Why Jane Birkin? Why Now?

By the time I get home from my shift as a Special Ed Instructional Assistant, for LAUSD, I feel like an over-heated pup. My hair’s usually a mess after the students I work with play in it, my makeup’s blurry and soft focus, and my clothes a little more wrinkled and uncomfortable.

To get around looking like a total disaster every work day I often study style icons who magically appear comfortable, chic and elegant and try to imitate their style. This past year, with my stressful work schedule and school demands, I’ve been drawn more and more to Jane Birkin.

Tall and thin, like me, her uniform of jeans, tees, button-downs, sneakers and straw basket carry-alls looked very appealing and accessible. The last time I emulated her I wore a beige cotton Banana Republic jacket over a navy blue tee, from Forever 21, a pair of 1970’s style Levi’s I found at Ross Dress For Less for $2,99, a yellow cotton hat, aviator shades, and a yellow foulard print silk neckerchief.

Exhausted from another tiring week, I was surprised when the teacher I worked for insisted I have my picture taken with the class for Picture Day!

As I sat for my individual photo, I thought about my blog Every Day Fashion: Style for the Mainstream, and remembered I’d started it for moments like this and why I admired Jane Birkin. While there are spectacular moments that call for grandiose costumes there are also small ones that require attractive, well-made clothing that last for years.

Nothing Beats Experience in Fashion Journalism (Op-Ed)

Blog Notes

Two things are true about fashion journalism today, social media is an option and trends are displayed quickly. Yet for “old school” veterans that hasn’t improved the industry, instead it’s lowered its standards. Taking a swipe at bloggers like Susie Bubble Sally Singer, Creative Digital Director for Vogue.com wrote, “They’re heralding the death of style.”

They’re heralding the death of style.

Sally Singer, Creative Digital Director for Vogue.com

When I’m surrounded by woefully attired passengers, diddling on their cell phones on the bus, in transparent leggings, garish t-shirts and pre-fabricated holey jeans, I must agree. If they’re being exposed to the latest online why aren’t they dressed better? I guess the phenomenal editing eye of Diana Vreeland, in the 1960’s, is as foreign to them as a tasteful pantsuit?

Polyvore Collage

Today, as a professional fashion/feature writer with over 20 years experience, I feel I’ve benefited immensely from paying my dues in print first. The same techniques-concocting an idea, researching it, then fleshing out a story-still apply and make my blogs just as strong as my print pieces. If I just decided to embark on a fashion journalism career because I can type and wear a size 6 that wouldn’t be the case.

Career Checklist: Chriselle Lim’s Tips for a Stylish Workday (http://www.whowhatwhere.com/chriselle-lim-work-wardrobe-tips-slide17) is a perfect example of how a fashion blogger transferred her print skills to the internet. This practice is eliminated by some over eager “street style bloggers” who just want to be seen immediately online to promote their blogs.

Their clothes aren’t carefully curated, and chosen out of self-awareness, but to play “dress up” as the icon they’re trying to be. Once the internet viewer sees them they falsely believe they’re a genuine fashion expert reporting on the latest. Realistically their presence dilutes the value of a viable design photographed by David Sims or Mario Testino for Vogue.

Letter to Diane Von Furstenberg Written by Diana Vreeland

In 2019, despite those who’ve successfully written fashion blogs and posted selfies without prior training, a portfolio with strong clips is still a requirement. A blog can be part of that if it’s consistently well written. An excellent way to ensure that is to get a solid education, take additional journalism and fashion classes, and write for a publication occasionally.

When this is achieved it’s possible to re-educate consumers who see clothing as disposable, a problem exacerbated by the internet. Whether they’re coached in fashion coordination, or creating a signature style, it should be a priority for responsible fashion bloggers. While social media can benefit fashion journalism profoundly, experience shouldn’t be overlooked in the process.

Works Cited:

Azher (Ali), Fateh, “How Social Media Is Changing Fashion”, Huffington Post, January 19, 2017 (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-social-media-is-changing-fashion)

Sabahat, Raza, “Positives and Negatives of Social Media”,Voice of Journalists, May 18, 2015 (https://www.voj.news/positives-and-negatives-of-social-media)

Materise, Maria, “Is Social Media Changing the Role of Journalists?”, Cision, August 7, 2015 (https://www.cision.com/us/2015/08/is-social-media-changing-the-role-of-journalists)

Bruzdaam, “Social Media Makes An Impact on Fashion Journalism”, Beginning Journalism A University of Wisconsin Edu Claire course site about journalism,”October 23, 2013 (https://cj222wordpress.com/2013/3/10/23.social-media-makes-an-impact-on-fashion-journalism/)

Manlisa, Racco, “Vogue.com Slams Fashion Bloggers: ‘You are heralding the death of style'”, National Global News.ca, September 26, 2016 (https://globalnews.ca/news/2963638/vogue-com-slams-fashion-bloggers-you-are-heralding-the-death-of-style/}