“Would you like to dance with me?”
I put my Tequila shot down. I was a country dance newbie and being asked by the maestro of the two-step scene of Santa Fe evoked goose bumps.
“I am honored”, I answered smiling brightly. It was the 90’s and I studied art therapy at the South Western College, a program based on the amazing work of Carl Jung; life changing in its vibrant archetypal approach. I slid off the bar stool and my Harley Davidson cowgirl boots hit the polished floor with a metallic “clack”. “You can do this,” they said. I had learned that things can be imbued with thoughts of strength and resolve. Cowgirl boots were my “power objects”.
I love to look back at my life and discover foreshadowing of the finest; fashion had weaved itself into my life like a repeated reminder of where I was going even when I built houses for a living. It’s two decades after finding courage in cowgirl boots and I am a style coach using outfits for clarity and empowerment.
The Ageless Rebellion started three years ago with WE WEAR WHAT WE WANT and say what we feel. Now woman power has landed on designer’s desks with more than a little metallic “clack”; it’s a closer to a revolution. If we use it as such.
Fashion is born in our Zeitgeist.
Women marches and hastags like “Metoo #enoughisenough and #womenpower have saturated the air we breathe and changed the outfit climate. Vegan fashion week and Fashion Revolution Week hopefully can help reduce the threat of climate change before it’s too late.
Designers have called 2019 the year of fashion empowerment.
For decades the industry was a dictatorship for many women or, on the other end, caused resistance and fights against it. Today our demands have changed fashion into a democracy. Designers like Nili Lotan even use the “right to choose” as theme of their collection; she creates “separates” with the call to “make your own outfit."
"I really do design for myself," said Nili in an interview with W. She is 59 and doesn’t only own her storefront on Duane Street and studio space on Walker in NYC’s Tribeca but her place in the industry. "I’m a real woman: I have kids, I have a husband, I travel, I work, I entertain—I do all the things we all do. My clothes are the answer to my life, and I think that's why so many women see them as the answer, too.”
Hastag #authentic has 9.2 million followers
If ever a designer was made for the #MeToo moment it would be Miuccia Prada, a woman who has spent her career exploring the shifting, often uncomfortable, balance between femininity and force. Or, as she put it: “The whole point of my job is trying to understand how women can be powerful but also feminine, and be believed and stay respected when everyone assumes those things mean you don’t care about clothes.”
Women’s liberation is everywhere, expressed in Pantone Colors, which are decidedly optimistic, vibrant or peace evoking, in combat boots, sexy warrioress faux leather, scandalous vinyl or slogan T-shirts with female empowerment messages. They are everywhere now from the “We Should All be Feminists” T-Shirt on the catwalk at Christian Dior to the myriad versions sold for International Women’s Day. Christopher Kane has always harnessed a lot of criticism for feminist “propaganda” and designers like Christian Siriano, Chromat, Eckhaus Latta, and Gypsy Sport also go further than their seams by sending a variety of body types down the runway, while PH5, Creatures of Comfort, and Kes all included “real” women in their shows.
The very slowly accepted plethora of body types, all ages and races and their manifestation in styles as different as Mars and Venus is a testament to our need for tolerance of our differences.
It is a democratic treasure chest; slip into an uber feminine Zac Posen and wear it with Dior’s 60’s protest sign clothing, wear combat boots with bonbon colors and ruffles, high heels with work woman overalls and glam in sequins in the day time. Layer like the multi level personality you are and let your outfits do the talking. Wear rubber boots with drawstring nylon tops, fishnet tops under massive pleather coats with faux-fur cuffs, frivolous bustiers under shy sheer cream colors, let fringing fiercely swing into your day and metal colors make you feel strong. Let your curious inner child play with bows and bio degradable plastic. Use tulle under or over, sheer or embellished with jewels or flowers.
Pull yourself out of the rut with pulling your neckline off-center.
Be brave. Whatever that means to you.
The industry hits the jack pot by using our zooming in on our hastags and using buzzwords to sell their collections but then, even if some designers only “mean it” commercially it is our responsibility to use these trends as our mantras and statements.
Womanhood is a gift, a privilege and a pleasure. To know and believe that is power and comes with the responsibility to make it so for all of us.
Courage to me is to be authentic and real. To discover “me” and own me. It took me three years from the moment I used the slogan “be a badass at any age” to today where I finally know what that really means. Woke to me means to step into our slogans and into outfits that mean it and mean ME.
How we relate to our outfits is deeply personal and that’s where it starts; make it PERSONAL, really personal.
What empowers me might not empower you.
It is your journey towards your power that counts.
When you dress up ask with Marie Kondo “Does this bring me love?” and with me “what does this matter to me?” Does this resonate with my heart? My soul? My mood? Does it express the power I need today? Vibe the frequency of people I want to meet? Does this shout or whisper my message?
I love to see the beauty in empowerment fashion but worldwide women power is far from reality. The democracy of fashion is in her baby shoes; our task is to push it further, wider and give every woman her power objects until we all believe that we ARE power.
We have to stop running to authority and let big institutions decide for us; it has not brought us far, better it is bringing us to the moment of extinction. When we let our peers teach, motivate and inspire us, when we listen to the voices next to us, buy from our friends and not billionaire’s owning the world we have a chance to make this a world for the people.
Join me in telling fashion stories that empower creating real democracy in real life.
Athleisure, sequins, transparent fabrics, feathers, bold pop colors, combat boots, faux leather, over the knee boots and the easy version of message tees… come back to my empowering fashion pics.
”Ruffle it” is next.