Always be… anyone but yourself

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We’ve all been there. You see someone on the street, in a shop or on a casual afternoon Facebook stalk. You like their outfit. They’re rocking that difficult shade of orange – a tone somewhere between rust and radioactive tangerine. They’ve done their hair exactly how you’ve been trying to do yours for years. And – critically – they’ve somehow managed to master the art of casually draping a blazer over their shoulders while presumably still being able to perform basic daily functions like Instagramming.

Thus begins the somewhat creepy process of shameless plagiarizing. You attempt to seek out those loafers. You trawl the Internet for hours searching for that blazer. But, as sad as it is to come to terms with, a truly awesome ensemble is much greater than the sum of its parts. You may have all the pieces, but it takes a certain je ne sais quoi to pull off the look. Besides, your hair just will not go that way.

In today’s fearless fashion world, where you can’t turn around without being faced with another snap of someone sporting Picasso prints or brandishing a takeout box in the name of style, it seems that ‘fashspiration’ has become an industry all of its own. Bloggers receive hundreds of freebies and the best get glittering endorsement deals with global brands which recognize the power of this new army of influentials. And the crazier the better – pushing the boundaries of fashion in order to grab headlines is what it’s all about. Unless you too are sporting a stuffed animal on your head, you just can’t sit with us. In their efforts to be as ‘individual’ as possible, all these slogan-wearing stylistas are in actual fact spawning hundreds of imitations. So has it become OK to ‘copycat’ someone’s style?

There is something a little intrusive and Single White Female about replicating someone else’s presumably well-thought-out look. Personally, I like to think I have a little more creative integrity than that. After all, fashion is art and styling a look takes both skill and imagination. So, perhaps it is best to stick to referencing those we find inspiring, rather than attempting to morph ourselves into their sartorial doppelganger. Besides, things could get awkward if you run into said person clad in what is essentially an outfit of their creation. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it is also the fastest route to the loony bin – or at the very least a raised eyebrow or two. Still, perhaps I will just keep an eye out for that blazer…

Image courtesy of Le 21ème.

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