Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Black and White (and Read All Over?)

I avoid buying clothing in Prague since in general the quality is poor and the prices are high. (And where did the Nostalgie store move to? why didn't I write down the address before it departed? all its customers come to this blog in hopes of finding out...)
I will admit, though, that it is much easier to find skirts here than at home. Czech women wear more skirts than American women, and so the stores stock lots of them. Many of them are even in natural fibers.
Thus, when I ran across this little item, I was rather pleased with myself. It seemed most unusual and striking, and I already had shirts that could be worn with it.
Well, almost no sooner had I gotten it home than I started noticing a strange phenomenon, which was that all around me women were wearing clothing patterned in black and white. I swear that they weren't doing this in any numbers before I bought the skirt. But suddenly they were everywhere. Apparently black and white is the new spring look.
If there is one thing I detest (well, actually there are quite a few, but let's keep this simple), it is looking trendy. I do not wish to look like some sort of slave to fashion, it is a degrading thought. This does not mean I am uninterested in fashion; I merely prefer to wear what I like.
But, as I remarked to Nathan's wife Jamie the other day (Jamie admitted to a strong interest in fashion, as well as vintage Pyrex dishes), the unpredictable nature of the fashion industry dictates that if I'm going to wear what I like (without having to sew it), that means I have to buy it when it's in fashion so that I still have something to wear when nothing I like is in fashion.
Life is difficult, then, whether the most trendy item appeals to me or repels me. But I think I can live with black and white as a spring trend, because the results are varied but most of them look good on most of the wearers.
The other day I observed a young woman wearing a black and white print sundress with a black and white cotton head scarf, tall black boots, and black opaque tights. I was torn between thinking that this combination was either going to make her too hot or too cold, and admitting that while I could not see myself dressed up like that, it looked very handsome on her.
To be sure, as one can learn on Japonisme, wearing black and white is unlikely to be in style everywhere. In parts of Asia both colors are associated with death. I will not be wearing my new skirt around Japan unless invited to a funeral, and perhaps not even then as the style is more suited to dancing.


Blogger lotusgreen said...


i wonder if they teach this stuff in those classes for businesspeople moving to asia

and given what one sees on the streets of tokya, i wonder if this is really even done anymore....

May 22, 2007 10:03 PM  
Blogger Karla said...

You have a point. Young Japanese women seem to wear quite a variety of colors.

May 22, 2007 10:09 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Looks fun! You know I don't pay attention to fashion either. If I find something I like and it happens to be fashionable, oh well. Wear it with gusto!

May 22, 2007 10:21 PM  
Blogger P'tit-Loup said...

You can also rely on the fact that black and white is always "classic" fashion and never trendy. That is what most classic musicians wear and can be consider stylish at any time! ;o)

May 23, 2007 7:43 AM  
Blogger Karla said...

And indeed that classic sort of appeal was part of what prompted me to try the skirt on in the first place.

I can't, however, say that the average classical musician does a very good job of picking out black and white attire. A regrettable number of musicians have no visual sense whatsoever (maybe they are the ones who are good at math, versus those of us who are good at music and art but not math... I don't know). But as Jesse likes to point out, having them wear black and white limits the visual damage.

May 23, 2007 11:25 PM  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

you may have missed the point though--perhaps its that you are the trend setter!

May 25, 2007 7:42 AM  
Blogger Karla said...

I think you overestimate my influence!

May 25, 2007 7:56 PM  

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