The Science of the Lookbook

In the midst of the elusive New York Fashion Week I have been trying to think of something to talk about fashion that I haven’t already read somewhere else. The thing about fashion is is that it is intentionally public and intentionally media-oriented. Fashion does not exist without photographs, magazines, runways, hell even Twitter relies on the industry in order to circulate and advertise these days. There is this neat phenomenon through Fashion Bloggers called the “Lookbook,” and I want to hammer out some things about them.

A fashionista creates a Lookbook to advertise their style for a specific reason like the upcoming season or a specific event. There are a few things that bother me about seasonal lookboks for simple reasons. Usually bloggers will create these lookbooks midway through or after the season has occurred, meaning that their advertising is ultimately useless. I was watching a Vlog this afternoon about the lovely Tanya Burr talking about choosing her picks for November early because she writes for a magazine and they do things in advance. Well, that’s sort of how fashion works, doesn’t it? The NYFW shows are for the next year’s fashion. When you hear about a new collection coming out it is never referring to the month that you are sitting in now, but always the spring of next year, etc. etc..

Event lookbooks are rare I admit but I consider them a lot more useful. Halloween is a big one, or the Oscars, Christmas, those kind of events are attractive to fashion bloggers because they depend on the fashion-based shopping hikes that attract a variety of people in waves. These lookbooks, however, are few, due to the lack of accessibility to such events. Sometimes there is a “Get Ready With Me”-type post, but most fashionistas feel guilty for posting pictures of themselves in couture and designer clothings because their readers (or the majority of them) can not afford them. But I say, why buy Vogue?

Many Beauty creators these days show the clothing and products that they love and then provide an affordable, High Street/Drugstore alternative that is similar, affordable, and just as cute. Fashion is so silly this way. It reminds me of Meryl Streep’s monologue in The Devil Wears Prada where Anne Hathaway thinks that her world isn’t affected by fashion but in reality “High Fashion” dictates colours, prints, styles, cuts, and a multitude of other things that drip into the “affordable” and “low” Fashion stream that you and I can buy ourselves.

So….why does it matter? Good question. Fashion seems to be useless ot a lot of people, but when I see a dress that I like on my favourite character on tv or while window shopping down Queen st. in Toronto I don’t think to myself “wow all of my personality traits lead me to love that dress,” neither do I think “I have been so heavily influenced by mainstream media advertising and the high fashion magazines I splurge on to make me love that dress,” but something in between the two: “That dress looks like it would be good to express myself.” The funny thing about expression is that it is so subjective that we can decide for ourselves what works for us.

I personally love lookbooks because I love to be inspired. I have a hard time sticking to the patterns, cuts, jewellry and colours of the seasons because I love classic prints, cuts, etc., and I also love the idea of having a totally unique style with the colour that fits for the season. Should we be so heavily influenced by anything? I personally don’t think we would make any decisions without even the tiniest bit of influences. I think that we depend on other people’s opinions to find out what we ultimately like, and what we can pass on to others.

It’s all about knowing ourselves and respecting that our influences are there to guide us to find ourselves further, or to find that perfect Gingham dress for fall.
Xx Jess


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