dress code.

Posted in Fashion, Shiz I Love by Virgil Sparks on November 18, 2009

during those last few weeks and days before my arrival to nyc, i must admit to the one thing that excited me most about living in the city that is the western hemispheres fashion capital.

complete and utter freedom.

at first i relished in the excitement of being unknown. a foreign creature come to paradise. a place where i could (and have) walk around the lower west side in a pair of 4.5 inch, faux, balenciaga lego heels, jeans, a tee, and a blazer and not have people so much as bat an eye.

the exhilaration was palpable.

it was the time to get in shape, keep up on proper grooming, fall into the fashion set, and steam roll along my new path of style empowerment.

but, as the weeks lulled by, and my half full closet of some of my fave pieces from the college days settled together, and i started to join a few circles… old fears started to creep up… along with new uneasiness.

for many years i have been envious of many of my close friends for having what i like to call, their own “uniform.” a complete sureness and sense of self that meant every piece they purchased and put onto a hanger fit into a look that they had created for themselves. making endless possibilities for  mixing and matching. never having to wear the same outfit more than once in a month, and always looking confident, fresh, and pulled together.

now though, i find myself second guessing what i’ve put on my back as i walk out the door of my fabulous new brooklyn apartment. i know the things i love, and do have a specific look i strive for, but i feel as though the things i own have become a sort of potpourri of pieces that aren’t necessarily universal to my wardrobe as a whole.

furthermore. the fear of judgement from friends and well, prospective men make me second guess some of the things i have always loved and wanted to wear… though i had promised no such thing would happen, it, not surprisingly, has.

i have always toyed and played with the idea of a feminine androgyny for myself, similarly to how many women play with a masculine one. and it is here where i need to embrace my desires, let go of fears, and be bold.*

so now i believe it is time to clarify my next moves forward into my new ‘uniform’. as you will see below, i often look to female role models in style that play with slightly masculine ideas. i find it can often translate quite nicely into the soft, boyish, coquette like dressing that i hope to achieve. so let’s review the bare essential looks i love. sometimes it just helps to talk it out. ya know?

the shirt dress/oversized oxford

oversized shirts have always been a staple of mine, especially the oxford. there’s something about the way i feel in them. poplin, twill, denim, neutral, colored, striped, plaid, flannel, polo… they make me feel casual yet dressy in a nostalgic sort of way. as if they used to be my older brothers, fathers, old lovers or current boyfriends. generally paired with the skinniest pants possible ( i need more black/grey) or shorts that barely peek from under the hem; with or without leggings to give a dress like look… confusion, after all, plays into androgyny.

Shopping Rule #1: bigger is better.

destroyed denim

i’m not quite sure where the fascination came from. all those years of highschool never being able to afford abercrombie & fitch, who cornered the destroyed market coining the term, “casual luxury.” or the fact that at any point in my life (high school or otherwise) my family members (love you mom) have often protested to the purchase of jeans that already had holes in them.

the more that people tell me i can’t do something, the more, of course, i want to do it.

or once again, it could play into my love of nostalgia. the idea of something being worn so much that it starts to fall apart. like my favorite heather grey sweatshirt that my father used to weld in. with tons of tiny (and not so tiny) holes from the sparks and flames. or the idea that someone took the time to think and craft each knick, rip, tear, bleach spot, and whiskered stain on every pair. whatever the reason, i will always love them, and never give them up.

i love the first look above, the casualness of the plain white tee, and the jeans perfectly off set the interest and girlishness of the bag and shoes. and the second look shows how it can be taken to the next level in dressiness. the blazer (double breasted of course) and velvet slippers give a luxe feel but never overpower the denim. or make it feel out of place. these are both variations of a look that i believe should definitely be further explored in my personal ‘collegiate glamour’.

Shopping Rule #2: loosen up. find tees and denim that have a more casual fit, in addition to the skinnier varieties of pants.

sweatshirt dressing/grey/pops of color

as i continue with the ‘casual’ portion of my closet, i can’t overlook my all time favorite color. grey. i love using it as a neutral, since i’m not a person than necessarily gravitates towards brown (it can wash me out i think with my coloring) and often times feel black is too formal (although now i realize i need MUCH more of it in my life). i love greys in my casual clothing items, sweatshirts, hoodies, a variety of tees and jackets. though i feel it can be something that should be pushed into more chic dressing as far as skinny pants, well cut blazers and various accessories.

and as far as my jersey pieces go, i think it’s high time i start finding more things that are oversized, as in the first photo above, as well as interesting, as in the one below. the interest in detail also brings me to the other reason of my lack of black.

my love of color.

but instead of looking for full on pieces that are completely saturated, i should start focusing on accessories or pieces with details of color that pop. making it easier to pull different items together to create an over all look with one bold statement piece.

Shopping Rule #3: make sure all “casual” pieces have a detail of interest. making them more appropriate in a more sophisticated wardrobe.

Shopping Rule #4: bold, versatile accessories.


now i know i said i should try to focus more on touches of color, but i’m sorry (not really); but i’ll never give it up completely. though i do feel i should tackle it in a newer way. i love her approach to color. using blue in both of the main pieces of her outfit, but in different shades. the monochromatic nature automatically gives her a head to toe look, in a very lanvin sort of way. and as you all know, being chic and pulled together is something alber and i both agree on.

Shopping Rule #5: when purchasing key pieces (tops and bottoms) in color, make sure they work with current pieces in the same hues to create monochromatic looks. since any thing can be worn individually with a black or grey counterpart.


as we end our section on color, i have to bring up black. i only own one pair of black skinny pants.

what. is. wrong. with. me.

in my defense though, i am new to black, and i’m sorry dee, i can’t do it head to toe. (i tried it once for her, and while it works, i just don’t feel myself.) but as i am emerging from my college ways i am realizing the benefits to it. it can quickly turn my favorite oversized items into an ensemble as in the first look above. it automatically can take any casual item i own and make it an outfit, only needing to add that one or two interesting pops of color or bejeweled flash to liven up any feelings of black being drab.

Shopping Rule #6: black is our friend.

feminine accessories/sparkle/edge

i love sparkly shit.

but it is something that raises the previously mentioned judgement fear, and often i hold back from wearing it in ways i would like. however, if i am to incorporate it into an overall wardrobe, that equals the sum of my ‘uniform’, i think it could be best approached in hints and touches, making it understated yet bold. similarly to how the first image has the feathered collar, it’s a bold statement, accenting boyish flare, but not too flashy.

also, recent trends have led me to a new outlet in this foray: studs. bringing some edge (along with the black) could be an interesting contrast to any oxford/blazer look. it may be time to add some rough edges to my normally soft exterior.

Shopping Rule #7: be smart with sparkle.

wow. it feels good to get that out. even if it sounds like my own personal episode of “what not to wear.” i must say that emotionally a burden has been released and a new promise to myself has been made. hopefully one that my new job can support.

wish me luck kids.

❤ VS

* not to say that i’m a cross dresser. while i have nothing against them, i’m a far cry away from purchasing mac, getting a wig and wearing a skirt. i LOVE being a boy, and all the amenities it comes with. 😉

Photos courtesy of The Sartorialist and Jak & Jil.


2 Responses

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  1. Lissa Moon said, on November 18, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Rules to live by! What a fantastic entry! xoxo

  2. Trent Bradley said, on November 18, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Don’t wear heels.

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