Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Weekend Outfit Problem

From W Magazine's article "Weekend Warriors"
A few months ago on a bright but bone-chilling winter Sunday, I remember catching a shocking glimpse of style maven Nina Garcia, best known for having been the Editor-at-Large at Elle Magazine and a scathing judge on Bravo's Project Runway, walking casually into the Fendi boutique on Fifth Avenue. It was not so much the fact that I had seen a celebronista that shocked me but that she was so unimpressively dressed: simple blue jeans (not ripped, studded, or ultra skinny) and a capacious plain sweater with no tell-tale designer distinctions enveloped her small frame. For a minute I thought that the look was a kind of disguise--for how could Nina Garcia, of all people, be so ordinarily dressed?
I eventually grasped that it was her version of casual weekend wear, a dilemma that has apparently haunted not only this humble blogger but also the glitterati that inhabit the sacred frames on Jak & Jil's and The Sartorialist's blogs and at W Magazine. Vanessa Lawrence's intriguing article "Weekend Warriors" in the latest edition of W Magazine--Drew Barrymore looks chicly disheveled on its cover--confronts their "dilemma: how to keep up appearances while giving their Yves Saint Laurent Tributes and Balenciaga sheaths a breather--if they choose to do so." She goes on to quote designer Shoshanna Gruss who put it quite accurately: "I feel like there are people who are so excited to not have to get dressed up in the downtime, and then I feel like there are fashion people who never stop." While we all may not own high-end designer duds, the same issue exists for all of us fashionistas out there: do we "dress up" for the weekend or "dress down"?
Personally, I confess that my weekend outfits tend to be simpler, more straightforward, and--I am not afraid to admit it--commonplace. Perhaps it's the "home clothes" influence of my upbringing, but when I get home, I immediately change into an oversized terry cardigan and yoga pants, and when the weekend rolls around, I choose the most uninspiring outfits as a kind of conditioned response to the date on the calendar. On the weekends, I like to lounge, to relax, to adopt a different fashion persona. Lately I've tried to get out of that automatic response by mixing things up a little, but when the weather has been as frigid as it has been this particular winter, a gal has limited options. It's usually the same trite combo: jeans and a cashmere sweater (or two).
Of course, a few added details can satisfy the fashionista and the shlub in us--and I daresay that most of us have a shlub in there somewhere, the shlub that loves eating ice-cream straight out of the container and who scares her boyfriend/husband/partner by wearing a green mud mask with her hair unflatteringly pulled back. Humbly I offer these suggestions:
1) When choosing simple clothes for the weekend, pay attention to fit and cleanliness. Simple clothes should never swallow you up (sorry, Nina--here I have to object to your look) or look dingy. Sweats and yoga pants should be reserved for the gym. On the other hand, this may be the time to try out that ripped denim trend, something that most of us professionals can't wear to work.
2) Add high-end accessories or the best ones you can afford to jazz up a look.
3) Vary your uniform so it's not so boring. (This one I need to follow myself!)
Option A: Distressed/skinny jeans with a sweater/cardigan/blazer (I love a cropped or boyfriend jacket right now)
Option B: A long tunic over leggings with low heels or flats (the tunic should fall mid-thigh; anything higher looks skanky, and anything lower looks dowdy)
Option C: A moto jacket over a simple jersey dress
Option D: A cropped jacket or denim jacket over black leather pants or a jumpsuit
Option E: A vest over a tee with shorts or jeans
Remember that the weekend is a great time to try out looks you normally don't wear and ones that allow you to experiment with a different persona.


McCall said...

great post!!! thank you so much for talking about this :)

TLT said...

I tend to go more casual when I go to work, because I sometimes think my normal outfits are too over the top for the office. So the weekends are actually my chance to break free, experiment, and wear the outfits I really want to wear!

I like your idea for Option C. It's chic and simple at the same time!

Ondo Lady said...

I disagree, looking good between Monday and Friday with the occasional Saturday is expected but I think people should be able to wear whatever they like at home. That is why our home is regarded as our haven where we can kick off our shoes and roam around in whatever while we relax and recover from our hectic lives. As for Nina Garcia it is such a relief to see that she is human just like the rest of us and can sling on some jeans and a top and get on with her day off.

Thumbelina Fashionista said...

Ondo Lady--Yes, I think I said that I wear "home clothes" at home, so we actually agree that we can wear whatever we like at home.

Diabolina Da Fashionista said...

i cannot dress down well for the life of me. excellent treatment of the topic. and go-to outfit suggestions.

Anonymous said...

must agree with you. If you are simply/conventionally attired during workdays, here is weekend to be versatile, and vise versa.
excellent advice!!