Friday, October 19, 2012

Dress Like Her! Issue 4: Much More Than The Little Sister

Raise your hand if you love Beyonce! Let's count. One, two, three...Oh yep, everybody. Me too.

Seriously. If sitting wrapped up in your blankets snuggling your cat and watching Beyonce videos paid, I would be a millionaire go getter. It's just not a real breakup until you've watched "Best Thing I Never Had" over and over for a few hours. But there are even better ones! I've never seen a video I've loved more than "Why Don't You Love Me?"

In fact, this is not about Beyonce. All of the words that can be written about that delicate swan have been written for now. This is about someone else. This is about the woman who wrote the lyrics to "Why Don't You Love Me?". Someone who is finally getting the attention she deserves. Beyonce's younger sister, Solange.

Solange has been around for awhile and while everyone was busy freaking out about B. for the last couple years she quietly rose to the top doing her own musical thing. Though she put out an album that hit #1 on Billboard in 2008 she was mostly known in the tabloids for being a celebrity DJ and wasn't exactly a household name. Until now. Have you seen this video yet?

Songwriter, singer, actress, painter and a killer dresser. Can you say Dream Girl? So how can we channel this goddess in our everyday lives? 

We love her style because it encompasses all of the Shop Girl Tenants of Fashion. The perfect mix of vintage and modern. Feminine but wild. Super put together with a touch of irreverence. It's true that her look is not for the faint of heart, but you can fly your funk flag with pride in head to toe patterns or just allude to her influence by glamming up a simple outfit with one or two wild pieces.

The Elements of Solange Style
A Shop Girl's guide to attempting to dress half as well as Solange Knowles

Blinded By The Bright

As the weather gets colder, most of us are trading our fun in the sun brights for subtle, neutral colors. BORING. Everyone's wandering around in their black and blue and brown coats and the trees just keep dying. It can be so good to see a girl in bright colors swimming through the sea of uninspired anoraks when everyone else is dragged down by the winter blahs.

True, some of us are not electric or neon people. If you are a pale Washingtonian like me, sunny yellow right next to your sallow face looks about as chic as showing up to work in last night's vomit encrusted karaoke dress wearing your mascara under your eyes. But there's a bright for everyone. When yellows and oranges are called for, I reach for the bright blue. 

 If you don't your outfit to flash like a neon sign, or your boss doesn't want you to show up to work attracting the eye like a traffic cone, bright lipstick is a great compromise. There's a highlighter shade for every skin tone and those scary ladies that follow you around the makeup store when you're "just looking" would probably love to help you find the right one.

I got tricked/hypnotized into buying this once, but gawd do I love it. It is bright, bright BRIGHT and tastes amazing. It's called Force of Love and really pops no matter what you wear it with. Great for pale people!

Did You Get Dressed in the Dark?

Combining patterns is a complex science. Like messing around with the Hadron Collider or experimenting with your home chemistry set (or meth lab), you gotta use a gentle hand. One wrong move and it blows up in your face. Luckily, our girl Solange has a PhD in pattern wearing and we can look to her as a guide. 

In theory, this should not look good. If you pulled your Waldo sweater and your bird skirt out of the closet, would you wear them together? I hope so! As the classic rule goes, one must choose a dominant pattern and a contrasting pattern (that hopefully share at least one color) when mixing prints. Solange takes this rule and pumps it up until it's almost exploded, but stops right before the balloon pops. That skirt is WILD and most of us would select it to take the dominant role. But hey, there's bright blue on the parrots, so let's throw the intense blue and red sweater on and make that the dominant pattern. Somehow it works, making her youthful and whimsical without sacrificing any image of power. Wouldn't you want to be friends with the girl confident enough to wear this outfit? Yeah, me too.

But wait! There are three patterns in this outfit! Which one is dominant? ALL OF THEM. How does that work? For one, both of the patterns are organic, flowing and aesthetic. They are not uniform polka dots or mathematic plaid or a conservative floral that is the same across the garment. The print on the jacket seems to be oozing into itself and the dress looks like running water, or like a hot tub with colored lights in it and the jets on. They both flow.

The other reason it works is because the outfit is self contained. Her dress is just barely longer than her jacket. We mostly see the coat and only get a little hint of the fun underneath. If the skirt was any longer it wouldn't work. We don't want the crazy awesome dress to jump from under the coat and devour us, but we love the hint light, colorful feminine fun beneath the dark and commanding jacket.

Again! The squares on her jacket go with the straight lines on the scarf. The linear-ness is what these patterns share and the jacket is (just slightly) louder than the scarf. But they compliment each other in an unexpected way.

Oh look! A little more subtlety, yet a Noah's Ark kind of outfit. Two of every animal! She rocks our favorite neutral, leopard print, over a slightly quieter snake print shirt. Grace and glamour with old school charm. Oh yes please!

Power Dressing

Need to look professional but don't  feel like channeling Nancy Reagan? How about a power suit in an unexpected color? Or shorts instead of pants or a pencil skirt?  Solange pulls off the Lady Boss look so well. I dare you to wear something like this to your next job interview. You would not be forgotten.

 Maybe you're not the CEO of the magical ice cream factory or a real estate agent in 1980s Los Angeles, but that doesn't mean you can't look like one. The rule is "dress for the job you want", right?

The Most Important Accessory

Whether you are doing head to toe crazy prints and bright lipstick or just toting a wild bag to jazz up your everyday outfit, the key is confidence. Shit, you could wear a spray painted cardboard box and still look like a rock star as long as you strut down the street with your head held high. Solange owns her style and wears it with a look on her face that says "Challenge me on this sartorial choice. I dare you" and that's what makes her so hot.

And, as that ginger girl with no parents screeched so many years ago, remember one simple rule: You're never fully dressed without a smile!

We love you!

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