1.02.2012

145 - Flowers in an Orchard

Shorts - vintage via Wasteland, Sweater - c/o Romwe Chicwish!, Shoes - Urban Outfitters, Jewelry - mostly Konstantino

These shorts are probably the coolest things ever. They were vintage pants that some smart person hemmed into little shorts, with floral pockets and tuxedo-esque floral stripes running down the side. I picked them up at the Wasteland on Melrose for $18. I had thought that I'd end up wearing them with a ripped-up black vintage tee, but it's been chilly lately as I traipsed up and down the west coast on holiday adventures, so this sweater did the trick. Come summertime, though, the tee shirt thing is happening.

Also, yes, my boyfriend forced me to lie down in the dirt to take pictures. Typically, I would have flat out refused, as I am the least "model-y" person on the planet, but on this particular day, I was feeling rather sick, so lying down really was an awesome request. Sure, I'll just fall asleep here in this random orchard, and you can do all the work taking blog photos for me. Perfect.

Lastly, I am totally rocking the ponytail. I'm really into it -- it's one part 1990s heroin chic and one part 1950s Americana. That's always a good combo, and I think it pretty much sums up this look.

****AND NOW WE TALK ABOUT ACTUAL THINGS****

One thing that has always irked me is aesthetic critique. I absolutely loathe it when people go out of their way to broadcast negative critiques of others' aesthetics. Celebrities often face this in those terrible "Worst Dressed" lists that you see in supermarket pseduo-tabloid smut magazines like People. Bloggers often see this in terms of online commentary. We all often see this in our peer groups. I find it tacky and just plain rude when people air their disapproval of anyone else's aesthetic in a public forum, especially when we have to deal with so much pressure from society at large anyway to look a certain way. Freedom of opinion is fine, but I do believe that it's nice to fall back on some basic manners.

What is the proper way to respond to a blog or a look or a red carpet outfit that you don't particularly like? In my opinion, it's to ignore it, and move along with your business. I'm not a perfect person -- I occasionally laugh with a friend a bit over someone's outfit, but I do this understanding that I'm just speaking from my oddball taste, and that a lot of people probably like that sort of thing, and that is really just fine with me. Furthermore, I would never speak about this in public, because it's not necessary, and more than that, it's just not very nice.

What has happened to adhering to some modicum of social consideration? 

Pre-blogging, celebrity fashion critique bore the brunt of my gross-out reaction to this sort of thing. Celebrities have a lot of excess in their lives, which is a great impetus for us to consider just how deserving any one person is of such wealth and lifestyle. However, being appalled or jealous of that wealth or beauty or attention does not make those people any less people. They are real, and they have doubts and insecurities, and happy days and sad ones, and perhaps even more than us, they feel the pressure to be beautiful and well-dressed. I rarely pay attention to red carpet events, but it's impossible to deny that at events like The Oscars, these are simply people who got dressed up in something fancy, who left the house feeling beautiful, and who later may have to see pictures of themselves on Worst Dressed lists in magazines with terribly rude headings, while people sit back and discuss just how horrible they looked, and all for what? So that we average people can feel better about ourselves? I have a lot of qualms with celebrity culture, but a large amount of my issue with it falls upon the public's reception of celebrity culture. We create a vicious love-hate relationship with these avatars (I say "avatars" because we don't even know the real people), and we thrust our money and adoration upon them, but so eagerly wait for them to fail in some way so that we might viciously tear them apart. It is a sad and unfortunate process.

We see the same process occur on a mini-level with influential bloggers. The public seems so eager to dismiss or critique fashion bloggers, failing to realize that most fashion bloggers are not speaking from a position of authority, but rather from a position of peer participation. As a fashion blogger, I recognize that not everyone is going to love what I do (I mean, I don't relate to 99.9% of the blogs that I see).  In fact, as a weird fashion blogger, I recognize that a good chunk of the population won't relate to what I do. Urban Outfitters may have popularized this aesthetic, but at the end of the day, the looks that I favor are still a bit kooky. It baffles me that anyone would feel the need to point out anything a fashion blogger does, specifically, and discuss why he or she does not like it. There are not enough hours in the day for me to do this, and I wonder why on earth anyone finds it so important to address something that is already taken for granted by a good number of people. To be clear: I have no problem critically discussing trends on the whole; it is the specificity of narrowing it down to one person that amazes me with its audacity, as though the recipient of such negativity weren't an actual person who might chance upon your critique.

Personally, I feel guilty even discussing trends that I dislike. In some online interviews, people have asked me what I would not wear or do not favor. I have begrudgingly admitted to not finding flared skirts or classic pumps or blazers (typically, not always) to my particular taste, but just saying that seems as though I am judging people who prefer to wear those types of things, and that weighs upon my conscious. Floral mini-dresses with blazers and knee-socks and pumps suit a lot of ladies just fine, and it's not my place to judge that. 

At the end of the day, I think judgement is the issue to which this all boils down. To judge something implies a position of superiority, and in a matter as subjective as aesthetics, there is no superiority, only our personal taste. I would hope that we can encourage one another to be critical of our own language when discussing aesthetics, and attempt to be a bit more polite than we have a tendency to be. There is so much in the world that validly deserves critique and analysis, and it is arbitrary to direct our negativity towards something so harmless and personal as the way someone chooses to dress.

Aesthetics should be fun and easy, and an interesting exploration of our identity (both global and personal), not a platform for Mean Girls-style bitchery and foulness.

Comments? Leave them below.

I'd love to know what you think about all of this, and I always love hearing viewpoints which I may have not considered. These are just my general ideas, and I am not so stupid as to think that I am so smart I cannot be wrong.

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UNRELATED: I want to draw more stupid little pencil portraits like the ones listed under my illustration section. If you want one done of you, email me your picture. You can find my email under "About Me" at the top.

48 comments:

  1. love your shorts and sweater!!
    happy 2012!!
    xx

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  2. I love this shorts and shoes!
    I love your style.
    Wish You Happy 2012

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  3. One of my favourite things about your blog is the way you engage with these issues that so many similar blogs might gloss over. One of the main reasons I have a rather ambivalent relationship with the internet (and especially social networking) is because of the unnecessary negativity which you mention above.

    It makes me sad that so many people feel obliged to throw unkind comments around online, as if it gives them a sense of authority - or as if it's the only way to asset their presence. While, as you say, I think it's important, interesting and inspiring to engage with trends and aesthetics, I also always try to adhere with the theory of "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

    Thank you for standing up for being supportive - especially when people are embarking on creative endeavors.

    (And as usual, sweet outfit).

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  4. Wow! Cool set and amazing photos! :D

    xoxo
    http://martiniss-fashion.blogspot.com/

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  5. I totally agree with everything you had to say! It is ridiculous how people go out of their ways to mock or degrade an aesthetic that is not to their own personal tastes. Meanwhile, they always fail to acknowledge that aesthetic is purely an opinion. Other people might not have the same fashion taste as yourself, and, you know what? That's perfectly all right! I personally choose to dwell on trends or styles that I like rather than ones I don't. There's no point in being overtly rude or mocking towards an opinion you don't agree with. No one is being helped in the situation, only hurt.

    I love your outfit, too! Those shorts are amazing. :)

    - Samantha
    http://www.nerdysam.com

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  6. gosh, i really enjoy the way you write. I know you are just simply writing about society's judgement and your opinion, but i couldn't agree more! i love reading/viewing your posts. you are an "inspiration" to many readers like me, but i kind of dislike that word.. so you are more of a influential figure. i love your style! keep on posting, i'll keep on reading :]

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  7. You have such wise words. Everyone has different perceptions, you can't just put something down and talk shit about it. The way I see it though, it's better to be the odd-ball out of the pack. You see all the red carpet go-ers wearing the same things. Maybe that's just because of insecurities of the worst-dressed list. But I think most people don't understand that maybe you're going to have a couple sappy outfits until' you get it right. Who knows though, a person might like sappy. What I think is terrible lately is that each decade has it's one 'own' look that appeals to most of the population. You could say now it's sort of like Megan Fox, or the Victoria's Secret Angels. It seems like if you don't have that look, you're not theorized as normal. Haha, sort of went off on a ramble here. Apologies!


    littleivory.blogspot.com

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  8. Woah. Mind blown over here. You've basically said everything that I think about negative critiques on blogs and for celebrities in the public eye. I often look at magazines and just think about how they could every say something so rude about someone's outfit? It's all about their own style, and it's so annoying to see people dismissing it as bad style because they don't quite like it themselves.
    You are most definitely one of my favourite bloggers; you have a real voice and you actually discuss important things that so many bloggers don't. I want to say you're my idol, but that sounds a little weird...but you're definitely an amazing blogger :)
    -Angelina
    www.angelinlace.blogspot.com

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  9. I love your writing style; you speak such words of wisdom! Love the outfit too, happy new year xxx

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  10. People critique everything, fashion isn't going to be exempt just because it's something we put on our bodies. Luckily in the fashion blogging community girls seems to be pretty supportive of each other. No matter how weird or creative someone thinks they are, there is still an entire subculture on the internet that likes the same things you do and dresses like you, and that's a form of belonging and a form of support. I think this promotes more creativity for a lot of girls that are trying to find their style.
    Sure its disgusting that people want to share all this negativity publicly, but the media tells everyone thats okay. People are told to respect nasty sarcastic negativity and take it as truth when someone is said to be "worst dressed" instead of being told to be kind. The world just needs more people like you to use their public voice and fills peoples heads with good ideas, rather than allowing ourselves to be conditioned by the bullshit that is fed to us on a daily basis.
    We absolutely cannot learn to be judgement free and bias free, but we can learn to be polite.

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  11. I agree, those shorts are the coolest thing ever! But i have to say I'm loving the jumper more! It looks so warm, i'm off snowbaording soon and could really do with a couple of knitwear, and now i know how to style them, great post! Happy New Year too!

    ccowland.blogspot.com/

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  12. i definitely agree... and i've been of this mindset for a long long time. sometimes i find it hard to understand how girls can stifle each other in this way. does everyone want to be the same? i love the differences in people and their style. it's most interesting and often very inspirational to me :)

    i love your shoes. i found their doc marten cousins on etsy, i don't know what i'm waiting for :-/

    hope you had a wonderful new years!

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  13. ok, i since i cannot comment on the post below i'll do it here :)

    i can't believe how many things i've been eyeing from those two polyvore sets. for one both pairs of shoes. i think if you look long and hard you can find their vintage cousins somewhere. but those are pretty perfect. and the chloe s platforms... yes! but the price, errrrrrrrrr...

    anyhow have a good one!

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  14. 1. Feel better!
    2. Score for indentured servitude of the other half
    3. Point taken people should just hush thier holes, if it doesn't concern you or isn't bein squeezed onto your person you should just take it and leave it. With 6.9 billion people on earth we're lucky there are 6.9 billion things we hate on the daily. Spread love and multiply the positivity I think
    4. All for leather shorts

    Sunnie
    (.=

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  15. I love that you open my open and make me think about something I've always thought to be pretty trivial. Great post, super inspiring as usual!

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  16. woof. that was so well said. thank you. "To judge something implies a position of superiority, and in a matter as subjective as aesthetics, there is no superiority, only our personal taste." What a good quote. Madeline, you are amazing. You have this amazing blog and you have an amazing mind (not to sound cheesy). You have good things to say, and great points are made by you often in your posts.. I just really wish you could now how much this affects me and makes me proud, and want to be a better person. I am so glad that you think critically and that you are so eloquent with these posts. thank you, thank you, thank you!

    outfit: woah. perfect. those shorts are killer. and I like that it is a bit different than your normal standing and stuff. <3

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  17. I love your shorts, so cool. And I agree with you, I believe that people are just looking to feel better about themselves, which in the long run really doesn't work -- so they continue their bashing of others. I'm so glad you posted this, because with the Internet, many can hide behind an "anonymous" preset, whether it be on blogger, or on tumblr, where I see A LOT of people going anonymous and bashing others for the smallest things, which I think is horrible because some people who I know that have gotten hate are the nicest people ever. But I digress.

    Fashion is subjective, I admit to not like the fringe trend but do I not like it on other people? No, because other people can work it and make it look good. It's just not something that I would look for when buying clothing.

    xx maggie
    saltandleather.blogspot.com

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  18. I often worry that being obsessed with aesthetics means slowly turning into a shallow, uninteresting person; then I come to your blog and you shut down my concerns. So many personal style blogs seem to be simple vanity (not that that's wrong, per say), but here I can count on finding not only photographs to inspire my own dressing, but also intelligent thoughts to pique my brain and ensure that I am not becoming a mush of external concerns. You are truly a woman to be admired, for being yourself regardless of mainstream opinions, and maintaining your intellect and depth in a culture that begs us to become the Kardashians. Yours is my favourite blog, hands down. Please continue giving us the privilege of glimpsing into your life & mind.

    http://courtneyhminer.com
    http://joiefeline.blogspot.com

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  19. Those shorts are beautiful.
    I bought a pair recently, but I found they were far too big for me!
    I'm gutted, and I cant return them, so Im not sure what to do with them now.

    www.atrickleofmeaning.blogspot.com

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  20. Reading this post of yours reminded me of when I stumbled across this blog post via Lookbook, of this blogger duo that takes five looks from Lookbook and rates them, and this one featured you. At the time, I wasn't really sure if you knew about it or not, but never brought it up because...I don't know, it seemed weird to try to bring up? That and you have such a following, why point out something like this? But reading this post of yours, I wondered if you maybe just found out about it, or would want to know. I don't know. I think the guy's opinions is completely insane, though; his verdict for the 5th outfit is ridiculous. It's so...plain.

    I was kind of seeing red when I originally read it, moreso because I completely agree with you: what's the point in ragging on people? What does it accomplish? I don't think people can't express their opinions, but if it's just to make a big spectacle, unpromptedly, then it's useless, and it only serves to hurt the people who are the subject at hand.

    But in the end, when I see people doing things like this, I just roll my eyes and carry on. It's not worth my time and attention, and figure if they're the kind of people who do this, they're doing it for some level of enjoyment, and therefore aren't the kind of people I would bother to invest my time in. Whatever. Haters gonna hate, et cetera.

    Kind of reminds me of a lyric from a song by AFI, back when they were cool: "I'm flattered by your hatred." (Malleus Maleficarum.)

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  21. I'm amazed by how frequently you put to words my feelings on things, far better than I could ever word them myself. Your writing inspires me to blog more substantial posts in the future, rather than just drone on about my outfit. Thank you, Madeline.

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  22. This is so well put, and I agree. I don't see the point, and I dislike it when someone comments on a person's clothes or their taste. It's rude and unnecessary, and all they really need to do is ignore it. I'm so glad that you, as a fashion blogger, write about things like this.

    People should be allowed to have fun with their style and clothes.

    Also, you look awesome.

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  23. I really enjoyed your "Talk about real things" bit. I think far too often people use the internet to talk negatively to or about people they don't even know. I believe blogging should be about sharing ideas and images that inspire us not about spreading negativity and hate.

    I have enjoyed the photos you post for a long time now and now am enjoying your written words. Thank you for saying what I think a lot of people are thinking.

    Xoxo ~Voss

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  24. I love these photos *-*/
    this place is amazing!

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  25. Your pony taill and those shortsss and that creepy orchard, ahh it's all so good.OH. and I just read through this whole post, and I could nottt agree more. It disgusts me how society trains us to begrudgingly look down on one and other rather than build eachother up, as we all should do! And you're so very right about how aesthetics should be easy and fun; noone should have to think twice about what another person might think or say regarding what they choose to wear. In my opinion, the weirder the better.

    x

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  26. Well said, sista. You won't find a single friend of mine that dresses like another and we all understand and appreciate our different tastes. A group of distinctive opposing styles and nothing is more dynamic, if you ask me.

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  27. I couldn't agree with you more Madeline. It was very insightful, something we're all secretly aware of and yet do not practice. The world needs more individuals to challenge its perception of things.
    I personally do not have the same taste or style as yourself BUT I have been silently following your blog for half a year from my google reader and have been admiring your attitude, enjoying your words and seeking courage to develop my own personal style. Thank you for the wonderful impact you have in the blogosphere.

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  28. lovely post! love the outfit xx

    http://shesingsndrinks.blogspot.com/

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  29. Love the shorts. Love vintage.

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  30. love this photoshoot. i find that the most natural looking pictures are always the most difficult to have to pose in. your photos turned out great :) i understand what you mean~ in today's society, we judge judge judge. it's nice to hear that you avoid judging as much as you can. shows you have good character :D keep in touch! very interesting blog~just stumbled upon your site.

    -Joyce
    carouselstreet.com

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  31. Whoever DIY'd those shorts made a good choice, I love em!

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  32. You couldn't have said it any better. This is why you have many loyal followers, you aren't only an inspiration in fashion but also through your words of wisdom :) I can't believe how critical and judgmental so many people can be. We, as fashion bloggers, are so brave to put ourselves out there, we are often so vulnerable to hurtful comments. It's really good to know that there are people to understand. Keep up the great work Madeline, and you were one of the bloggers that inspired me to make a blog of my own <3

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  33. I LOVE THIS OUTFIT SO MUCH ♥

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  34. love your sweater...cool, stylish, white, trendy, and with some vintage feeling...really perfect to wear for the winter


    =======
    From http://www.checkmyfashion.com/
    An Online Wardrobe for worldwide Fashion Lovers

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  35. i'm so glad that you took time to write about this issue. i couldn't agree more- people do take other people's style for granted sometimes and are plain rude. thanks so much for bringing this topic up when most of us just keep silent about it, madeline!

    on another note- THOSE SHORTS ARE AWESOME, I'M TOTALLY JEALOUS

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  36. Preach!!! I swear people go hard on print and on-line, etc. And have absolutely no class. It's disgusting. Even on the street where I live bitches run their mouths about how weird I look because of my personal style. Whenever that happens I just roll my eyes, take a drag on my ciggy and continue on my way to the thrift shop. Trust me NYC is not as liberal as people think it is. There are tons of people in the boroughs who will give you nasty looks and say rude shit just from what you wear. But, hey, people wanna go hard on people for no reason. Oh well.

    Anywho! I love your outfit boo! I cannot wait until the weather here gets tolerable so I can wear my leather shorts. Well, eff it, I'll throw on my faux leather pants with some insane shit on top and call it a day.

    xx Jacqueline

    fngm.blogspot.com

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  37. Of course you are right, and more people should realize this. To each his own -- it's as simple as that. If you don't like what you see then shut your trap and just move on.

    Anyway you look AMAZING as usual. I've always been curious about how your styling process goes because it's always just so...spot on. Oh and yay, you're wearing the shoes you scored from Black Friday! They're fantastic. <3

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  38. love the shorts and it is perfect the sweater! :)
    stunning!

    sweetdifferences.com

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  39. You look amazing! I love the pictures and your sweater,well done! :)

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  40. great outfit! That knit sweater is to die for! Beautiful photos.

    -Jani
    www.funfashionfit.com
    www.foottraffic.com

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  41. I have stumbled upon your blog, and was so moved by this blog post that I felt compelled to respond. I cannot agree more with everything you say here about public personal style. To me, what I find so beautiful about blogs is the fact that I am presented with so many different styles that are so distant from my own. This diversity can only enrich, challenge my ideas and assumptions about what I think is "chic," and consequently evolving my own understanding of myself and the world around me. Many of the bloggers I religiously follow have a style that is so vastly different from mine, and I follow them for that very reason, to continually challenge myself.

    It is unfortunate that people use the internet and social networking in a voyeuristic way and feel the need to judge others based on a simple outfit. The purpose of the internet is for a larger forum of *information*, and it is sad to see how this has been warped over the years - namely, with cyber bullying, whichever form it is in. Anonymity can be too tempting sometimes, because it takes away from the accountability of our actions.

    I think the larger issue has to do with this "in" and "out" culture that the fashion industry/fashion publications have taken over the years. Personal style can never be "in" or "out" because it is an exploration of identity - NOT of approval from some authority. The idea of stylists bother me too, as they act as an authority figure to their clients, telling them what is stylish or appropriate. I think maybe there is this idea that creating a personal style is intimidating, scary, or exhausting, because you're definitely not going to get it right the first time. But that's what makes the journey all that more exciting. I think if more people took the chance to explore this on their own terms, perhaps they would be more respectful of other viewpoints and aesthetics.

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  42. I love Wasteland on Melrose! I try to get there as often as I can when I am in LA!

    xo Jennifer

    http://seekingstyleblog.wordpress.com

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  43. i am in love with your brain as much as your style. thank you.

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  44. I always cringe whenever I come across a "WORST-DRESSED" list. I never understood its appeal an an editorial. I even once stumbled upon a slideshow titled something like "pregnant and fat!" focusing on celebrity women during their pregnancy. I was just abhorred- instead of congratulating these courageous women for taking on the duty of pregnancy, they were being ostracized for the baby weight? Where has this world gone to?

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