It was on a visit to the UK four years ago that I first found the love. Topshop. Cool cut shapes, bold colors, wild prints, hanging, folded, and robed on gaunt, white mannequins as if straight from the catwalk. It was like a fashion runway exploded. With each piece I put my hands on I was tempted, every one stylish down to the seams. But with the unfortunately poor exchange rate of dollars to pounds and the logistical dilemma of transporting suitcases full of purchases back to US soil, my item total tallied only two. They would however remain beloved pieces of my wardrobe for years to come.
Cut to— New York City, Spring 2009. Topshop has arrived.
Being the disciplined lady of frugality that I am, I was able to steer clear of downtown’s Broadway-Grand Street intersection for months, knowing that a step inside the three-floor palace of fashion goodies would only lead to doom, as every step further would in turn bring me closer to dollars more debt that a jobless me simply cannot pay off. But, following a conversation with a fashionista friend last week, I decided things might need to change.
I’ll back up a little.
Ok first, I am not a fashionista. That however, is not to say I don’t love fashion. I do, very much so, and I admire the amazing minds and hands that create it for us, and likewise those [fashionistas/os] for whom celebrating it every minute of every day almost seems like life’s work. I watched Style with Elsa Klensch when I was a teenager and cared more about the collages of runway footage in Harper’s Bazaar than I ever did the dating tips in Cosmo. Although I didn’t choose fashion as my field of study, I do have a passion for it, though it might best be termed a closeted one. No pun intended. I go to sleep at night designing garments in my mind (that I often think I should put down on paper) and when I see a well-dressed lady or gent on the street, though I never actually drool, I will say aloud, ‘great outfit.’
Larger than the issue that I lack the riches to be a fashionista, I simply do not have the patience. For me it’s typically top, bottom, shoes, GO!, the layers and accessories fallen by the wayside. Anything in excess of the basic pieces required to cover what needs to be covered are more like collectibles to me, organized by cut, color and type but rarely making appearances beyond my humble abode.
So the other night, I was out with this fashionista friend and I mentioned wanting to give my wardrobe a make over…not so much to buy everything new, but to work with what I have and try to make it great…to really find a look for myself. “That’s a good idea,” she said. “You do tend to go more for comfort than style.” My face contorted into a puzzled grimace. Yeah ok, I like to be comfortable, but it’s not as if I have a closet full of elastic waste jeans and slide-on sneakers like someone out of a Land’s End catalog.
WTF? I thought laughing to myself, watching her wobbly steps as she tried to cross the cobblestone street in 5 ½-inch stilettos.
So, now on a mission to make-me-over, I’ve thought things through. I’m not going the route of hooker shoes (yes, even she called them that), but as it’s time for the annual summer clothes-winter clothes closet shuffle, I am allowing myself a trip or two Topshop. It is the answer to all my fashion woes. In between the racks of ruffles, glitter, zippers and a line by queen of the waifs, Kate Moss, there is no way to go wrong. Whatever you pick up is screaming style—they’ve done the work for you. Sure this might mean you’re leaving in a torn tee and a fluffy tutu but hey, this is New York.
So after all those months where downtown saw nothing but Topshop posters plastered on building walls, tragically hip models with sultry stares trying to lure us over for a visit, I get it. I knew it was great but I guess I’d forgotten. Yeah, it’s great. It’s fashion heaven, for all of us who can’t afford Chanel and Louis.
I need not only dream of being a fashionista…I can be one. Now…if I only had a job.