Essay on Style

You Can Get Away With It
Recently I've noticed a phrase people have used to describe me when people comment on my dressing. They say "you can get away with it", "you can pull it off" which intrigues me. It's almost as if I've sneaked past some fashion rule that will be found out eventually.
Since I don't follow trends anymore this intrigues and baffles me. Surely I'm not doing anything anyone else wouldn't be doing. I buy the clothes and put them on, simple!

Are people saying I have confidence that they don't have? Or are they saying it's really ugly, but because it's you, and I like you, I'll say it looks good?

I've been reflecting recently on the concept of style versus dagginess (as we say in Australia). Immediately my mind goes to what I call the epitome of dagginess... wearing socks or even stockings with sandals...Ahhh! Crossed fingers to ward off the devil!!! :-)
But when I think more carefully, I realise there are instances where people can "get away with it". Mainly I narrow it down to wearing socks with closed toe sandals seems acceptable to me. Also if the sock is a cute ankle sock with ruffles or frills, it seems OK. 

This is a very contentious topic with Bushy, because he can't see anything wrong with it, and I've always adamantly abhorred it. So much so, he has given in, still without understanding it.  So this morning in the midst of my musings and realising how muddled my reasoning is, I butted out of his wardrobe. He now has carte blanche to do as he likes. Let's see what ensues...crosses fingers and holds breath!

Stylish people seem to be those whose clothes are an embodiment of their personality, their personhood. They don't let the clothes wear them, they wear the clothes. I've been avidly devouring the site Style Like U which has this philosophy. See also Natalia's post Style as expression of you, not you as expression of style.
But if I say this, maybe Bushy wearing his socks and sandals is his innate style, and I shouldn't object to it.

Have you noticed how often women control a man's wardrobe, whereas the reverse would be considered domestic abuse?! Is this because we are given more opportunities to explore and so feel we have more of a finger on style and fashion? But if my reasoning stands, a man can't be stylish if his wife is dressing him, if it doesn't come from within. A man in work clothes doing a job he loves can be more stylish than one dressed to the nines, if he feels uncomfortable.

Can someone be stylish if the clothes are beautiful, but just aren't them? I know I've seen people in clothes that are trendy, but because they are not reflecting their own person, can look daggy.
But following trends doesn't mean everyone who is trendy is daggy. Sometimes the trends do match the innate sense of the wearer.
I think following trends can just make the world seem a more boring place. Just people saying, "Look at me, I have a lot of money as evidenced by my clothes on my back."

I also hate the term "on trend" which stores and magazines proclaim loudly. Like they have been given permission to wear these particular clothes by the fashion police.
They see it as a great compliment to give someone. Does it mean they are in touch with the world, clued in somehow? To me it means following the crowd.

How does this differ from cultural garments? Ones worn by traditional tribes. Does this mean if the whole tribe wears the garment it isn't reflecting the individual wearer and therefore they aren't stylish? Or is their personhood reflected in their belonging to a tribe? As evidenced by tribes of teenagers who wear the same gear, for example. Are they seen as stylish, or just fashion victims?

I think the desire to find your ethnic roots could be driven by the same motivation as the desire to dress alike within a subculture, e.g. goth. Its the drive to belong, to feel in touch with others, to speak a similar language. Therefore they are expressing themselves...and therefore stylish?

I do realise the usefulness of a uniform. It becomes a sort of label, a shorthand to identify a person's job or rank. It irons out individuality and presents a neat, united front to the world. But even within uniforms you find individual traits in those who desire to exercise it. I had a friend who wore a uniform but always wore individual lively socks. Uniforms can make someone who loves to express themselves, feel stunted and stifled, and this is a way to manage that.

Change and Gender 
I think my style has changed over the years, and my ideas of what I find stylish on others has changed as well. How does this differ to trendiness?
Is it because one is driven from within, and our changing knowledge of self, versus being imposed from outside in a more superficial way?

My style has changed according to my gender discovery. I was a fairly feminine decorative dresser, with long earrings, and drapey scarves. Then I went through my male gendered phase wearing male clothing exclusively, and now I feel comfortable in my combination male/female outfits. This may change over time, but always is driven from within.

Conformity - Aspergers and Genderqueer
And here we come across my individuality or idiosyncrasy. One of the great blessings of Aspergers is the disconnect from the crowd. I can see things others can't because I'm not connected in to the zeitgeist. I see things at one remove, and have no pressure on me to conform. Or if I do, I refuse to entertain it.

And so we wander back into gender territory. I also refuse to entertain the pressure to wear gendered clothing or decoration. To me its just one big candy store, and I can take my pick according to my own individual innate taste.
Wouldn't it be a fascinating world if we all could feel so free?

Self talk
I think I'm also going to have to rethink my own use of stylish and daggy, when describing myself.  I have to apply these terms correctly to myself, and cut myself some slack. See post title Dress and Dag. If the outfit arises from my own desires, and is what I want to wear during a given activity, can I call it daggy? If I constantly call my outfits daggy, am I having a go at myself? Putting myself down?

Such a big topic! One I will be exploring all my life I'm sure. But these were a few (!) of my thoughts today.

'Til next time, keep creating (from within),
Jazzy Jack

BeautyScope 60: the last leaf of autumn

As the turning of the earth
engenders the turning 
of the last leaf 
of the book of Autumn,
we say farewell's been grand!

Backyard Beauty and good news

Here I am in my backyard, showing off our beautiful mulberry tree. (Also the slipperydip, cubby/tree house, clothes line and dog's various ripped bits and pieces!)
I am wearing my bear rug ( fluffy secondhand jacket that I slightly changed so I didn't look like a sack tied in the middle), my long skirt - thrifted, a secondhand scarf, and hood of a vest I knitted.

Our dog Winter wanted to be in on the act. It was very blowy and cold!

You can see my red sneakers peeping out.

Here is the vest with a secondhand cashmere jumper underneath..

And Winter once again! ( She is a Spanador - Labrador/Cockerspaniel Mix...gorgeous nature, but likes her food!)

Underneath we have the wonders of the skull leggings and wool socks!

Here are the earrings close up. They are a paua shell design with a spiral centre. (Our sunny, messy family room behind:-)

And I have had some good mole sample was clear. No skin cancer today! Yay! Yay!  and  a thousand times Yay!!!
And a thousand thanks for your supportive comments and wishes sent.

I will endeavour to live in gratitude for this extended life I have. My ring will serve as a reminder to appreciate every moment...even the bad ones! :-)

'Til next time, keep creating,
Jazzy Jack

BeautyScope 58: It's a wood nymph!

Here we see a rare and endangered wood nymph scurrying amongst the fallen leaves, storing up food for the Winter. Note how his coat has lengthened in these cold months, now covering his head and hands. This is known as the scarlet wood nymph, due to his hand coverings. Let us tiptoe away and leave him to his foraging.


As Autumn wanes in the Southern Hemisphere, I've put together some mushroom/toadstool shots we enjoyed this past season.

I love how mushrooms seem to burst! out of the ground all mishmashed together.

These next two closeups were by The Actor and The Artist.

Cupcakes on stalks anyone?

Orange marbles nestle in the grass.

Bluetinged jellyfish of the soil.

Some orange peel resting on a log.

Tanned Joobylips (as we called fat lips growing up!)

Of course there is the rich look of burnt bookpages or wafer thin chocolate underside.

One of them was sheltering a tiny man, who didn't seem happy to be disturbed.
Having his coffee break after lugging those heavy woodchips around, by the look of it.

Then we ascend to higher levels with the mushroom tree for my earrings!

I've had fun. Hope you have too!
Can you smell that earthy mossy scent?

'Til next time, keep creating!
Jazzy Jack

BeautyScope 57: bath time!

Quit chirping and hand me the towel, 
I've got soap in my eyes!

BeautyScope 55: Basket weaving

 nest shelter

Red shoes, handy hint & boho gone mad!

Here are the new red shoes I promised Sheila of Ephemera. Diesel sneakers for $50 on special!
Have a look at the shoeshine linkup party!

I went a bit mad with the boho look the other day!
Here I'm wearing a second hand men's wool jumper over a long tunic and slip both second hand.

I tried another look, with a silk jacket I bought secondhand...very lots of patterns!

Detail of the silk scarf given to me secondhand. My ring is painted leather and my earrings are recycled crockery!

Here's a picture with my trusty armlets upcycled from a men's jacket.

Handy Hint:
I discovered something...armlets are great for keeping three quarter sleeves from rolling up to your armpits when putting on a jumper. If you don't want to wear armlets that day, just whip them off again and voila, sleeves stay put!

A glimpse of the fantastically amazing argyle sock/tattered stocking/clog combination!

And a demure pose to close.
I will be linking to The Citizen Rosebud's secondhand party. Come and join the fun!

I don't know if you will be inspired or warned by this ensemble. Take from it what you will!

'Til next time, keep creating,
Jazzy Jack

Tree of life

I have a new ring,
it is a tree of life as you can see.

I bought this today to remind myself to value my life, and celebrate my life, and think of life...not death.
A few days ago I had a mole removed from my back. It is currently at the lab being analysed. I don't get the good or bad news until Wednesday.
Living this week in this limbo, trying not to worry, is really eye opening.
I am aware of how much I take my life for granted, and whinge about minor things, and focus on negative issues which aren't really that important in the long scheme of things.
I am living with the thought that it is possible I might have a shorter life than I expected, and I have vowed to spend what time I have left in focusing on the positive and beautiful aspects of my life.

This week I am focusing on creating even more than usual, to keep some balance in my thoughts. To counteract the negative thoughts that want to creep in.

I'm hoping that next week I will have good news and I'll be grateful for this gift, of sitting in the hot seat, and seeing what I really value in my life, and what message I want to leave behind.

I have a statement of purpose I have written for my life:
I am a colourful influential outlier
Laying a beauty trail right across this world
Spark by precious spark

I hope the rest of my life however long will attest to that.

Something I didn't realise until afterwards, my ring is a tree, and my hubby is a Forester!
And deep inside, in the roots of the tree, is a heart :-)

'Til next time, keep creating,

BeautyScope 51: National Museum of Australia

Into the hungry maw...

BeautyScope 50: a touch of nostalgia

For my 50th (!) BeautyScope, here is The Actor exploring ivy variegations.
Thanks for sharing my journey this far.