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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I started this blog in 2007 with the motto “Wear What You Want.” As I explain in my FAQ:

“I chose ‘Wear What You Want’ as my blog’s motto because I want people to know the style rules … and then break them! Forget the self-appointed fashion police who snark on anyone who shows a little creativity. If you’re going to a party, it’s just a few hours of your life. Don’t wear a boring black dress because you’re scared of standing out. Be the belle of the ball, not a wallflower! I live by my own motto. A noted fashion publication put my vintage leopard-print Patrick Kelly gown in a ‘Disaster Area’ feature. That immediately turned the dress into one of my favorites. I’ve worn it many times since … and always gotten a lot of compliments.”

That said, I must confess that I often look at someone and think, “That outfit is terrible!” I just don’t say it out loud — certainly not in person and very rarely online. What good would that do? Making a remark like that just ruins someone’s day. I don’t want to be in the business of ruining people’s days. Besides, if the person normally has great style … well, everyone has “off” moments. S/he probably knows it so there’s no need to rub it in. If the person has terrible style all the time, making a catty comment is unlikely to provide the magical good-taste transplant that would be necessary for long-term improvement. And, as the late, great Vogue editor Diana Vreeland said, “Too much good taste can be boring.” I get pleasure out of painful fashion. I realized today that I’m like that masochistic cow on Family Guy.

Speaking of Family Guy, as I always am, I’m excited to see its creator, Seth MacFarlane, perform big-band tunes at the Highline Ballroom tonight. Holla at me if you see me there — I’ll be the one wearing a nondescript black t-shirt and jeans.

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21 Responses to “Wear What You Want Because It Hurts Me So Good”

  1. Eurasian says:

    I totally agree. What ever happened to giving constructive criticism *if* the blogger asks for it, but no reason to make personal attacks or just be outright mean, especially if the blogger states that they feel confident and good about what they chose to wear. I am very new to trying to develop a more varied wardrobe, more color, more risks (within reason), and I certainly want suggestions on how I can improve. Heck, I don’t even knew what a low vamp pump was until today. But posting snarky comments to make someone feel bad…I just don’t get it.

  2. The Style Crone
    Twitter: judithstylecrone.com
    says:

    Love your motto and have since I found your blog! A breath of fresh air.

  3. And loving your motto and the happiness herein.

    Totally shocked and dismayed by the meanness of fashion today. “Who wore it better” “Bitch stole my look” … sneers and digs and mean girls

    there is something wonderful about breaking every rule and becoming who you are

    good taste, banal taste, expensive taste, designisms, umm really?

    show me what you got and I will clap for you (actually that was my shop motto, clap for the pretty girls)

    it’s become silly with lines for cheap (sorry, my one remaining affliction of fashion is loathing pretend clothes) clothes and trust me I’d be in line for the end of season so-sensational can never imagine affording/owning luxurious sumptuous cashmeres and silks and hand crafted shoes and bags that you need to caress

    it’s mean girls with big price tags and that’s neither pretty or stylish

    sigh

    a silly rant sorry but I have always leaned to the Don’t side of fashion

    and to those who post a mean girls unflattering photo, wow … maybe you need another cup of coffee, just don’t go there

  4. Kasmira says:

    Preach it, sister!

    The haters are just trying to hate something more than they hate themselves.

  5. IMAN says:

    I feel the same way. Some things are just better left unsaid. Why waste your time and energy talking about something that you don’t like? There’s enough negativity in the world. It blows my mind to see people go out of their way to be rude to others. I love when someone donning the latest trends head to toe, takes a moment to point and stare at me. I thank them, because if it wasn’t for people like them who are into such banal things then all of the interesting items would be gone.

    • WendyB
      Twitter: WendyBrandes
      says:

      “if it wasn’t for people like them who are into such banal things then all of the interesting items would be gone.” — Good point (btw, I am buying up all the black t-shirts in the world so you don’t have to worry about those!) You know, I accidentally made my own day yesterday bc while I was doing sit-ups in the gym I noticed a girl working on her arms and she had the BEST ARMS EVER. She was listening to her music so I almost didn’t say anything but then I interrupted her and told her that her arms were awesome. She was so happy that it made me happy! Random compliments are good for the giver too.

  6. Megan Mae says:

    Aaah what a great post Wendy! Especially the part about people knowing they have an off day. I think the best thing to always do, especially online is to always remark on what they’re doing *right*. Even people without “great” style pick up on some things that work on them or can inspire you.

    Negative criticism helps no one, and hurts everyone. Positivity, even if you have to fake it for awhile, can actually change your outlook, and lead to a healthier and happier life.

    • WendyB
      Twitter: WendyBrandes
      says:

      I’m starting to feel guilty because I’m not THAT nice! I’m still making fun of them in my head, even if online I’m complimenting their choice of socks for lack of anything else to say :-D

  7. Silvergirl says:

    taste is sometimes in the eye of the beholder!!
    my two sons got me watching family guy
    so funny
    brett

  8. Franca
    Twitter: apple_franca
    says:

    I’ll take an interesting outfit where the person has tried and failed and looks a bit ridiculous over one that is pretty but bland any day! Which is why i love youth tribes. 14 year old emos – they look so silly but I LOVE them!

  9. Elizabeth says:

    I usually mutter something under my breath about people wearing pajamas in the grocery store, or women squeezed like oozing sausages into too-tight dresses, but your example is a better one to follow. Keep it silent!

    And anyway, even when I see people wearing things I don’t understand or wouldn’t want to wear myself, I still commend them for wearing what they want. After all, I want to wear what I want, too! It’s a two-way street.

  10. Rocquelle
    Twitter: ConsiderMeLuvly
    says:

    Fabulous post Wendy!! I love your motto! I’m totally a wear what I want kind of girl, and if people love it or think it stylish, then great, and if not, I could certainly care less.

    My mom always told me, if I have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all, and it’s a saying that I didn’t fully understand until I became an adult. Just because I may not like something about someone’s outfit doesn’t mean it’s not stylish to another.

    I ADORE your Patrick Kelley dress by the way!!

  11. Faux Fuchsia says:

    Dear W
    When I saw Bill Cunningham NY I thought of you because I was thinking that maybe he had snapped YOU? Yes? I cannot believe he was living in Carnegie Hall. Who knew? I wish you’d post about your wardrobe and how you store all your clobber x

  12. You have the best motto!

  13. People who criticize others do it to make themselves feel better; it’s a sign of low self-esteem. I agree taking risks in fashion is essential and sometimes has less than perfect results but who cares?! Tomorrow is another day to try another outfit.

  14. stacy says:

    where are the photos from the show? i want to see you posing with seth in your “uniform”
    :)

  15. Susan Tiner says:

    As one of the often clueless ones, I appreciate friendly fashion people like you Wendy.

  16. Wendy I love your motto, it’s such a great sentiment that more people should follow. Life is way to short to blend in and be another girl in an LBD! x