Recently, on one late night, I started thinking about who inspires me in the realm of fashion. I, like a lot of fashion bloggers/fans/fanatics, spend a good amount of time on the internet looking at how people dress. I think about why that look works for them, why so many different people have the same ideas (both good and bad), if a look or an item would look good on me, what I could wear it with, etc.
This time, however, I found myself looking at people with completely original style. And with that, I introduce a short series on my fashion icons.
First up is Harold Lloyd. I came across this (mostly) silent movie actor by watching TCM at about 1am on a random Sunday.
The movie was "The Freshman", made in 1925, about a college freshman who, in his desperation to become the Big Man on Campus, turns into the laughingstock of his school. Of course, he ultimately saves the day when he plays in the big football game. I was entranced, amazed that a silent movie could make me laugh so much. I eventually saw "Girl Shy", "Safety Last!" and "Doctor Jack" -- and I was hooked.
So, we've established that he can make me laugh -- but why is he a style icon?
1. The Glasses Character, or, How to Create a Signature Look
Once Lloyd established his Glasses character, he never strayed from it. That is, he found something that worked -- and stuck with it. To me, the same thing can apply to personal style. If you find something that really suits you... say, some round glasses, why not make them your trademark?
I think you can take this further, actually. You don't have to wear the same exact thing every time, but you can evoke the same sentiment, stick within a certain range. For instance, my next style icon almost always wears bright colors... and lots of them.
Midway through the '20s, looser clothing became generally more popular. Trousers got wider, shirtsleeves were looser, suit jackets had normal waists (before, they were super high-waisted) and wider lapels. Double-breasted vests also became popular. History lesson aside, Harold Lloyd's character was always dressed in the fashion of the times, even though his characters were often poor as dirt and more than a little nerdy.
Harold also often wore a straw boater hat, which was really popular for upper and middle class men of the time. If you think back a year or two, I'm sure you remember boater hats being in style? And if you follow Japanese fashion, I know you remember that. In fact, I think they were still "in" as of last spring. My alma mater even has a tradition involving boater hats. (The picture above always makes me laugh, because I have the exact same facial expression when I'm on the Metro.)
I never did the boater thing, but I do own a straw hat (Eugenia Kim for Target) that I adore.
I have always been attracted to a more boyish or masculine aesthetic, and I hardly ever wear skirts or dresses, so a guy from the 1920's is perfect inspiration for me. I've already talked about what I gather from Harold Lloyd in a more... abstract sense, but what about actual items?
OxfordsOxfords by silentspring featuring square toe shoes
I, for one, was ecstatic that oxfords are stylish again. I remember in high school, I definitely wore men's oxfords (for a brief period of time), but the fit wasn't quite right. Luckily, now we've got a ton of options at every price point.
It's probably clear to you that using the exact silhouette of a pair of pants made for a man living in the 1920s for a pair of pants made for a woman living nearly 100 years later might not be the best idea. Here, the pants are reminiscent of Lloyd's style in a few ways: color, pleats and creases, and length.
Bows, bowties, and ribbons
No need to be literal when interpreting a look. If you want to wear a bowtie, more power to you -- I think they look really cool on women. But if that just isn't your cup of tea, there are many other ways to wear a bow: in your hair, on your ears, as a brooch, on your wrist, around your waist...
And don't forget the nerd glasses.
Harold Lloyd photos courtesy of immelmanturn at vintagephotos Livejournal Community