Thursday, September 11, 2008

Keep Your Label Hidden

Since I decided to focus on Victoria Beckham in the last post, I figure I will continue the trend by starting out with her in this post; especially because it plays into a topic that I have wanted to write about for a while now.
In the October 2008 issue of Details magazine, Beckham says, “I don’t mind a vintage T-shirt with a logo on it that’s tongue-in-cheek. But if a man were to have just a huge logo on his chest, no. I think that’s very unattractive.” And many people agree with her. In the book titled, “The Fashion Questionnaire”, designers respond to various questions such as “What is your favorite decade in fashion”, “what is your biggest fashion pet peeve”, etc. Nicole Miller’s biggest pet peeve: big designer logos. And it isn’t just designers claiming this is a fashion no-no. Stylists and editors are constantly focusing on “staples” and “under-stated” looks where less is more.
This topic is personally very interesting to me as it takes me back to my fashion-victim four months in Paris. From August to December 2007, I lived in Paris taking courses in everything from Haute Couture to International Business. Before arriving, I updated my wardrobe with all the staples I would need, plus a few extra. I got a new blazer, a cardigan, a black v-neck sweater, some polos in winter colors. I even dropped $185 dollars on gray 7 for All Mankind jeans (which retail in Paris for 300 euro, so I guess that is a deal) because GQ told me I should. When I got there, I was feeling great, but one month later I was feeling a little insufficient again.
I don’t know if it was fashion week, or if it was the fact that I was sitting in a class for 3 hours a week discussing labels like Hermès, Louis Vuitton, and Dior that made feel like my clothing “staples” were no longer enough to get me by in fashion-conscious Paris. As a result, I got online and started to buy. I got a Versace shirt, a D&G shirt, a Versace wallet, and a Dior sweater, all complete with logos, some huge and some small. The packages kept coming in the mail and my roommate, whose fashion sense was a little more mature than mine at the time, was in a constant state of horror as I dawned my new threads. “That is SO tacky!” I would hear every other night while getting ready to go out. I brushed it off though, because I was wearing Versace, and everyone knew it! I was unstoppable!
This phase lasted all the way until I stepped foot back onto U.S. soil in late December, notably much poorer than before I left. When I got home I wore the Versace shirt one last time in public, and when some guy passed me on the street and said (somewhat) under his breath, “ver-SACE!” I knew it was time to give it up. I don’t know if the comment was to compliment it, diss it, or merely acknowledge its existence, but I realized I no longer wanted people to know what I was wearing because the name was on my chest, shoulder, sleeve, or back. For example, if you can tell that I am wearing Burberry, I want it to be because you noticed the small novacheck piping, not because the whole shirt is plaid. Clothes should be for the person wearing them, not for anybody else. It took a while for me to learn, but it was a lesson worth learning and, I think, worth sharing. From now on, my labels are on the inside of my clothes, where they belong. The only thing that still survives in my wardrobe today from the Paris clothing binge is the Dior sweater (which I was wearing when I met Project Runway designer Sweet P), whose logo is smaller than the Polo player on a Ralph Lauren polo, which is just the right size for me now.


s24 said...

You know i had a similar experience a couple of times or rather everytime i wear my coach shoes because coach is kinda popular to the common person in the US so everytime i wear my coach shoes with the C someone or another always tells me nice shoes. i jus kinda chuckle.. i really dont want to tell the world im wearing coach shoes but i do like the pair.

The Manhattan Virgin said...

OH I laughed out loud! Very amusing :)