Fashion faux Pas

This August, Jo Burke, the NIU Art Museum Director (who is also an enviable owner of a pair of fantastic black knee-high boots with kitten heels), and I were discussing some of her ideas about Fashion and her desire to introduce an online forum for participants and viewers to share their Fashion Faux Pas. We wanted to focus on the incidences that brought about questions of "What is the right thing to wear?" and "When to wear it?" What happens when things go awry? How does one feel and react? What stories of fashion foibles are ingrained in our memories?
And perhaps the biggest question of all--are fashion foibles significant enough to take up the mental and emotional space for a community dialogue?
Please include your comments and photographs about your very own Fashion Faux Pas.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dressing Up: Right vs. Wrong

As an artist, more often than not I have experienced situations in which I was under-dressed or eclectically dressed. I could tell lots of stories of ripped out seams and holey jeans, or paint encrusted clothing.
But I think it is the stories about wearing the wrong things that I remember most. Like the first time I met my mother's  beau's family. It was his youngest son's graduation party full of wholesome hard-working Americans in their nice, conservative summer dress. I was sporting a brightly colored African-textile print patchwork skirt that was ankle-length, a brown blouse with flowing sleeves, and my hair twisted and wrapped into a cute, but messy, brown and white head wrap. I had felt pretty proud of my outfit (my skirt had been tailored by a local female tailor in the town I lived in during a 3-month study abroad in Mali) until I realized that sadly, my outfit appeared comical and outlandish in that sunny suburban backyard.

Luckily for me this situation was like a train wreck where the things that horrify people in turn attract them. In the end I was, if not pardoned for my eclectic dress, at least accepted as a unique and creative individual. So perhaps the "wrong" way to dress wasn't so bad after all, however I suspect many stories could be told to the contrary!


  1. Indeed. I didn't think it odd to come home from college for Thanksgiving in my purple and black striped knit dress cinched at the waste with a black patent leather belt adorned with Super Women puffy stickers, black opaque stockings and red high top sneakers BUT apparently my nephews later driving down Clark Street in Chicago said "Oh wow, these people are weirder than Aunt Jo". It has been suggested that I could operate a boutique Wierder than Aunt Jo.

  2. Similarly, one of my teenaged nieces gave me a perplexed look and said, "Aunt Erin, you dress so..." (she never did come up with a real description).
    My strange and artistic dress has even provoked my soft-spoken mother to blurt out in public at random people, "My daughter is an artist. She's creative."

  3. You tell about the stories of ripped out seams and holey jeans,are just amazing and absolutely brilliant to see,good to tell these amazing and beautiful stories.

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  4. It is one of the good peace of work about fashion and the story about wearing wrong things is also very informative.

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