by Beth Hammarlund
Imagination. Free will. Individuality. These are more than just the words in the opening credits of Fringe. These are words that define us. Our thoughts. Our feelings. And most important of all, our fashion and beauty choices.
Asserting one’s individuality through style is tricky business. As I’ve discussed before, every choice that you’ve made has probably been made by someone else before, maybe even someone you don’t like, so odds are, no matter how original your look, you’ve got a lame twin out there somewhere. Suck.
Perhaps the most successful way of sartorially pronouncing individuality is finding a specific look and then sticking with it…forever. One outfit just doesn’t make enough impact. But a lifetime dedicated to cultivating and promoting a specific look, people remember that shit.
My shining example of signature style is the honorable Miss Dita von Teese. This woman has been rocking the ‘40s pin-up look for two decades. That’s forty in fashion years! (You know, because fashion has biannual seasons.) And though she is a woman of many talents, I think it’s safe to assume that her personal style is a major part of why she’s achieved success. (Remember when Elizabeth Hurley wore that Versace safety pin dress to a movie premiere with Hugh Grant? Before she, or any of us, knew he was into hookers? Clothes can make a whole career happen.)
It’s true that she has her imitators. There was that uncomfortable Evan Rachel Wood pin-up phase that began as soon as she started dating Marilyn Manson, von Teese’s ex-husband. Really fucking awkward. And plenty of others emulate the pin-up girl style. But what makes von Teese such an individual is that she embraces it hardcore. You will never see her without pancake makeup, red lipstick, boudoir waves, and clothing that falls well within relatively limited wardrobe. She is the opposite of a style chameleon. She is nothing if not dependable and consistent. You can set your watch by this woman.
But would I can’t help but wonder (that’s a Sex and the City joke) is whether or not she ever regrets this commitment she’s made. She was in her 20s when she made this decision. Her relationship with fashion is a long-time marriage to someone she met when she was young, whom she got breast implants for. Doesn’t she ever wonder what else is out there? Or is she perfectly content with what she has? And if so, does Dita von Teese have the secret to happiness?
Because seriously, she’s got to wake up some days and be like, “Ugh, I have to go to the store to get butter if I’m going to make this macaroni and cheese. I just want to wear fucking jeans.” Or does she ever see some off-duty model who perfectly executes laid-back grunge and sigh to herself, thinking “That seems nice. I would’ve liked to try that.” Because on top of a signature style being an exhausting commitment to keep up, doesn’t it ever get boring?
I certainly have days that I think to myself, “I can’t wear another black rock and roll t-shirt. Not again. I just can’t do it.” And true, these days tend to occur when I’m all out of black rock and roll t-shirts because my laundry pile has grown into a towering closet monster, but I think that’s just a coincidence.
Although I will never ever ever ever ever ever ever commit to a signature style the way Miss von Teese has, I love that there are people out there who have made this lifetime arrangement. I just hope they’re happy.
Images via My Life Is Brilliant