Monday, July 21, 2008

Overaccessorizing - Please STOP IT

This is not a fashion blog. But strangers and friends can note I pay attention to fashion by how I dress. As for me, I don't see myself as a fashion fanatic (I have better things to do - nothing against those who are) but I do believe in being stylish. And there is a huge difference between being stylish and being trendy. The former defines you and the latter, well shows you have more money at your disposal - for lack of a better word.

To really note the difference, just look at folks who have been referred to as style icons: Audrey Hepburn for the little black dress, Katherine Hepburn for wearing pants and white shirts when the ladylike dresses were the norm, Richard Roundtree in the iconic “Shaft” who made turtlenecks and the leather jackets to be sexy as a bad mother (shut your mouth), and Diana Ross in the movie "Mahogany."

There’s nothing wrong with being trendy. If you are a fashion editor or designer, it's a job requirement. But paying attention to trends should just enhance the style you already have. For example, when you look at Ralph Lauren, the epitome of the American style, you may note he threw in a few elements of surprise in a new season line but you can tell it is STILL Ralph Lauren. He ain't gonna be Sean John - a little more edgy. Get my drift.

So what brought about my gripe today? This overaccessorizing trend I’ve been seeing on my TV screens and on the streets. On BET awards, I saw the rappers in their blinding bling. Seriously, how in the world can so many guys wear glittery t-shirts, with blinged out jewelry on their necks, eyes (with shades) and wrists? OMG! I could feed a war-thorn African country with half of the jewelry on those guys.

Then I was watching CNN this weekend and I couldn’t concentrate on the news this anchor (who I love since her days in South Florida so she will remain nameless) was reading. She had on this chunky necklace and equally chunky earrings. I felt like going through my TV screen and taking one piece of jewelry off that was detracting from her already beautiful face. It was no different when I saw another CNN piece on Black in America (later on that).

What is it about our American super-size culture? It’s a land of excess but in some things, like make-up or trends, less can definitely be more. When you go to other countries, for example France, you find some of the chicest women. Most of them have little to no jewelry with their dresses or outfits. Same thing goes with African countries, most of the times, the clothes (often embroidered) speak for themselves. And when they wear chunky jewelry, most of the times, the outfits are plain.

Not so with my American counterparts, they will rather show how much they could afford by piling the jewelry on. To those folks, I would like to remind them of what another style icon, Coco Chanel said: When you’re fully dressed, before you leave your door, take one thing OFF.