If a dream is not considered as valid as "real," conscious memory, then I'll still regard it in some corner of the mind as a tiny piece of my history and identity. In Chris Ware's Building Stories, one character is able to partially reconcile her life's regret of neglecting to pursue a creative career because she dreams she had written the book she'd always hoped to. The fact that this book could exist even in her subconscious fantasy was enough for her. Just the notion of her own potential had her wake up in tears.
Based in Charleston, Julia Engel also started her blog, Gal Meets Glam, when she was a college student. At first, her style landed her partnerships with brands such as Coach, Gap, and Tory Burch. Lately, she’s become one of the top fashion Instagram influencers with a following of 1.1 million. And, she is going to be launching her own line of clothing soon.
"Well, really, our memories are all we have, and even those we think of as "real" are made up. Art can condense experience into something greater than reality, and it can also give us permission to do or think certain things that otherwise we’ve avoided or felt ashamed of. The imagination is where reality lives; it’s the instant lie of backwash from the prow of that boat that we think of as cutting the present moment, everything following it becoming less and less "factual" but no less real than what we think of as having actually occurred."
When I remember eighth grade, I recall scenes my mind illustrated while reading Norwegian Wood, just as well as, and in some cases more vividly than, classmate interactions and walks to school. I spent a lot of freshman year analyzing my close, personal relationships with Rayanne Graff and Laura Palmer. I cried when I had watched The Virgin Suicides so many times that I could no longer remember how I'd first visualized the book. I still miss the characters I'd pictured before, and the school, too. Strangely enough, my first mental images of the Lisbons' house came flooding back to me when I set foot inside a neighbor's for a wake a couple years ago. When I walked outside, I saw that across the street was an old brown Cadillac surrounded by bushes and a sunset, mimicking two Corinne Day photos from the set of The Virgin Suicides almost exactly.
If you’re anything like me, one of your favorite pasttimes, amongst Netflix bingeing and cake baking, is looking at fashion blogs and borderline-stalking bloggers on their websites and social media accounts for outfit inspo. This is a great and enjoyable hobby to have, but can be disheartening if you’re a college student and can barely afford a Venti Starbucks, much less a Valentino purse. Most fashion blogs seem to be full of designer accessories and expensive jeans. But style is style, regardless of the price tag or brand, and whether you spend $5 or $500 on sunglasses, fashion is for all of us.
Stock Up On Basics: Known your essentials and stock up. These include white and black blouses, a little black dress, high heels, red lipstick, diamond studs, blue jeans and anything else that has a central role in your style. Remember, these looks are timeless so investing in certain items that are more expensive but higher in quality may be wiser because they will last longer.
Think quality over quantity. When shopping, pay attention to the materials and craftsmanship of the garments you purchase. Then once you buy quality items, take proper care of them. Have them tailored, have them professionally cleaned regularly as needed, hang them on velvet hangers (just say no to wire hangers!), take your shoes to a cobbler when they need to be polished or resoled. Basic care will go a long way in extending the life of your clothes and shoes!
How to actually do it: "Figure out your go-to, foolproof looks," says designer Nanette Lepore, then seek out variations on that theme. Stumped? Picture the outfits that you feel most comfortable in. Or ask people close to you what you look best in. Once you've zeroed in on what works, find different takes. "I gravitate toward jackets, so I'll do a bomber style, then a silk version, or a denim jacket with leather sleeves," says Minkoff. "Whenever you feel the need to talk yourself into things, that's a red flag that you shouldn't buy them," says Minkoff. If you have doubts in the dressing room, it may help to take a photo of yourself in the item, suggests Aerin Lauder, the founder and creative director of the lifestyle brand Aerin. "It's much more accurate than looking in the mirror."
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