Monday, April 9, 2012

Jes - Rittenhouse

This is the last entry from Philly for the next few days. I'll be in Boston fashion blogging the Popular Culture Association Conference starting tomorrow. So stay tuned for the hottest trends in academic chic!

Shooting Jes today, I realized I never think to ask anyone what they're wearing or what it means to them. That's my next plan of action. It's good form for a fashion blogger, no doubt, and rich ethnographic data for an anthropologist. Plus, how am I possibly ever going to get swag if I don't start dropping brand names? Not that I'm after free stuff. I'm just interested to know what it takes to get it.

Bet you didn't even notice she has a nose ring. They are suddenly everywhere again, along with Wayfarers, '70s style vintage leather, and colorful knitted items. What I find interesting about Jes' style is that the individual elements are rock 'n' roll, hippy, and alternative, and yet taken together, and perhaps this is the key point, mixed with a more conventional hairstyle, they read as something else entirely.


  1. Great shot! Yes, lots of 90's coming into play.

    I am so bad about asking about brands and such too. I do however find that any time I point out a particular item on someone's outfit that I really like it always seems to have a fun story behind it... My favorite is when the item used to belong to their mom. Most often the conversation leads to our mutual love of flea markets and thrifting though. The majority of the people I end up stopping do most of their shopping at good will and consignment shops.

  2. I'm trying out your method. It seems to be effective. Still doesn't come naturally to me to ask about brands. I think I am, as we've discussed, simply more interested in the people wearing the clothes than the clothes themselves.

  3. Hello! I just discovered your blog via Urban Weeds and I'm totally on board with your concept. I love it. Regarding the question of brands and such, if you're not fully interested in that aspect, why not ask the subject to tell you something about what they're wearing? Most likely, it would end up being the sentimentality of a piece as Dana mentioned, or some great random story of how they came to own the item. As a reader of several style blogs and general curious person, I like to know where the items come from and appreciate the way Lisa at Urban Weeds lists it out on her posts (especially when a dog is in the photo and she shares the name of the dog or the cafe where they just bought that cup of coffee, etc.) but having a random tidbit from the person being photographed on what stands out for them in their overall look would be a cool alternative.

    Something interesting to me is the above post on authenticity in punk culture, but authenticity in general. As it has already been discussed on your blog, there seems to be a big number of people dressing a certain way in order to be noticed. How are we supposed to define authenticity now? If a lot of thought is put into what we wear, or we're dressing a certain way to be noticed in a certain way, where does that leave authenticity? As far as style goes, could it then be the case someone is just great at styling clothes but their style/look isn't authentic? And do street style photographers, fashion critics, style bloggers and readers/lookers care either way?

    I've been trying to figure out my own style in the last year and while I'm pretty good at knowing what I'm comfortable in and what is "me", it crosses my mind that this cultivation of style or "reinvention" might muddle authenticity. Maybe these are two different topics and I'm confusing them - one being authentic style and the other being the usual growing/changing of ideas and lifestyles. But with so many people seeking attention, whether that's blog-based or through Facebook or Twitter, it seems more and more people are going out of our way to be noticed.

    I agree with you that it's not really about the clothes but the person wearing the clothes that we're interested in. An example of this coupled with my suggestion of asking your subject to say something about their outfit is the Look Book over on New York Magazine. I didn't see it listed on your blogroll. Have you checked it out yet? I don't check it as often as I used to but when I do, ninety-five percent of the time I wish the interview would continue to hear more of the person's stories. The clothes are just the prologue, right?

  4. Thanks for your thoughts, Kori. I like the idea of just asking people to tell me something about their clothes, rather than asking about the brands per se. I'll try that out and report how that goes. As for the larger issue of authenticity, that's a question I've been struggling with for a long time. In the "Authenticity in Punk" panel I was on this last week at the PCA/ACA conference, I questioned whether authenticity still has any real meaning or relevance in a subculture like punk. I really don't know. But I do think we are all already authentically who we are. After all, what choice do we have?

    I've seen the Look Book on New York Magazine before, but thanks for the reminder. I'll have to pay more attention to it.


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