so 1950s. It irks me when fashion-related job applications ask me for a label for my fashion sense because nowadays, who can actually name their style? We all wear a variety of things, and if you don’t, then you’re clearly missing out on a whole market filled with many beautiful things.
the girl who is a wannabe fashion guru
IMAGE CREDIT: CNBC
Taking sartorial risks and not following other people is what makes you stand out.
– Zac Posen, American fashion designer (1980-present)
A few months ago, my school hosted a fashion entrepreneurship and networking event. In theory, this was a wonderful opportunity, but the actual event wasn’t as useful as advertised. However, I won’t deny that this event was somewhat helpful. I had the chance to talk to people in various parts of the fashion industry, ranging from entrepreneurship to PR to finance.
The panel members and guest speaker all repeated variations of the same sentiment in regard to working in fashion. Everyone said it is an extremely cutthroat and competitive field, though they were few lucky ones who were at the right place at the right moment. For them, this “coincidence” contributed greatly to their success, as well as their pride to return to their alma mater to talk about this.
I had an issue with their words because general statements like these are simply just useless pieces of advice for anyone, regardless of industry.
When asked what I want to be, I always say, “a successful fashion designer and businesswoman like Coco [Chanel].” Despite the wishful nature of my career goal, I have no reservations, nor do I have a starry look in my eyes that success will come easy to me, let alone launch my own fashion house. I am well-aware of my numerous disadvantages when trying to break into the fashion world, though it is a double-edge sword, as I do have some unique advantages.
My Bachelor of Science in Mathematics if very far off from the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design, or other similar degrees that many notable fashion designers have. I do get the value in a fashion degree because there are things that you can only learn in school. Colleges teach students discipline, which include a good foundation in the basics of creating apparel and accessories.
Going to fashion school is also extremely beneficial beyond the classroom. It helps with creating connections in the fashion industry, as most fields, even finance and entertainment, are heavily reliant on a good word of mouth to get you the much-needed exposure towards achieving your dreams. Teachers and peers can help each other meet potential employees, like seamstresses who can work in-house to create your sample, or introduce you to fashion magazines that can do print work featuring your stuff.
While I haven’t reached the point where I have launched my fashion house or shown in New York Fashion Week, I wouldn’t call my college choices deal breakers to make it big in fashion. Interestingly, my choice in major has greatly contributed to my creativity, as well as my focus on detail – two skills that are valuable when designing. You may not believe me when I say this, but the most creative people in this world are those in love with understanding numbers.
Besides the creative aspect of a successful fashion line, it’s also important to understand that an atelier is also a business. It’s great when high fashion designers create covetable pieces that the cream of the crop (i.e. Hollywood actors and actresses, socialites, etc.) are fighting on line to wear. However, to sustain a brand in a world where you’re not the only talented designer creating desirable apparel, you have to keep in mind that you’re a business that also runs on generating revenue.
Looking at the business side of a fashion house, there are many things that go into running a good business. These include a good HR department, possibly a team of in-house lawyers, a marketing team, a finance department, as well as many more. Without these things, yes, you can make great clothes, but you can also rack up tons of lawsuits from employees and former employees that can drive you and your business to bankruptcy.
Thanks to my choice to attend an arts and science college, I get to meet lawyers who know about fashion law, experience the day in the life of startup businesses, as well as learn how to maximize on numbers, so as to generate sales that count. Obviously, a great deal of college is what you make of it. Through my choice, I was able to befriend lifelong friends of various majors who may possibly be future employees at my fashion house. I know that if I need an accountant to keep a close eye on funds, as well as a marketing expert who can bring in models and actresses as the brand representative, I have a plethora of friends to pick from (happy emoji).
In the end of the day, don’t get too bogged down when you have trouble achieving your dreams. Not going down a traditional route to realize those dreams may actually be a blessing in disguise. And don’t be afraid of asking questions or grabbing opportunities just because you’re scared of rejection. You’re bound to get rejected, regardless of your career path. It’s never too early to become acquainted to the bitter taste of rejection, so that you can truly understand the determination it takes to make things work. While it would be nice to have a smooth sailing from the day you created your dream to the day it’s finally realized, that’s not how life works, unless you have a genie.
the girl who’s going to create a successful atelier like how the tortoise won the race
IMAGE CREDIT: Michael Hazzard Photography
Fashion fades, only style remains the same.
– Coco Chanel, French fashion designer and businesswoman (1883-1971)
Ever since I was little, I always wanted to own a Burberry trench coat. I know other brands make their own versions of it, but there isn’t anything more iconic than having a Burberry trench coat with your initials monogrammed on the inside. When I was younger, my mother promised me that once I graduated college that she would buy me one. As I have only one more year of school left, hopefully it’ll be a dream come true in May 2018 🖤!
I always dreamt of being an adult, tall and able to wear the form-flattering trench coat featured in the Burberry ads, or during a fashion week collection, paired with a blanket-like poncho. I would jealousy stare at pictures of models, celebs, and fashion bloggers who wore this consistently trend piece, and would turn green with envy whenever someone wore their trench coat on the streets of NYC.
To me, everything about the trench coat was appealing, from the history of the material to its waist slimming design. The trench coat is extremely versatile: it can be worn as a jacket dress or simply as a fashionable yet practical piece during a rainy day. For its two-grand price tag, it’s certainly an investment that every fashion inclined woman should make.
The trench coat has a unique story – Thomas Burberry, the creator of the gabardine material used for trench coats, never intended to make these coats for the fashion industry. Trench coats were originally made to serve as the standard Army uniform and apparel for the United Kingdom due to its fabric being waterproof and sturdy.
However, as we know about army inspired clothing, they almost always end up in the mainstream fashion scene. Even today, the army green color and camouflage pattern are used as fashion statements by many designers, and are eagerly worn by customers who want to flaunt off their knowledge of the ever-changing trends.
Even if Burberry didn’t intend to make this for fashion, it’s amazing how he created something that transcended time. Very few fashion pieces have managed this feat, capturing the hearts of fashion people and regular folk alike, like Chanel’s No. 5 perfume and Hermès Birkin bag.
Hopefully I’ll be a new owner of a trench coat as I make my own journey to find an accidental mistake that spurs the success of my own fashion house.
the girl who dreams of making an iconic fashion piece
IMAGE CREDIT: Burberry
Fashion is a dream. It’s difficult, and there are many aspects of fashion that are very difficult, but if you love it like I do, because I really have a passion, now, for fashion, it’s not easy, but nothing is easy in life.
– Carolina Herrera, Venezuelan-American fashion designer (1939-present)
IMAGE CREDIT: PUIG
“Black-and-white always looks modern, whatever that word means.” – Karl Lagerfeld (via BrainyQuote)
A few months ago, I went to a private showing of this year’s Met Gala, Manux x Machina: Fashion In An Age of Technology. According to various media outlets, Anna Wintour front Vogue and the other event organizers sought to display how fashion keeps with the times in today’s fast-paced society, by incorporating technology into designs traditionally made exclusively by hand, so as to maintain the uniqueness of each fashion house.
When you typically see pieces brought to life by high fashion creative designers like Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel and Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy, you will notice that they are all painstakingly made by hand by their respective ateliers’ army of seamstresses who turn 2-D dreams into 3-D pieces to show off on magazine covers and runways.
In a world filled with seven billion people and counting, the demand for couture pieces are on the rise. It is impractical for ateliers to solely utilize a group of dressmakers who make pieces from scratch. Prêt-á-porter outfits are for the modern age, in which clothes are made by machines and can be worn right off the runway. The Met Gala reconciles and celebrates the union between these two methods of textile production, showing off beautiful dresses that demonstrate the best of both worlds.
To my surprise, many dresses were handmade fabrics that were made early in the twentieth century. The fact that they could still be used to design fabulous dresses was amazing, especially because you would expect fabric that old to lose its vibrant color. The event clearly explained why people wait months and dish thousands of dollars to receive their own once-in-a-lifetime creation. The creativity of the designers shown through these dresses fit perfectly with an art museum, as wearable art is the best type of art.
Some pieces that stuck out were Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel wedding dresses, as well as Christopher Kane’s anatomy of a flower dress. Iris van Herpen was also a big hit, as many of her pieces, like the synthetic feathered dress, perfect for any evil Disney stepmother, were comparable to Gareth Pugh’s creations, like the black and white straw dresses that resembled armor.
Listed are some of the designers and fashion houses that partook in this beautiful exhibit, along with pictures of the designers’ awe-inspiring creations.
- Christian Dior, Dior
- Christopher Kane
- Iris van Herpen
- John Galliano
- Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel
- Martin Margiela, Maison Margiela
- Miuccia Prada, Prada
- Nicolas Ghesquière, Balenciaga & Louis Vuitton
- Raf Simons, Dior
- Riccardo Tisci, Givenchy
- Sarah Burton, Alexander McQueen
- Yves Saint Laurent
(via Metropolitan Museum of Art)
the girl who wished she lived like Blair or Serena, but mostly Blair