Many know the Coco Chanel quote about dressing impeccably. But she also said: “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” I’m not sure about the sky part, but with the rest I concur.
About a month ago the editor of The Observer asked me about doing a separate column for an upcoming section: Park Style. I jumped at it. Soon after I told a friend who responded: You?
Read Clyde's debut fashion column, I Luv Park Avenue Style, here.
Yep! Me. And if I say so myself, I’m perfect for the job.
Over this past week I’ve been talking with locals about their individual style and how it has changed over the years. Funny how some change dramatically and others very little. No matter your individual style, as with most everything else, I think age serves to make you more resolute in it, comfortable. You know yourself much better with each passing year.
I’ve kidded my life partner that I may be the missing link. Men may be from Mars and women from Venus, but I feel more like a Saturn type. I have a friend I can sit with and gab about fashion, but I lose her when I get as excited as her hubby about “The Walking Dead.”
Clothes were clothes when I was a kid. As you get older, you notice more, want things you see, a desire to fit in or stand out often equal motivators. I remember a pair of jeans I had with an arrow across the back. I also remember wearing lots of warm-up type clothes in junior high. Neither are now pleasant memories. I absolutely loved the ’80s, but fashion-wise it would be difficult to find a period with more fashion don’ts someone did. What was your biggest fashion mistake? For me, definitely parachute pants and short elf-like suede boots, which were like screaming “gay!” from a mountaintop.
In college I started working at a Gap store as Mickey Drexler was transforming the company and making it into an iconic American retailer. Back then so much was about socks, or the colors of the socks. Would you like some cornflower socks to go with that? You may have had blue socks, but cornflower was jarring and stirred you to purchase. And our UPTs (units per transaction) were upped. I also worked at a small clothing store called The Lodge on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. Back home, my parents now had a clothing store, and I thought a visit to the Calvin Klein space at the Atlanta Apparel Mart was near nirvana.
When I began working for GTE Wireless/Verizon in Atlanta, I discovered my tie and shoe fetish. Suede loafers, ah. Ermenegildo Zegna, Calvin Klein and Armani ties, and mostly Calvin Klein suits. If I say so myself in retrospect, not bad. Then, in 1995 we went to Italy for two weeks. My partner had scoffed at my Zegna ties before, yet he came home with as many as I did. We visited the market in Florence and the drill went like this: drink one beer, buy one tie, drink a second beer, buy two more ties, drink a third beer, yes, three more ties… and so on. I needed extra luggage simply to carry my ties.
I returned to Atlanta to find that we were going business casual. That, my friends, is called irony. One fetish was being snuffed out. As I recalled this past week to one of my Park Style mavens, I discovered what a wonderful weight control nice suits can be. When you pay a good bit of money for a suit, there’s real incentive to fit into it. Not such a big deal to buy a new pair of khakis. So consider yourselves warned with that Confucius-like grain of wisdom.
When we moved to Florida in 2001, it was time to go truly laid back. I’d always hated flip-flops, never wanting to look at my feet out in public. But warm weather and sunshine changed all of that. Shorts and T-shirts to someone who despises cold weather are like Linus’ comfy blanket.
My own personal mode of dress has changed dramatically over the years. I know more than a little bit about fashion, but the reason I’m most thrilled to write about Park Style going forward is that, as with this past week, it gives me even more opportunities to meet new people, and because I realize that Park Style has no more to do with me and my opinion than it does any other local resident. I simply hope to be a magnifying glass: My desire is to focus on you and your style, that of your friends and neighbors, and tell your story.
These pieces won’t be about being the local fashion police – as I’m not sure I could ever earn such a badge – but more the local fashion cheerleader.
Local Luv'n Local
Loot Jewelry is made right here in Winter Park by designer Shauna Allen and her business partner, Day Gigliotti. Each piece of Loot Jewelry is handcrafted using vintage, up-cycled, reclaimed and repurposed “treasures” many centuries old. They combine these vintage elements with modern findings to make a truly unique collection with one-of-a-kind in mind! Find it at the Blue Door Denim Shoppe.
Clyde Moore operates local sites ILUVWinterPark.com, ILUVParkAve.com and LUVMyRate.com, and aims to help local businesses promote themselves for free and help save them money, having some fun along the way. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to ILuv Winter Park on Facebook or Twitter.