I tried to make it work, really I did. But at a certain point you have to accept that it wasn't meant to be. There were no angry confrontations, no broken plates or slamming of doors; I just left.
We met by chance, really: someone on Pattern Review had told me last summer that something I'd sewn was worthy of The Sartorialist. I didn't get the reference so naturally, I had to find out who this Sartorialist was. I paid him a visit, and then again, and again and, well, you know how these things happen.
Initially I was attracted, oh, so strongly. All those stylish people from so many different countries wearing beautiful clothes and looking so great in them. I saw unusual looks that made me think about new silhouettes, and fresh color and pattern combinations.
But like many ill-fated relationships, this one got old fast. This is NOT meant to be a criticism of The Sartorialist, btw. It wasn't him, it was me.
Here's why I drifted:
1. You probably know by now that I'm really into context. I'm interested in why we dress the way we do, what clothes mean and why, and how we use them to express who we are in the world and who we want to be.
At the Sartorialist, images are usually decontextualized (i.e., displayed out of context). We just see a photo of an attractive person wearing stylish clothes; a typical heading reading, "On the Street...Suzette, Paris." I want to know, who is this person, what kind of life do they lead, where did they get what they're wearing and what did they pay for it? Do they have health insurance?
2) As much as I enjoy making clothes, I'm not a fashion person. I'm interested in the history of fashion design and I like to play dress up but I don't care much about today's trends. I dress very simply. The Sartorialist usually features fashion people: editors en route to a fashion show, models, stylists, photographers. Of course, those people are going to look stylish, it's their job.
3) This relates to yesterday's post about class: You may disagree, but to me most (not all, most) people featured in The Sartorialist look affluent. I see people whose lives allow them to wear uncomfortable shoes, beautiful and expensive-looking designer clothes, and live in glamorous cities.
It's the same way I feel about home decor magazines: you're shown some wealthy couple's fantastic country house that they usually haven't even decorated themselves -- they've paid someone else to do it for them so of course their house is going to be gorgeous. Who are these people and why do they have so much money? Did they inherit it or did they earn it and if they earned it, how?
I enjoy looking at beautiful things but at the same time I resent the display of wealth, especially when it's not treated as worthy of comment.
4) Too many of the younger, non-fashion-editor-types featured on the Sartorialist look...ordinary.
5) The comments people make on the Sartorialist -- and I don't blame the Sartorialist for this -- are vapid, generally things like "great shirt!" "awesome shoes!" (It's not like he made the shoes, for Pete's sake!) As someone who sews, I can't get very excited about someone wearing something purchased, as challenging as it can be to assemble an outfit.
So that's it, my five reasons. I'm not trying to change any minds here. I'm still going to visit the Sartorialist from time to time; no hard feelings. There's still some attraction there for sure. We're just not together anymore.
On a related note, there really is too much fashion imagery in our lives already.
I find myself agreeing with reader Monica, who commented the other day, "there is way too much judgment based on personal appearance in this world, and I wish we would all be more understanding the next time someone's appearance triggers feelings of discomfort or contempt."
I want to add that while I write a lot about clothes, no one has to look or dress a certain way to earn my respect or love. I really don't care.
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns. I also sew for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!