January 26, 2010

Chicago Manual of Style—1/26/2010

With advertisers still running for the hills and publishers continuing to fold, it seems that textbook-sized fashion magazines are a thing of the past. Although you can no longer lug around a backbreaking Vogue, new media makes it easier than ever to get your daily dose of fashion. Here are some of my favorite places to log on and get connected to the fashion world.

Go Fug Yourself

This blog is penned by Heather and Jessica, a dynamic duo with a keen eye and sharp wit. Responsible for introducing a new variation of the “F word” to the cultural lexicon, the girls lampoon starlets and celebutantes who go about town looking “fantastically ugly,” or some more explicit variant thereof. The writers, who also contribute to New York Magazine, take devilish delight in pointing out can’t-look-away disasters where celebrity stylists clearly fell asleep at the wheel. The blog is part celebration, part censure of sartorial calamities. My favorite features include the imagined dialogues between celebrities, especially the incoherent mutterings of designer Karl Lagerfeld (“Kaiser Karl”), who reminds readers that “Humor is the crutch of the plain, pet. BE GORGEOUS.” Fugly regular Aubrey O’Day, who skyrocketed to C-list celebrity after appearing on a season of P. Diddy’s Making the Band, also never fails to disappoint with retina-scarring selections that look like a stew of neon colors and couch-cushion patterns, seasoned with a splash of saloon.

The Sartorialist

Scott Schuman is a globetrotting photographer on the style prowl. Schuman, a regular contributor to GQ, snaps great shots of stylish people all over the world, from suntanned surfers on Australian shores, to heavy-lidded hipsters in Manhattan’s Lower East Side and petite Parisian women in diaphanous dresses and sky-high heels. All of the photographs are beautifully composed, saturated with color and sunlight, featuring men and women for whom style is a sixth sense. The best images are ones of elegant, aging Italian men in Milan, who pair perfectly tailored trousers with slightly scuffed shoes and look effortlessly bello. Schuman alternates between profiling fashion insiders, like models, editors, and designers, and sharing snapshots of creatively-coiffed students, accountants, and entrepreneurs. Though most of Schuman’s subjects, especially the female ones, adhere to a very conventional definition of beauty, the images do attest to the fact that one doesn’t have to splurge on the season’s hottest handbag in order to be staggeringly stylish.

Style Rookie

This blog, penned by precocious 13-year-old Tavi Gevinson, makes me feel a little embarrassed about the years I spent watching Keenan and Kel and Clarissa Explains It All. At an age when I was sprawled out on the couch watching Nickeloden, Gevinson has befriended the Rodarte designers and scored a deal to endorse their collection for Target, sat front row at some seriously prestigous fashion shows, and even wrote a piece for Harper’s Bazaar. While her commentary sometimes borders on breathless idolatry, she’s got an encyclopedic knowledge of fashion and an infectious enthusiasm for an industry in which so many people seem jaded and apathetic. Elle editor Anne Slowey dismissed Gevinson as a novelty and wondered whether the “tween savant” actually writes her own freelance work, but I think she should get some rousing high-fives for her initiative and work ethic. She’ll grow into more sophisticated prose, but her blog is smart, interesting, and full of great observations and news about designers, campaigns, and shows. As a bonus, I can try to relive my teen years vicariously through Gevinson, who is far more self-assured, passionate, and eloquent than I was at her age.

When it comes to blogs, I’m a bit of a dilettante. For a while I penned People Without Pants, a chronicle of my daily misadventures on the New York City public transportation system, where flashers and urinators strike without warning. Then, I wrote Shabulous, an ode to everything “Shabby and Fabulous,” where I waxed poetic about salvaging furniture from the garbage heap and cleaning it up with a little sweat and sandpaper. I stopped writing when I realized I had neither the ideas nor the stamina to keep it up. Thankfully, these writers have a seemingly neverending supply of insight, ideas, commentary, and criticism that illuminate the fashion world. So if you’re fed up with Facebook or need to get off of Gmail, browse some fashion blogs and download some style savvy.