Sunday, August 31, 2008

Don't Sit So Close

I watch a lot of television. Probably too much. But I also read and go to the movies and knit, so it's not like it consumes me completely. But when you have as much free time as I do and so much stuff making your life complicated, it helps to spend a few hours letting your brain shut down.

Over the past year, I've spent a lot of time obsessed with Mad Men and Gossip Girl. Two shows that are as far apart on the spectrum as one can imagine. The first a well-crafted story filled with subtlety. The second a delicious romp of soapy confection. But in both, I've found myself focusing on the clothing as much as the story lines.

Mad Men, if you haven't heard of it, is a show in its second season on AMC. It features the goings on of the employees of a mid-level advertising agency in early 1960s New York City. And the women wear fabulous, fabulous clothes that make me want to reach into the television screen and put them into my closet. Part of this has to do with the fact that everything back then was so tailored. Tailoring does my body good, and though the idea of wearing constrictive undergarments makes me want to poke something into my eye, I might do it in order to wear something like this:

So every week I watch, waiting to see what the folks of Sterling Cooper are up to. And to see what Joan and Betty are wearing.

Gossip Girl, set among the students of two Upper East Side private schools, hits a bit closer to home. Having attended girls' school in Boston from the ages of 10-18, it's fun to watch these overblown exploits on television every week. It's a form of mind candy. Sweet and probably not all that good for me. I relate more to their east coast aesthetic than I did to the California beach style of its predecessor The OC. For me, the two main female protagonists represent fantasy and reality. Serena, with her mix of uptown and downtown, her tall boots (mmm, boots) and leather jackets mixed with her plaid uniform skirt, has a certain effortlessness that I envy. She looks like one of those girls who opens her closet, throws something on and yet always looks wonderful.

Blair is, like I, a fan of the headband. Hers are far more ostentatious then anything I would dare place on my head. But her blazers and tights and more classic dressing would have an easier time blending in with the rest of my closet than most of Serena's ensembles.

Like with the magazines and the newspapers and the websites, I try to be inspired by but not a slave to these influences. I still won't be wearing tights as pants. But Alexander Wang sweater dresses and golden tights are another story.

Photos via, via

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