Google+ WHAT'S ALEXANDRA WARING?: December 2013

How to Dress Like a Man | Part III

Saturday, 28 December 2013

How to Dress like a Man is a new series of posts on What's Alexandra Waring in an attempt to understand male fashion better and to define the basics of good dressing for men. This week, gentlemen, we shall be conversing over the topic of shirts and T-shirts! If you didn't catch the first half of this new series, you can catch up here and here... 

Tee-ase me

The first rule when it comes to tees is to keep it plain and classy. Nothing screams 'GET AWAY FROM ME', more than slogan tees designed to make you stare so that men can get an eyeful. Bloody disgusting.
Secondly, a tee needs to be fitted (if you're very skinny, don't be afraid of fitted tees- they'll look ten times better than an ironically 'oversized' tee, drowning you in material and in fact, making you look skinnier). One thing I will say is....if you're pumped, then please avoid tees that look like they've been sprayed onto your torso. I take one look at you and know I will never be able to compete with your pecs for your attention... and I'm out. You don't need to wear something like that to attract anybody!
Another thing to note about tees is that they can be easily dressed up or down. A slightly baggier tee (this can be an exception!) with tighter jeans looks quite casual, especially with pumps or nice loafers. Dressed up, under a suit jacket will look swish enough for lunch with the parents or a smart-casual meeting, especially with smart jeans and a nice watch to accessorise.

Time to get shirty
A shirt is a timeless classic that can easily be dressed up, down, underneath jumpers, draped over tees, tied round the waist- one of the most versatile pieces in a male wardrobe. To that end, it's vital to have a good variation of them to compliment your different looks.
Obviously, every man will have their preferences and how far they'll push themselves style wise. Why not make like my babe Joseph Gordon-Levitt (above) and prove your manliness with a wacky print shirt and tie? Or dress it down at the weekend with a preppy denim shirt (and push the boat out there with double denim!). 
Also, give different looks with shirts a try. Buttoned all the way up, all the way down, a few buttons done up etc. Accessorise with different printed handkerchiefs in your top right pocket, roll your sleeves up, try out some cufflinks... they're incredibly versatile!
The best thing to do is have a bit of an experiment and try things on that you like in shops. Don't be afraid to have a go- remember, first impressions count, gents!
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The Healing Power of Fashion

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Lately, I've been going through some pretty emotional times and I feel like its time for a pick-me-up. When feeling low, I've found that you need to focus back on yourself and what makes you happy, to be able to get up in the morning and live your life for you. I've never been good at the whole 'picking myself back up again' thing, but I truly think I've found the best medicine to remedy it.

Now, you may think it silly of me to cite fashion and style as my best healing power, but there really is nothing quite like it (for me anyway). It's akin to the same sort of feeling I get after singing or balling my eyes out to an Adele power ballad. It's a release like no other that allows me to be creative with how I'm feeling.

All we hear about these days is how fashion ruins people. Graduates in debt before they even start working life, size 0 phenomenons causing eating disorders in teenagers, plastic surgery becoming more and more prone in young women... etc etc. Yes, I agree there are detrimental sides to this business- but where would we be without it?

I've suffered an eating disorder, not at the hand of fashion, but due to a lack of my own self confidence. Fashion gives back what you put into it and when I'm upset or low about something, I put life and energy into that medium and it brings me happiness. Self confidence is a blessing that very few people have, so what is the problem with reaching it through fashion and style?

Self confidence can be affected by many many things. A bad score in an exam, a stupid off-hand comment from a work colleague, letting people down- all of it can make you feel like you're not good enough. Putting on a killer outfit, maybe one that you know shows off your hips/bum/shoulders/[insert body part here] or one that you got for £20 in a vintage lock in- choose something that will make you smile throughout the day. 

As Valentino says: 'What do women want? They want to be beautiful'. 

Beauty doesn't have to be superficial, but for me- dressing the way that makes me feel amazing is the first step. I get incredibly defensive about style when people try to knock it. When I see someone wearing something totally wacky down the street, I don't recoil in horror! I smile and think, "wow... I wish I had their self confidence!". It's almost a statement about how you're feeling and a way of making other people realise that you're a confident person. Where did power dressing come from, if not the age-old problem of confidence? 

One of my favourite things to watch and read when I'm feeling like this is Advanced Style- a fashion blog documenting street style of older generations. The brains behind the project, Ari Seth Cohen, has a YouTube channel which captures little snippets of these people's lives. Older ladies and gentlemen tend to have a self confidence that is so hard to find amongst younger generations. One of my favourites in the Advanced Style cohort is Ilona Royce Smithkin- a singer, artist and fantastic dresser. Her approach to life is wonderous and shows through her eclectic style choices.

These men and women are truly inspirational, and they all share one common factor: Self Confidence. And none of them are looking back at the past or idolising it in some strange form of nostalgia. 'Fashion's not about looking back. It's always about looking forward'- Anna Wintour

'As Oscar Wilde said, "Be yourself. Everyone else is taken."'

Even if fashion isn't a particular interest for you, find something to put your life's energy into and make sure that it will keep giving that sense of self confidence back to you. That way when you're feeling low, you'll always have something to rely on to make you the person you want and need to be.

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