Advice In Style: Bag Lady Chic

I find it fascinating that what once is considered “ugly”, can suddenly (or more like gradually over time, but it often feels sudden) be in style and, well, attractive.  Trends are so interesting to watch.  It would be so funny to hop in a time machine in a normal outfit from today and see how someone in the, say, 1930’s would respond.  I think it would be quite amusing to hear what people from other eras had to say about today’s sense of style!

Years ago I remember being in Starbucks with my dad, and in typical “dad” fashion, he felt the need to comment on the garb of the youth.  He said: “I can’t tell who’s homeless and who’s dressed like that on purpose!”  (does it get more DAD than that?)  And while that does sound like a super parent-y thing to say to your young daughter, I think he has a point!  There is most definitely a style happening that once belonged exclusively to what we would call a “bag lady”.  It can be sort of a derogatory term and is kind of reminiscent of “cat lady”.  Both have bad connotations, but at the same time, are kind of hip now.  I mean, when I was in high school, we would have cringed seeing someone with a cat on a knitted sweater or a girl wearing a thousand layers over baggy jeans.  It would have been a faux-pas-faux-sure.  (do you see what I did there?)  And yet now, this is not so.

Before we break down this style, we must give props to the originators of this style.  The girls who brought bag lady from the streets to the runways…Mary Kate and Ashley.

27086, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – Saturday 20th December 2008. A homeless looking Mary Kate Olsen awaits her driver after eating at Cafe Vida in the Pacific Palisades. Photograph: ©Gaz Shirley/PacificCoastNews.com

See what I’m talking about?  The caption even SAYS she looks homeless.  But how much you wanna bet that outfit cost, huh?  And there’s my point.  Bag lady is now chic.  I thought I’d give some tips on how to rock this style…some of them are more facetious than others, but you all know I kid because I love. :)

  1. Nothing should be your size.  If it is, you’re doing it wrong.  The key to this look is wearing EVERYTHING oversized.  That means you’re sizing up at least one to two sizes.  All kidding aside, the way to make this look GOOD and not like you just have no clue what size you are, is to pick things that are oversized but still flattering.  You’ll see Mary Kate and Ashley wearing a lot of thin drapey oversized dresses that hang on them large, but because they’re drapey, they don’t look like you’ve gained 10 pounds.  Thin fabrics are usually a good idea, or heavier knits that hang instead of stand up on their own, adding bulk.  Also, oversized structured jackets and sweaters can look chicer than baggy coats…however, the whole “giant puffy jacket” look is most definitely having a moment right now.
  2. Your jeans should be baggy enough to fit a diaper in the crotch.  Please don’t WEAR a diaper, but you catch my drift.  As in the previous point, if you get denim that’s soft enough, it will hang heavier on you and won’t look bulky.
  3. Structured shoes are a must.  If you wear this look with something casual like tennis shoes, it will be bag lady in the WRONG way.  So loafers, heels, booties, and scrappy sandals will be your friend with this look.  It’s all in the details.
  4. Don’t go too crazy on the jewelry.  This look is all about the mass amount of clothing you’re wearing and if you try to layer a ton of big jewelry, you WILL look like you’re just wearing everything in your closet.

Here’s my “bag lady chic” look.  I’ve got my favorite boyfriend Levi’s that sit lower on my waist because they’re a size too big, an oversized drapey vintage cami top, and my huge structured coat.  Structured shoes and simpl(er) jewelry make it not TOO crazy.

Some people really don’t like to wear this look.  I understand that.  It’s not the most flattering or slimming, but it sure does FEEL cool to rock!  If you’re feeling shy about it, you can always simplify it a little and wear skinny jeans instead of the boyfriend baggy fit…that might help you not feel SO oversized!  It’s all about finding the way that YOU like to wear a trend, not how other people wear it!
Happy bag lady-ing
Katy

Advice In Style: Costume Couture

Drop everything you are doing right now, stop reading this, and run, RUN to your local thrift store.  Okay, okay, maybe finish reading this so you know why you’re running.  I went to my local Goodwill the other day, and do you know what I saw?  THE COSTUMES ARE OUT!  (I know, I need to switch to decaf, I hear you loud and clear).  You guys, I cannot emphasize enough how much this is the BEST TIME OF THE YEAR TO THRIFT.  (*Pouring decaf now).  Now, you may be saying: “Katy, I don’t wear weird stuff like you, I don’t want to shop in the costume section!”  But that’s why you need to read this post.  From the weird to the conservative, there is something for you in that costume section.  Lemme break it down for you!

Sure.  This looks like madness.  All together, you’re thinking: “Well THIS sure doesn’t look like couture to me!”  That’s where you’re wrong.  I would bet money that a runway stylist could shop the costume section at the Goodwill, send a model down the runway in it, and you probably wouldn’t even know which model was wearing the “costume couture”.  Why?  Because styling is everything.  Sure, that jacket doesn’t look expensive siting on the rack next to the Spiderman costume!  Nothing would!  But here’s how you can shop top trends and regular style staples in the COSTUME SECTION!

Jackets

This jacket is a real vintage jacket.  It’s only in the costume section because someone deemed it “costume worthy”.  That’s something to remember if you are feeling insecure about this whole ordeal!

Check out this black beauty of a duster I found!  I just saw this style on the Today Show this morning you guys.  Top trends in the costume section.  Under $20.

Retro Denim
This is a GREAT time to find some classic 1970’s bell bottoms, some 80’s overalls, or pretty much any era of great denim.

How about this patchwork denim vest, totally on trend for Fall?

Metallics
Metallics are so hot right now.  Thanks to the costume section, you won’t have to pay much to give this look a shot!

GOLD BABY!

Skirts
There are skirts a-plenty during this time a year!  I’ve seen vintage petticoats (which make amazing prairie skirts, think Spell Style), square dancing skirts, and even just simple solid colored vintage midis…on trend for Fall.

This black skirt is full and perfectly flattering for the upcoming season!

Fringe
You know I love me some fringe.  I saw a fringe vest today and really, the crowning jewel of my costume couture hunting happened right here:

This is a vintage, handmade, leather fringe tunic.  I know.  I know.  I got no words you guys.

Pajama Couture
Pajamas are so hot right now…you can wear the top with jeans or the bottoms with a graphic tee…or just rock ’em together, devil may care!

Maxi Dresses
Sometimes vintage nightgowns make the best maxi dresses.  They often are what the new bohemian maxi styles are modeled after!

I fully plan on wearing this bohemian maxi with cowboy boots and lots of turquoise.

Kimonos
Yeah, I said it.  This is THE TIME to find traditional gorgeous asian couture!

Just look at those pretties…perfect with jeans!

Military Jackets
These are out in spades right now, and they are always so chic!

And So…
I decided to make my very own thrift store dressing room costume couture chic outfit (over my athletic leggings obviously)!

Sure, the dressing room isn’t quite couture, but hey, the prices and the finds make it worth it!

GO FORTH AND COSTUME SHOP!
Katy