I overheard, a few years ago, some talk at a book release party, or I think that is what one would call it; when an author has people over to celebrate the publishing of their book. In any case, a man, a man with style, a man known in my community as Chicago Joe (this is perhaps to distinguish him from other Joes in town?), was conversing with another stylish person, a woman we will call Mme. B. They were both lamenting a loss of style-consciousness in our little burg- they thought that people used to care more about fashion, and they looked around, and they looked at me, because, just like you, I knew that this was a thing guests could really 'dress' for- I had an all ivory ensemble: Ivory shorts with dragonflies, a billowing ivory blouse, and a pair of ivory heeled oxfords to die for. It was, if nothing else, very style-conscious.
Chicago Joe has always distinguished himself with short-brimmed fedoras and smart, textured sports jackets. Mme. B. won my undying devotion by wearing silver (silver!) clogs with a rose-printed scarf tied at her waist to the opening of an art exhibit some several seasons before the book party in question. To be perfectly clear, these two pillars of the community have spoken with me, now and then, but we really do not know each other by name. They know each other, and they know friends of mine, and I know friends of theirs, but I wouldn't bet a fiver that they could give my name. What we know about each other, and it is communicated by appreciative nods, and subtle stolen glances, is that we three care about style. Still. I reckon I have seen these two around my area for 3 decades, and I have noticed them entirely for the reasons they proffered: they looked stylish. They looked good. They looked different, careful, and creative in their choices of cladding. You might wonder why I am carrying on like this, but I know most of you know exactly what I am talking about. There is a little wake of envy that follows people like Mme. B. and Chicago J: People think to themselves: I wish I could dress like that.
If you haven't already seen through this little fallacy, now is a good time to say it out loud: I wish I could dress like that. Can you hear yourself? Do you see where you have gone wrong? Isn't it as plain as the nose on your face?
Begin by putting your two favorite things together. Tomorrow add another item. Be sure these things do not match, be sure they do not go "together." Be sure that you love them. Add only things that you love- get them at the five and dime, the thrift shop, a friend's closet. Make them yourself out of fabric you love. Paint on them, pin buttons to them, sew little stitches to the collars. Cut off 5 inches. Take the sleeves off. Add five inches of another fabric. You look marvelous!
Months have passed, you love to get dressed, and your friends have started to comment: Gee, you look great today- it reminds me a bit of Mme. B. I love your hat! You look like Chicago Joe!
More time passes, you have given all your sweatshirts and fleece to the Goodwill. Ripstop windbreakers seem too slithery to even touch, let alone wear. You are ready, now, finally, for faux fur. Get some here.