Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Study in Contrasts
Photo via The Sartorialist

       A week has passed since Purim and I’m still contemplating it. I was going to dress like a gypsy. I wished to embody that free-spirited woman; fresh from the fight and raw with restlessness. I envisioned my dark hair gloriously unrestrained, bangles creating music with every moment, a folkloric patterned skirt sweeping the floor. Yet, waking up on Purim morning, I rubbed my sleepy eyes and mumbled “nah—not in the mood.”
      What to do? What to do? I initiated an invasion of my mother’s vintage-laden closet. There was a psychedelic top from the 70s, a few flannel shirts from the 90s, and wait a minute—what’s this? I excitedly eyed a hat perched on my mother’s shelf.
It was a round straw hat with a dainty veil attached. Made in England! Very Duchess Catherine. Very “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”
I swooned at the hat’s effeminate beauty. All I needed was a quintessentially British suit and I would be all set.
“Ma, do you have a tailored, ladylike suit? I need it for my costume.”
“No, I don’t” she said perusing her closet.  
“Hey! What about this one?”  She pointed at a mustard-yellow power suit with shoulder pads the size of my face.
This monstrosity? I balked. If I were to wear this outfit, then I would look like the hypothetical love child of Princess Diana and Superman.

“Wear it! Wear it!” She coaxed.

“Ma, I don’t think so. I’ll frighten all the Jewish boys and besides this 80’s suit doesn’t match with the 50’s hat.”
       I began to trudge wearily to my room, saddened by the fact that this Purim I would be ironically dressed as “Me” (yet again). Then I halted. What if I wear that 80’s power suit with the 50’s hat with my 90’s Doc Martens? Then I could be “a-woman-who-traveled-through-time-and-returned-to-2013-dressed-as-a-mélange-of-different-decades!” Booyah!
       So, that’s what I was. I happily welcomed my contradictory identity for the day (even if it did frighten unsuspecting Jewish bachelors). I was neither here nor there. I was not Old Hollywood. I was not Whitney Houston from the 80s. I was not a Nirvana hopeful.
I was everything. I was nothing. It depends on how you look at it.
      Which leads me to the concept of this post: As a perplexed 22 year old—one who still has her pulse on the ubiquitous “I need to figure my life out” manifesto—I’m drawn to wearing clothes that reflect this confusion.
On a daily basis and not only on Purim.
 Photo via Marie Claire London FW 2013 (left) & The Sartorialist (right)

       The illustrious street-style photographer Scott Schuman (from The Sartorialist) once stated that he enjoys snapping photos of youngsters because their angst and unknown identity create the most intriguing outfits.

        In his own words: "Why would you want coherence and harmony from youth? Youth is about mashing, breaking and reassembling life to find new answers for your generation. That’s one of the reasons youth moves fashion, they haven’t found their harmony yet, and I’m thankful for that."
       He’s absolutely right. I’m a dazed 20-something—brooding over work, relationships, spirituality, and my general emergence into adulthood. If the present psychological research is correct, then 20s are the new teenagers, and as we’re well-aware, teenagers are blessed with befuddled identities and inner turbulence.
      This explains why over the past year, I’ve been reaching for an array of “it theoretically shouldn’t match” kind of clothing from the hangers. My muddled identity is to blame. I don’t usually look at my closet and say “what artistic statement should I make today?” Mainly, it’s my mood and subconscious that guide sartorial decisions.
Photo via

       My subconsciousness can influence my style in the most bizarre way. For instance, I could be feeling like a grandma (with an unexciting social life, knitting on a Saturday night) but my party girl alter-ego demands to have the last word. What’s the sartorial equivalent of this paradox? A "Wool Grandma Cardigan + Sequin Pencil Skirt." Similarly, my “Jewish girl naiveté with an affinity for punk-rock music” self can result in a “Pleated Skirt + Subversive Doc Martens” pairing. 
Strange? Perhaps.
      Yet, when I dress this way, I release my (at times aggravating) dichotomy into the folds of a silk dress or the frayed edges of a denim jacket. It feels good to breathe out that tension. As French filmmaker, Jean Cocteau, once stated “style is a simple way of saying complicated things.” Truer words in regard to fashion have yet to be said.
The Sartorialist & Street Style (left) and Marc by Marc Jacobs Fall 2012 (right)

      It is in this vein, that we would like to introduce a NEW monthly column (in addition to “Style Icon” “Color Coding” and “Would You Wear?”) on Wear Your Invisible Crown. It will be called “A Study in Contrasts” and it will examine ensembles that seem atrocious-looking on paper, but in reality, exude pure intrigue. Tulle skirts with blazers, leather with lace, military camo with chiffon...You get the gist.

Photo via Elle Brazil

       In conclusion, I’m quite happy that I shrugged off my gypsy costume in favor of being a young woman experiencing an identity crisis. Because of it, I was prompted to reevaluate my definition of fashion and style. For all the hyped materialism and intimidation that fashion imparts, it still is—at its very core—a reflection of creativity and of the (often baffled) “self.”


  1. you were dressed superbly stylish on purim... wish my camera worked to snap a pic :)

  2. Thank you Anon! :) Wish that was the case too. Oh well. At least it works now.

  3. I guess that explains why I dress in T-shirts and long denim skirts more suitable for a young teenager than a college student- on the outside I'm in my twenties, but on the inside I'm really young. Part of it may have to do with my birthday being in the first Adar (which only comes around every so often). I still haven't gotten a mickey mouse shirt yet,even though I've seen it on a couple of my fellow college students (the ones who are gorgeous enough to get away with wearing anything.)

  4. Haha. I love the Adar joke. As the saying goes, "You are what you wear" Kidding. In all seriousness though, you look excellent in bright colors(especially in regard to nail polish). They reflect your vivacious spirit.

  5. I agree! Of course, we must always remember that the most important thing is to have good midos!

  6. "Anonymous"(ahem): You're too funny.