Sartorial Coolness and Nonchalant Grace

I’ve had an epiphany and here it is: I don’t want to know about anyone’s personal style!

After reading about Andrea Linett, a nice woman who looks like Sarah Jessica Parker, at stylelikeu.com, I find the whole Look-at-My-Wardrobe craze to be WAY too much information. It’s all so embarrassing.

People seem to be hopelessly enamored of their own specialness. I hate the word “enamored” but I’m using it to get in the mood. I think the awful prose of the stylikeu wordsmith is rubbing off on me!

Try this: “Among the voluminous amount of people that inspire Andrea is …”

Are you happy with the usage of “voluminous?” Me neither! It just gets worse until you want to stab yourself or puncture your eardrums.

Here’s what Andrea says of her boots:

“Somebody said, ‘I love your go-go boots,’ but they’re not go-go boots. They’re almost like Victorian sneakers or crazy old ice-skates without the blade. I love them.”

She reveals that her style muse has always been Bob Dylan, and she checks her style choices by asking herself, “Would Bob wear this?”   I guess Bob approved the go-go boots, and I wouldn’t want to second guess him. Then there’s some crap about Kurt Cobain’s Iconic Sweater and the gushing appreciation of Ms. Linett ends with…

“The sweater is as much a reflection of her taste for edgy classics, as it is for her sartorial coolness and nonchalant grace. In her layers of patchouli and turquoise, Andrea has a gift for choosing the consumate creative influences, but she is one herself.”

Oh god. It’s not all Andrea’s fault but she has to take some of the blame.

**As an antidote to this terrible journalism, let me introduce someone who can really write:   Leigh Alexander, who was brought to my attention by Lauren, a blogger with some fascinatingly diverse interests.

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53 Responses to “Sartorial Coolness and Nonchalant Grace”

  1. ellio100 Says:

    Oh Christ. I don’t mind snooping through people’s clothes blogs (I am nosy and I like clothes) but the gushing text really fucks me off. You know how there are presets on photo-editing websites that make your pictures look ‘retro’? Well I’m starting to think there must be text-editing websites that make you sound like a pretentious, cretinous dick.

    Leigh and Lauren are both fantastic. I love these posts SW, it’s like good vs evil in 350 words!

  2. Jean Says:

    Sister, I read this article by Alison Adburgham the other day called ‘The Fashion Writer’s Predicament’ and it made me think of you. It was published in the Guardian in 1961, anyway basically it is all about the language of fashion and how the ‘in’ words come and go as frequently as the fashion seasons themselves. Not a lot has changed – actually – the fashion language is getting more and more ridiculous that it hardly makes any sense!

  3. Alexandra Says:

    I’m not sure that even counts as pretentious. I think in order to sound pretentious (rather than just as a moron) you have to have correct vocabulary usage. This person needs to study the dictionary a bit further, or maybe read a book or two?

    Ugh. Crap like this really grates on me.

  4. hammiesays Says:

    So if I pull a balled up sweater off the bedroom floor of a bedsit in Rathmines I too can have nonchalant grace?
    Gah! xx

  5. Dru Says:

    So basically Stylelikeu is like refinery29 tossed in a word salad, with better-quality images.

    I wouldn’t blame Andrea if she was embarrassed by all the gushing- nauseatingly badly-written gushing, at that. I know fashion’s all about the image, but how bad are things if copy like that is allowed to go up for public viewing?

  6. annemarie Says:

    Such a waste of brain power. It makes me wonder if fashion was not deliberately created by men in order to keep women occupied, out of the way, and away from the control switches.

  7. Chelsea Rae Says:

    A “voluminous amount of people”? Really? Sometimes the thesaurus is not your friend.

  8. Lauren Says:

    Thanks for the shout out! I guess you could say Leigh Alexander is “among the voluminous amount of people” that inspire me… blech! But seriously.

  9. Rackk and Ruin Says:

    When i first found Stylelikeu i noticed that i’d automatically hit mute while the people were being interviewed. I just couldn’t stand how the interviewer/camera holder kept moaning “amazing” after every item was described (like a Rachel Zoe robot). It’s really not that amazing that someone decided to wear their thrift store dress inside-out and backwards.
    But, unlike you, i am not yet over closet voyeurism (i can definitely do without the overly wordy descriptions though). . . and I totally need one of those jewelry organizers Andrea has though

  10. Suebob Says:

    I may not have a voluminous amount of fans, but I have a voluminous amount of ass that I have to go stuff in some slacks for work.

  11. Mr. San Pedro Says:

    I checked with Bob, and he politely asked if she’d please take it off her head, her brand new…

  12. Ann Says:

    No, no, no and no. I’m sure Andrea deserves better. Voluminously better.

    Also, I used to like the word “sartorial” but have now become sick of seeing it in every other sentence.

  13. eh Says:

    There’s a newish feature in the New York Times Sunday Style section that’s miles ahead in cringe factor – it’s basically a celeb listing what they wore for one week. Just an unending borefest of name dropping hideousness. I hope they get rid of it. Even someone slightly interesting comes off sounding like a shallow idiot. Behold:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/30/fashion/30WHATIWORE.html

  14. candy Says:

    I know this website. I went there once and start looking at the wardrobes. Among those featured, there is Karla from karla’s closet. I think showing your clothes is fine but showing your wardrobe is pretentious. Those people don’t know that they put themselves at risk. I don’t know but if somebody who hates you and knows where you live, then you are screwed.

  15. kt Says:

    It’s all tremendously annoying and unoriginal at this point. Every other young girl is now trying to capitalize on the “aesthetics of cool.” The problem is that most are just getting cues from others anyway (as evidenced in your previous post about the “leather shorts and a stupid hat” blogger phenomenon), and then put it out there seeking validation that what they’re doing is somehow unique and interesting. What’s worse is that all of this nonsense is not going to stop. With that said, if I see the “Jeff” Campbell Lita boot one more time, I’mma lose my shit.

    Also, I hope this will momentarily brighten your day as it has mine: http://jakandjil.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/pradafur.jpg

  16. Zan Says:

    I really enjoy your site.

    I do enjoy some fashion blogs, because they introduce me to new places to shop and whatnot. But, what I miss is this: People having amazing fashion without the running explanation of how they put it together. Knowing every last thought and method drains the magic out of it. I just love great fashion, and when there are 16 paragraphs explaining print mixing methodology, it feels way too clinical to me. My two cents.

  17. candy Says:

    Yes Zan that is so true, I remember when there weren’t blogs, people used to tell me where I bought this or that, a pair of shoes or a top. So there was one person who would ask me this. Now you have the blogs, so the bloggers describe where they bought their outfit sometimes they describe the perfume they are wearing, and then you end up with uniform people. In the past, we would talk about fashion dictature but now I think it makes total sense to call it that.

  18. Zan Says:

    Yeah, I just miss the days of seeing a girl dress cool and thinking “So cool–wear did she get that!”. Now I know because she tumbled, or twatted, or whatever pictures of the shopping trip and wrote the wrote 8 pages of adjectives describing it, with the obligatory “styled” photos. I think I just liked it better when we all kept that in our heads a little bit and then fashion had a little mystique and drama. I guess the benefit is everyone gets more access to shopping resources, but its drained the fun out. Maybe I’m just hopelessly judgemental.

  19. Erika Says:

    There is nothing wrong with speaking simply. If you use big words and don’t know what they mean or how to put them in proper contaxt you come across as a dumb ass. However I think enough dumb asses are following other dumb asses so at this point it makes no difference.

  20. Andra Says:

    Why would you want to base your dress style on Bob Dylan?
    What an extraordinary thing to do.
    Those white books are very dirty. Some white shoe polish would probably help.
    They also look very heavy and uncomfortable.
    And that’s that!
    Voluminous is a good word for certain occasions, this is not one of them.

  21. Andra Says:

    Ah Suebob, you made my laugh for the morning.
    Thanks for that.

  22. Cricket9 Says:

    “What I wore today”
    Just like a voluminous amount of inhabitants of Ottawa, the nation capital of your “neighbours from the North”, I wear layers and layers of edgy classics, inspired by the iconic figure of Canadian Trapper, or, how they say it en francais, “courreur de bois”. Today I wore stripped light/dark grey cashmere sweater (Gap), nonchalantly covered by an oversized men’s cashmere cardigan (trift store). A pair of grey long johns ( a shot-out to the revered Long Johns’ icon, David Duff) under black jeans (Calvin Klein), a down parka (unknown italian-sounding brand) with voluminous collar pulled up to my ears, red woolen socks and a pair of heavy laced kick-ass boots (Timberland) completed the outfit. Thick woolen mitts and that quintessentially Canadian accessory, the tuque (curated at a ski store) added a rustic accent, while Bolle sunglasses (Costco) provided a touch of refinement. This sartorial combination was an amazing success- I did not freeze my butt waiting for the bus!
    P.S. These boots are not ‘like Victorian sneakers”, they like the ugly clunkers.

  23. Cricket9 Says:

    “They are ugly clunkers” – no idea why I typed “like”. Must start experiments with automatic writing.

  24. Brunehilda Says:

    this is how I feel too

    no one has any self awareness or no one seems to care how fucking sad they sound

  25. anna dc Says:

    what really bums me out was when I became aware of the youtube genre of ‘haul’ videos. it’s just people (usually teenagers) showing off lots of junk they bought at the mall.

  26. Andra Says:

    Cricket
    You make me laugh, while I am waiting to be devoured by the biggest cyclone to ever hit Australia. It is heading straight towards Cairns at a speed of 40 kph – fast. Winds of around 280 kph expected, much flooding.
    There is nothing more to do now but wait, nervously.
    Wish us luck.

  27. Cricket9 Says:

    Crap, Andra, what’s with all the flooding?! I went to visit my family in Poland last year and watched on TV huge regions of the country flooded, waters receding, people coming back, just to witness whole villages swallowed in mudslides. Now Australia. Winds around 280 kph – I do indeed wish you luck! Hang unto something solid and keep us posted!

  28. Aja Says:

    Stay safe Andra!

  29. Maryann Says:

    THIS JUST HITS THE NAIL ON THE FUCKING HEAD. Who are you to justify that you appreciate an aesthetic more than someone else if you can afford a $5,000 blah-blah-blah by blah-blah?! I hate how people have totally bought into that market….and admittedly, even me…. :(

  30. Nickie Frye Says:

    I dunno. I think personal style blogs can be interesting. Many of them suck, yes it’s true. I’m sure people think that mine suck. Whatever. I do wish there were more “mature”(?) women with style blogs. It seems like most style bloggers are in the 16-25 year old range, & there are only a few of us over 35. Should we all just roll over & die once we pass the age of 35? Should we all just schlep around in sweatsuits & mini vans? Geez!

  31. Nickie Frye Says:

    (Sorry, that’s not to say that anyone here is suggesting that women over 35 should only wear sweatpants. LOL!)

  32. emmett k Says:

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with what is wrong with fashion blogging. There are very, VERY few people who are creative/artistic/unique in their sense of dress that can translate that into an interesting blog. There are maybe 5? 6? bloggers who manage this and I love them and their style. Unfortunately, most fashion blogs are just a sea of meaningless crap.

    I started a “fashion” blog awhile back because I loved clothes/colours/fabrics etc but (I’m going to delete it and start a different blog its private right now until I decide what I want to do) I found most of the time I didn’t care about the crap other people were wearing, I got annoyed having to take pictures all the time and I hated it wasn’t acceptable to tell people I thought what they were wearing was ugly. Ihe whole thing seemed simple and narcissistic (with the exception of the small group whose blogs foster creativity and discussion). Then I started wondering why should I care whether or not a stranger likes my boots? Why should a stranger care if I like their boots? I like my clothes, but I have other interests too so I decided to check out of the ‘fashion blogging’ world for a bit. I still read my 5 or 6 favourites but I ignore the rest. I think what sums it up for me is most people dress badly, but seem to think they dress well.

  33. emmett k Says:

    Oh I forgot to add, as much as I love kurt cobain it drives me mad when people try and emulate him. He looked like a hobo because he didn’t give a f*ck! He bought his flannels and some cheap discount store. His sweaters were probably pilly and old because he couldn’t be bothered to get new ones, not because he was making a fashion statement.

  34. E Says:

    Why would you settle for Bob Dylan’s wardrobe?
    I’m confused.

  35. filou Says:

    they say showing your clothes off is narcissistic, but these people arent even good looking enough to be narcissistic – i find it all so funny. arent there enough magazines to look at clothes? all these outfit of the day bloggers are nobodies in the middle of nowhere who have noone else to ‘appreciate’ their precious clothes i suppose.
    i think style bubble is the worst, crap outfits accompanied with posts on silly designers that belong in the junk mail folder. its like reality show tv, i guess many people look at this shit to have a laugh, to distract themselves.

  36. andrea Says:

    FYI the NY Times what I wore column is written by Chloe Malle, Candice Bergen’s and the director Louis Malle’s daughter. Not impressed, but I guess she didn’t have to interview for this job.

  37. Aja Says:

    Sorry Filou, but Susie Bubble rocks! She wears clothes purely for the love of fashion with not a hint of “look at me”. Plus, she has given a lot of designers and trades folks credibility. Yookoo for one. That girl definitely pushed eternity scarves and before you knew it, every where you looked every store was selling eternity scarves. Susie Bubble is a force of nature. And I personally love Andrea Linett too. I met her once and she was equal parts cool and nice. And who wouldn’t want to own a sweater that Kurt Cobain once wore?

  38. Cricket9 Says:

    Aja, no Curt Cobain’s sweaters for me; now, Johnny Depp’s sweater – THAT would be a completely different matter ;-)

  39. Dru Says:

    I’m with Aja on that one- Susie wears clothes not because they’re “crazy” or “on-trend” or so people will “appreciate” them, but because SHE likes them. (she was one of the very few who didn’t buy into either the Balmain/Wang explosion of two years ago OR the Sea of Camel look that Celine developed as a reaction to that).

    And Style Bubble is great because it ISN’T Susie’s personal outfit blog, and it’s not all “me me me and my great clothes”. Those “designers that belong in the junk mail folder” are often talented people who benefit from the exposure she gives them, and whom we’d never have known about otherwise.

  40. Sister Wolf Says:

    I love SusieB.

  41. Sister Wolf Says:

    eh – Oh god that NYT thing is so shockingly awful and stupid! Is it new??

    kt – Ha!

    Aja – Of COURSE you love Andrea Linnet, I would expect nothing less from you, xo

  42. Aja Says:

    There I go again Sister Wolf, like a little gnat. I look at it this way, I’m simply providing an alternative view. What is any great argument without small opposition? xoxoxo.

  43. tartandtreacly Says:

    Speaking of journalism, apparently BBC World Service is ending its radio broadcasts in China, the latest in a long line of cuts. Now, you know the end of real journalism is nigh when the sun is setting on one of the only worthwhile institutions of the British Empire and silly new media chits are talking about “voluminous” amounts of people as if they’re trying to figure out an euphemistic way to say that Andrea Linett is a fatty-fancier.

    It is honestly pretty damn easy to have style, provided you have a certain amount of money, a certain amount of cultural literacy, and the time and inclination to cultivate taste. But to create, that’s hard, and I’d imagine beyond the dominion of most of these types.

    In sum: Bob Dylan is a whore, and Kurt Cobain would have laughed at her.

  44. Sister Wolf Says:

    tartandtreacly – Too fucking right.

  45. tartandtreacly Says:

    And speaking of Bob, Little Annie Fanny did a satirical bit that was fairly amusing and summed up perfectly my feelings about him.

    (For those that don’t know, Little Annie Fanny is a comic strip that appeared in Playboy way, way back when it thought it was Vanity Fair.)

  46. The Raisin Girl Says:

    Sartorial Coolness and Nonchalant Grace sounds like an obnoxious fashion blog. Or a parody of obnoxious fashion blogs.

    Wait a second…a lightbulb just went on…

  47. TheShoeGirl Says:

    I haven’t been able to do blog posts for a while and I blame you.

    I trace it back to the video you posted that fucking traumatized me.

    I still love you though.

  48. Sister Wolf Says:

    TheShoeGirl – I love you more.

  49. TheShoeGirl Says:

    No I love YOU more.

  50. Jaimi Says:

    I love Leigh Alexander! “Five Emotions Invented by the Internet”. At first I was all, “Oh great, another cutesy list to draw comments” but by the end I was like, “oh goddamn, she got me”.

    That said, I do feel the need to point out one article I liked on StyleLikeU, the couple from the band Jeffertiti’s Nile. So funny. I was prepared to hate them but I thought they were really funny, sweet, and genuine. “Umm…these pants, someone gave them to me or something, yep”

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  52. e Says:

    I know this is an old post but I can’t help but comment… The mom and daughter team who run stylelikeu don’t have enough time to write every single person’s “style blurb” – it’s actually often left to the interns. I notice that there are certainly words misspelled and/or misused – including band and designer names – but it’s not being written by journalists, it’s being written by teens, so I shrug it off.

    Admittedly, I actually was in one of these a while back before it really blew up. I was really hesitant at first precisely because I didn’t want people watching it to assume I was some pretentious idiot. But watching previous people’s interviews (at least a dozen of which are friends of mine) I was really touched by how genuine some of the stories were.

    Clearly if someone is posting about their “amazing” Urban outfitters x Opening Ceremony x Alexander Wang x Jeffrey Campbell outfits every day on their blog it is eye-roll inducing. But then there are times when you see a mysterious, incredible looking freak girl on the streets and wonder about her… What is her story? Where is she from? Where did she get those shoes? It goes both ways.

    While I enjoy/agree with many of them, all the criticisms I read are why I resist starting a blog of my own, even though I think I would enjoy it. I can’t decide that *I* wouldn’t judge myself if I saw my own blog of more outfit postings etc…

    A dilemma indeed!

    Sorry this got so long-winded but I am curious about your opinion, Sister Wolf.

    P.S. I know you dislike Jezebel – as do I – but if you haven’t you should check out Persephonemagazine.com. It’s the smarter, irritation-free alternative.

  53. e Says:

    Oops, I meant to say “While I enjoy/agree with many of them, all the criticism I read on this site

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