Against Effortlessness

When did we become too cool for effort? It's a common underlining thought I keep coming across as I research style icon after style icon. Originally it could have been a rebellion from the strict fashion rules that pervaded earlier periods--from the requirement of wearing a corset to the need to match your shoes to your purse in the 1950s fashion was often restrictive. However, nowadays the trend isn't so much that it's cool to wear tees and cutoffs, but to act as if you haven't considered your basic wardrobe choices. You can look like you tried, but please don't admit that you actually planned your accessories--such coordination and effort is decidedly uncool.
From Jane Birkin to Debbie Harry, nearly every interview with oft-recognized fashion trend-setters on style leads to them sharing that they never intended to be fashionable--it was quite an accident. Debbie Harry said in an interview with Style, "I would just get dressed like a blind fool and somehow I guess that's how people started thinking that I was fashionable and that I really knew what I was doing. I really don't, you know." Even modern icons like Alexa Chung want to emphasize that it's all about fun and not taking fashion too seriously.
What I take away from the quotes is not a disdain of fashion exactly, but a desire to be read as more casual and effortless. It's cool to not try, you know? To just "accidentally" end up with designer friends, vintage Chanel, and that perfectly winged eyeliner...Sure you can enjoy spending hours browsing racks of secondhand and vintage or even shopping high street brands, but when you roll out of bed you roll through a pile of babydoll dresses and wind up with the perfect pair of abused leather flats and shrunken denim jacket to pair it with quite on accident. It's not to say that I don't think you should be ashamed of chipped nails or casual days when it is too much work to think about a cute outfit--it didn't even bother me in college when students showed up to class in their pajamas (hey, stuff happens). I just don't understand why people deny they are trying; that they do care about how they present themselves to the world.
I wish more people would say they put thought and effort into their outfit, and hey maybe that it was fun? I promise, I'll still think you're cool even if you admit you're putting effort in. I've always liked Dita von Teese's daywear for the precise reason that it looks so intentional--you can tell she's obviously trying (and succeeding). Just look at how excited she gets about trying on Dior; it makes me like her so much more. She knows it is a privilege to wear beautiful clothes and she doesn't seem to take it for granted.


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