I’m going to be honest. I didn’t exactly know what my “real style, street style” project was going to look like on the blog, or how it would roll out. I just kind-of just made a start, and it took on a life of it’s own.
Inspiration though, in it’s orginal form, came from the street style fashion movement, a movement pioneered by the likes of Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist and blogs like Facehunter and Man Repeller. The concept is simple. Take photos of well dressed people on the street, and share them.
I love this. To me, street style is everything. While glossy fashion editorial, run-way shows and slick advertising campaigns always inspire new ideas and make me want stuff I don’t have, it’s not exactly… reality.
Reality is what women actually wear, day in, day out. And that is what style is. It’s well-dressed reality.
And so, street style is where I get my real-style inspiration from.
Now at this point, I need to do the honesty thing again. Strictly speaking, the Silk Purse, Oily Rag street style project isn’t totally spontaneous. Yes, they are real women, wearing real clothes from their real wardrobes, having nipped out from their real jobs for a quick photo session. But they have been forewarned. I’ve shoulder tapped them because I think they’ve got something going on. And they’ve said yes.
I message them. We set up a time. I take photos. We chat (often to the detriment of the photos, as a talking woman is not a photogenic one). We laugh a lot. And I feel privileged to be the one capturing their stylish wisdom.
How do I choose them? Well, it’s not exactly a science. No, they are not part of mine or anyone else’s Best Dressed List (although they are all worthy thereof). But they are representative of the diversity of what different people might regard as “stylish”. I admire them in some way. They are women who are interesting, who have a unique point of view, and have personality and character that goes beyond their outfits.
The women of Silk Purse, Oily Rag are much much more than their clothes.
That’s why their style stories are so interesting. By finding out about the clothes, where they come from, their history, and things like the reason they are loved clothes/accessories, we learn about each woman’s style in a way that photographs alone cannot. We go deeper into the psychology of style, the feelings and attachments we have to things. We gain a better understanding of the choices each woman makes.
Why follow some women, regularly? Quite a apart from the wonderful record of each woman’s style, we are generating a deeper understanding of style. I suppose you could say that it is a kind-of lightweight social-science research project into why we dress the way we do. What are our values? How do clothes relate to what we do? How do clothes make us feel? What can we learn from each woman’s style? What can we learn from one another?
This last question is important. And let’s get clear on this next bit…
Silk Purse, Oily Rag street style, real style is not some sort of competition. If you have fabulous style but haven’t been approached, I probably just don’t know you well enough (or you’re a fashion retailer and I’m not playing favourites). Or, if you find yourself looking at these women and feeling less worthy or anxious, please don’t! We are all here to learn from one another.
Silk Purse Oily Rag street style is simply a celebration of the diversity of style, and a way to encourage women to dress in a way that makes them feel good. No less, no more.
And I do hope you’ll stay on for the ride – it’s early days, but I have a feeling…