The closet and dresser are cleaned out. All the clothing not currently in rotation is boxed up. So. Where does this leave me, Tim Gunn? Besides with fewer clothing options (which is actually strangely liberating)?
It leaves me to figure out my style identity. According to Tim, I need to find a style and “mentor” to go along with it. He offers the following suggestions:
Les Francaises – Charlotte Gainsbourg, Catherine Deneuve, Carine Roitfeld – basically, the French chicks. They wear tailored stuff, they’re sexy and like a good time, they don’t wash their hair too often and they all own a trench coat.
The Sirens – Angelina Jolie, Nigella Lawson, Julie Christie – Sexy, irresistible, charming. I’m thinking I don’t fall into this category.
Masculin/Feminin – Katherine Hepburn, Coco Chanel – a look that blurs gender distinction but doesn’t look like drag. Masculine clothes, feminine body. The main piece here is an oxford-cloth shirt that you can put with skirts and trousers.
Les Gamines – Sofia Coppola, Natalie Portman – Classic, feminine, young, impish. Striking features. Simple clothing like basic shifts and flats. It helps to be waifish and have delicate bone structure.
The Risk Takers – Sarah Jessica Parker, Chloe Sevigny, Kate Moss – not afraid to look silly in styles that no one else is wearing yet. Can easily pull off even terrible new trends, like high-waisted pants. Ah, but could they pull off mom jeans?
The Rockers – Patti Smith, Cat Power (??!) – lots of denim, leather, white t-shirts… sounds kind of dull. Aren’t rockers supposed to be fun? It’s a bit annoying how every time a style book wants to talk about the “rocker” look, they turn to Patti Smith. She wears the same thing everyday, doesn’t she? I mean, its not that difficult to pull off AND it’s weird.
The Bohemians – Beatrice Wood, Edie Beale (Grey Gardens!), Donna Karan – The key word is layering. A love for lots of jewelry. A love of head wraps. Stay away from fringed shawls though – that falls too far into costume.
Les Doyennes – Deeda Blair, Pauline de Rothchild, Lee Radziwell – Haughty chicks with money. Yeah, they give a lot of it to charity. Think suits, hyper polished, etc. Serving on boards. Helping kids with rare diseases.
Power Brokers – Martha Stewart, Vanessa Redgrave, Oprah Winfrey – I think the names say it all. Get out the sweater sets!
I don’t know where I fit in. The French chick thing is the most interesting to me. I can wear a trench coat! I do think it’s odd that we are supposed to pick a category and try to fit into it. This may make it easier for people with no imagination. And it also makes it harder for one to buy off the rack at WalMart or Kohl’s. I can’t imagine standing at someplace like JC Penney’s with some blouse in your hand wondering, “Does this fit in with my new Gamine image?”
Plus, some of these categories are automatically out for me. Rocker? Kind of pathetic to start styling yourself as “Rocker” over 30 if you were never one before. And… you don’t play an instrument or sing? Could there be anything more pathetic than an over 30 woman with no musical inclinations who suddenly starts sporting leather pants and rocker tees?
Could I be Gamine? Not with this German-influenced bod. House frau, maybe.
Oh, don’t I wish there was a category for House Frau? “Wear your house dress and slippers around the kitchen as you make tea. Change midday into a house dress and thick-soled shoes. For evening, slip on your apron.” How about a Macy’s Maven category? “Just wear whatever they have on sale at Macy’s. See yourself coming and going all around town as everyone has the same dress you do. Or the same Liz Sport shorts and polo shirt.”
So I think I will struggle with this for awhile. And then I will come up with my own hybrid category.