Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dress Like Her Issue 3: The Girl With The Black Tights

We all get a little lazy from time to time. Perhaps we stayed up a little too late last night, working on our Great American Novels or figuring out how to synthesize clean energy in our fancy basement laboratories..

... Or maybe we were just drinking champagne with our friends and trying to draw the weekend out as long as possible. But I'm sure you were up to a more scholarly pursuit than that. We know how smart our audience is.

We all have those days where we wake up later than we meant to...and there are decisions to be made: do I take a shower, or do I get to work on time? Do I chain myself into a precious frock even though I'm hungover and would much prefer to be comfortable (and have the time to make breakfast)?

There are several women in the history books that have completely perfected just out of bed chic. My personal favorite?

Yeah, she looks pretty done up right here but Edie Sedgwick was the princess of roll out of bed and throw it on. But first a little back story:

Oh Edie...

She was born into a long line of Important People. Her family were wealthy "High Society" types for several generations. So of course their kids ended up kinda messed up. Living in that world would be enough to drive anybody mad, but Edie had the benefit of a dad who openly banged women that weren't his wife and a brother who would commit suicide in a psych ward... and then ANOTHER brother who died in a motorcycle accident.

As a result, she did what I think many of us would do if we had total freedom, a huge trust fund and decided we were pretty over our entire family having breakdowns, throwing us in institutions and dying all the time: She moved to New York City, and shacked up in a fancy apartment her mom decked out (before moving into the Chelsea Hotel, a personal dream of mine...) and started hanging out with crazy, drugged up artists.

  "It's not that I'm rebelling. It's that I'm just trying to find another way."
Her personal style attracted attention when the uptown girl went downtown cool, well documented in the newspapers' social columns. LIFE magazine joked that she was "doing more for black tights than anybody since Hamlet". And indeed, tights were a huge part of her signature style, a look that seemed so easy but had a lot of intention behind it:

"Fashion as a whole is a farce, completely. The people behind it are perverted, the styles are created by freaked out people, just natural weirdos. I know this because I worked with all those people while I was modeling."
Which is why, on days when I have been rocking and rolling all night and need to be somewhere and presentable in a hurry, I often channel Miss Edie. Here is an easy, step by step guide!

Edie in an Instant: A Shop Girls in Scuzz Town Guide

1. Mood Music

Bob Dylan and I share a lot of muses. Just like good old Francoise Hardy, some of his work is rumored to be about Edie. Particularly the songs Just Like A Woman and the somewhat insulting but pretty great as a "getting dressed" jam, Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hat.

 2. Why Bother to Wash Your Face?


The story goes that Edie's friends would get pissed at her because she took three hours to do her incredibly elaborate eye make up before she went out. But that's a good time investment because when you shellac it all on and then pass out in a puddle of champagne you can reuse it the next day!

So next time you've slept a half hour past the alarm, just put more makeup over last night's! You don't have to be an expert to smudge on too much black eyeshadow and your eyeliner can be far from perfect. Edie favored giant fake lashes but when there were none to be had she just drew those on too. A little lip gloss, or nothing on the lips at all, completes the look. Simple and dramatic. Draw a fake beauty mark on your cheek if you're feeling extra daring.

3. The Hair Part


Edie was naturally a brunette but her hair was all kinds and combinations of bleached, partially bleached and streaked with silver (rumored to be an effort to channel the wigs that her frenemie Andy would wear). Her hair always looked good without ever having to be perfect. She wore it short and tousled, penciling her strong eyebrows to make them even bolder. A look that doesn't require even a hairbrush? Yes please.

4. The Jewels


Edie was rarely without GIANT chandelier earrings and usually let those do the talking. She didn't wear much other jewelry most of the time, but when she did she selected it with care.

Here she is, wearing what looks a whole lot like a rosary as jewelry. Girlfriend knew how to piss people off.

And here, she is wearing only moderately giant earrings with a ton of chains. Wrapped up in another chain.

4. The Clothes

  "When I was with Andy Warhol I was dancing jazz ballet twice a day so i just wore my leotards and I knew I wasn't going to turn anybody on so I just trotted around in my leotards. When I went out on the street I'd put on a coat. But Vogue photographed me in leotards and a t-shirt as a new costume."

Edie was often found pantsless, usually in a leotard or a sweater, with a fur coat thrown over it. She was rarely without her black tights. She was so infamous for them that she did a photo spread called The Girl With The Black Tights for LIFE magazine. 

So next time you're flying out the door, all you need to do is throw on some black tights, a striped shirt long enough to cover your butt and some black kitten heels. Throw your sweet fur (ideally fake or at least secondhand) coat over the top and run for the hills, looking fab with your chandelier earring jangling and reflecting sunlight all over downtown.

"You have to put up with the risk of being misunderstood if you are going to try to communicate. You have to put up with people projecting their own ideas, attitudes, misunderstanding you. But it's worth being a public fool if that's all you can be in order to communicate yourself."

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