Dressing up or dressing down is all about receiving feedback. We like to get feedback from people – from friends and strangers on the streets – we like to see the nod of appreciation, the gazing, the stares and the head turns as we walk up the street or enter a restaurant and sometimes we just do it to get that positive feedback from ourselves; Looking in the mirror and feeling good about how we look is one of the greatest motors for dressing the right way. But what is the right way? What inspires us to choose our outfits before stepping out of the house? Is it the blogger we follow on Instagram? The likes she gets on every “Outfit of the day” post? or is it the way our best frienemy styles her daily outfits?
There are thousands of ways that could affect our decision and that’s why there are endless numbers of marketing engineers behind any brilliant fashion campaign designers and brands produce every season. However I have come to notice a distinct thing – that humans all over share in common – that effect the way we style ourselves; Geography.
It is not a revelation, knowing that people dress differently in different countries because that’s how the culture is simply made up, but it is not until I moved to Munich that I could really understand how much cities (or villages) could impact the way you dress.
From Beirut to Milan, from Bangkok to Munich… I spent the last 4 years of my life commuting between Europe, the Middle East and south east Asia. I had learned and experienced a lot. I was lucky enough to be born by the Mediterranean Sea, where heat and breezy summer music dictated the way I dressed and the way I lived and loved things. Tight little dresses and high heels where the dress code of any Saturday brunch. The Lebanese Riviera was built for the glamorous and champagne drinkers and the same could be said about Milan. It could be the flamboyant architecture or that electric feel that you get standing by the Duomo at 10 am but it could also simply be that positive feedback you get from people around you – it makes your heart race. When you dress a certain way – in a glamorous, well tailored flamboyant way – you get a positive feedback from people around you. It can be the friends you are going out with, it could be the stranger gazing at you wondering if you would like to have a drink or it could be the people walking by you at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. In Milan people respond to well tailored minimalist flamboyant design, deliciously well made colorful shoes and long wild hair. Whereas in Bangkok, you would receive positive feedback to a different kind of style and in Munich you would receive certainly a different kind of feedback to a style Milanese respond to.
When you live your entire life in the same city you grown up in, styling becomes intuitive but if you recently moved to a new place, you would notice the lack of response or a lack of positive feedback. So you experiment, you try to find the style you and others respond to the most in this new environment. This is how cities shape up or change the way we dress.
I will not deny it, after living in Munich for a couple of months I started noticing how drastically my taste for style has changed and I wondered what the reason or motive could be behind that change. I realized slowly that I have not been receiving any kind of response from myself or from people around me. I would look in the mirror and I would feel that what I have on does not provoke a response in me, it could be because the clothes did not fit the urban symmetrical architecture or it might be how the entourage is simply flat, shapeless and very conformed – very disciplined. Whatever it was, I simply did not get any feedback from myself or from others until I slowly modified. I am throwing on flats instead of heels, which I thought I’d never live long enough to see myself wear. My silhouette started looking more and more less fluid and more disciplined, more structured and more functional. Long wide skirts for comfort, over-sized blazers and knitted sweaters for warmth have become pleasant to wear and you realize that its never what you wear its simply how you feel… and t felt good !
Photos: Marie Hebnarova for Moda Styletelling