Old Friends // Summer ’15/16 Lookbook

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It’s 2016, it’s Summer in the Southern Hemisphere – and this is what I’ve been wearing.

Beginning with the good ol’ palazzo pant. If ever there were a trend to represent the cultural transformation of the 70s’ – well, these are the pants. The ones which first became acquainted with the dance floor, and secondly, the feminists – both of which I associate myself. The palazzo reappeared circa 2011 much like the new wave of feminism: back on the scene to taunt the more conservative, equally to comfort the more liberal.

It is of little concern to me that they infiltrate the pages of top fashion blogs, the legs of top models and the vision of paparazzi on celebrity hunts. These are a pant worth investment for the sake of more than a trend or a fad. Light and freeing, the palazzo can be defined by its Italian heritage (palazzo meaning “palace”) as much as by versatility: for hot days and cold days, for those days and all days.

They’re the pant adept for dressing up and down. For honesty’s sake, I’ll let you know I haven’t yet worn them accompanying only a bralette (out-with a certain galloping escapade on a certain sheltered mountain). However, it’s not my lack of confidence that’s refused the idea; it’s other people. You see, those of us with tired eyes still perceive nipples to be an offensive view. As much of the artistic world will argue, they’re natural, they’re beautiful and they’re worthy of celebration. Unfortunately it doesn’t matter that I, the wearer of the nipples in conversation, am not particularly phased if you see them. Why, if you asked I’d label their appearance fashion-y: Madonna 2012 nip slip – a commemoration, even. The fact is, not all people see it – or them – this way. So for the sake of society, and the certainty with which they argue all is a cry for attention, I have not yet hinted the vision of my breasts in the neighbourhood. Rather, if you want to see my nipple, I have offered that you frequent my blog. Ha, breathe, Mum – I chose the photos you couldn’t see them.

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Anyway, my point – not that my nipples weren’t an interesting segue – is that showing or not, these pants are what hold pockets of confidence. I wore them with a top of the same print, a set, to my school Leavers Dinner. I felt, if I may, fucking awesome. Yes, I looked slightly geisha, slightly like a 60s’ kitchen floor. But more importantly I felt like Rihanna – which is always, and I mean it when I say it, always a good thing.

I wore them when I interned earlier this Summer; this time with a flowing sheer white shirt. I came to the conclusion if you have to ask whether it’s fashion, pyjamas or just plain man-repelling, that it’s probably a goodie and one should wear said outfit. This is not to say I hate men (as is constantly misunderstood re feminism). I love men as much as I love women. It is to admit, however, that as much we are beings oriented by sexual drive, this is not all we are to each other. Nor is it all that we are to this world. Dressing for ourselves, whether we appear sexually attractive or not, is simply a reminder of this fact.

The best part? To make such a point only cost me $90 at a Onceit pop-up sale. It was just my luck being that there was one set left. I tried it on aware it might look crazy good or just well, crazy. The lights flashed green to close an inconclusive decision re attending Leavers’ Dinner. I often say, “there is only one way to be, and that’s on fire,” when I endeavour to motivate myself. Well, similarly in this situation, I said to myself I’d only go, if I went out with a bang. With this set, I felt I did – and too, that it was meant to be. I was ecstatic to look like a kitchenette; I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t ideal in light of the dress code, too. This outlined an expectation of formal dresses. And well, in one swish I could say fuck that, it’s the 21st century. I’m advocating a new dress code: “to sport only confidence and individuality; everything else is up to the choice of the individual themselves.” I could even enact a little Geishan prayer to say “thanks anyway”. The set was perfect. The fact that I could wear the pants on their own made the investment even more worthwhile.

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Funnily enough, the next piece in which I have spent Summer is also perceivably man-repelling. Fortunately, this has required no need to get out of work on Valentine’s (sobs, “It’s great really.”). No, but dateless or not, I’ll be saying yes to one thing: a midi. Perhaps I appeal to them simply because they appear as if intended to be longer or shorter. Like culottes and people, I appreciate items of an awkward “I don’t know what I’m doing” essence. They make me feel clownish – that or like a French mime – and it reminds me to laugh at myself. Perhaps I do it for the irony; I am notorious for taking a joke too far.

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The thing is you just don’t wear a midi for anyone but yourself. It isn’t traditionally ‘sexy’ like a mini or a maxi. It takes courage to wear a midi. In fact, I’ve tried on several before, wondered how I’ll ever play them off as casual, and decided against their purchase. It wasn’t until I found this Audrey Hepburn-esque one in an op-shop (you’ll find this is where I do most of my shopping; there’s a lot of thrill, a dash of destiny, both designer labels and lack of involved in conjoint with eye-popping affordability). From this moment onwards, my online shopping tabs were filtered by a specification for midi. When it came to memorable events, to the moments I wanted to stand out, to feel pretty and youthful – I’d choose a midi. In fact, I still do. If you need inspiration, see Allie in The Notebook. A source, see HelloMolly; their clothing is impressive quality for such a decent price (i.e. the floral number above).

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Finally, this gem of a playsuit I found in Recycle Boutique. It was sourced by it’s first owner from one of my newly favourited NZ boutiques, Ava. Ironic, again, because I was shopping with my sister (also Ava) when we spotted this. I was introducing her – after she began to borrow all my worthy finds – to the world of op-shopping. I wanted her to experience the authenticity of this way of shopping as much as I was selfishly intentioned: this way she’d make her wardrobe equally as appealing. Needless to say, on discovering this beauty, she was convinced. She’s a little sucker for playsuits – they absolutely represent her age group: fun, and unknowingly flirty. It was $40, so we went halves and considered it a win for us both. She hasn’t yet worn it mostly because I’ve deemed it a bit old for her agreeing 13 year old self. Thinking ahead, she was determined to have ownership over at least half the material anyway. I can understand why.

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It’s cut is intriguing, and it’s so comfortable. The back ties make for a striking, yet delicate outfit, particularly with a tan. There’s no need to wear a bra, which is an obvious plus during Summer (who has the time, the desire?). Otherwise, the perks of the playsuit lie on the surface. I’ve repeated it a dozen times – yet I shall say it again as the magazines refuse to listen: there is no new black. Black is black, and we shan’t find another colour that exudes the same. Being indescribable is exactly it’s most admirable quality. Black comes without a label, as does the person it covets. It’s daring, and it’s exciting. It is a friend to summer days as it is to the more darker nights.

So there it is, my ’15/16 summer essentials – the ones that will no doubt fill the pages of this year’s photo book (I’m making something nostalgic and memorable with Social Print Studio). Now and looking back later, I’ll be reminded of the laughter and the ease with which I’ve seen good people this Summer – better yet, of what’s important: surrounding myself with those and that which makes me feel good about the now, and the future. I’ll continue to dress with confidence and contentment in clothes priced to complement my morals, styled timelessly to suit my life – not to mention my student status. If you haven’t got a midi, a pair of palazzos or a playsuit yet this Summer, it’s not too late to join in on the conversation. This one is between old friends.

McKenzie xx

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