Juxtaposition

“Juxtaposition” is every college kid’s favorite word. It is a fancy, and convenient way, to describe placing things next to each other to compare them. There is always a way to use it at least once in an essay.

In the context of fashion, I’m using “juxtaposition” to talk about using style to create a more complex image of a person. This idea draws on more essay fodder from my school years, there is always more to the picture. We are not two-dimensional people (nor are events, places, history, etc.), but our first impressions are pretty flat. Here’s simple ways to flesh them out.

I’d been thinking about this post for awhile and had all but given up on it because I couldn’t figure out how to talk about it, when I had a serendipitous encounter at a store. All of the employees were fairly casually dressed, except one. He was wearing nice trousers and a matching suit vest, basically two parts of the three-piece suit. He also had ear gauges and tattoos on his arms.

Balance

Now, I’m never going to endorse gauges, but the point is, this young man took aspects of his appearance and personality that may initially seem unprofessional, and balanced them with sophistication. Because of his choices of tattoos and piercings, he was going to have to work a little harder in other areas to appear professional.

There are plenty of examples of this type of juxtaposition in the celebrity and fashion worlds, Jamie Campbell-Bower, Andre Hamann, and Adam Levine are all recognizable examples. The nature of their careers may make this look less necessary, but that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate it.

If you don’t have tattoos or piercings you can still use juxtaposition to your favor. A similar method can be done iwth clothes alone.

Juxtaposition

By combining formal or semi-formal pieces with casual clothes creates visual interest and the opportunity for unique expression. This is especially easy to do with outerwear; pair a leather jacket with slacks and a tie, or throw a nice wool coat over a graphic tee or hoodie, to diversify your look. This also expands breadth of your wardrobe without actually buying more clothes.

An even easier way to add personality to your wardrobe?

Pop of color

Juxtapose a bright color with a neutral monochromatic look.

I love black on black, and neutral looks can be striking and classic. Finding a bright pair of shoes, or a belt, or some other piece of clothing can add a lot of personality and interest to a look.

There are tons of ways you can use contrast to up your visual interest and to best flatter yourself. Pair rounded glasses with a square jaw and a round face with angular frames, softer hair compliments an angular face, and so on. Find your favorite means of juxtaposing and embrace it.

I know it is technically time for a Spotlight post, and I feel like I’ve been waiting to do one forever, but this came out…don’t worry I think I know who is next in line for a spotlight, so it hopefully won’t be long.

Tattoos are Forever

First of all, watch this.

He pretty much says it all.

Here at WAMSW, we aren’t huge fans of tattoos. But they are a part of our culture and mean a lot to some people. And they can be kind of sexy. Listen to Brooks, think your tattoos through. Think about placement, meaning, fads, number, etc.

The tricky thing about meaning in tattoos is that what’s important to you changes. You are pretty much always safe with your child’s name because you will always love them, but their face might be a little weird. People hesitate about spouse’s or significant other’s names, but my thought is: if your are dedicated enough to ink something on your flesh forever, you should be that committed to your spouse. So nothing too early in relationships. Jon McLaughlin has his wife’s name in simple cursive on his forearm and it is particularly sweet. (And I’m not just saying this because her name is my name). There are other meaningful moments, like the entire Fellowship from the Lord of the Rings movies getting the elvish word for “nine” because that was a significant part of their lives and important friendships. Matthew Lewis got roman numerals XI on his arm because the number resonated with several important events in his life. Also because roman numerals are pretty classy looking.

Tattoos with meaning

 

I remember hearing about oneĀ girl who would have a copy of a design she was considering in several places around her house–on bathroom mirrors, places she saw often, etc. If she got tired of the design before a year was up, she wouldn’t get it. This seems genius. It doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t eventually ware on you, but you’ve proven to yourself that you really like this design.

Another key thing to consider is professionalism, or how the tattoo will affect how you are perceived because it will happen. No matter how much we rail against the system saying we shouldn’t judge based on appearances, we do. We all do.

So here I turn to the example of Adam Levine. Everyone loves Adam Levine; he’s equal parts charming, bad boy, talented, and funny. And he has a number of tattoos. He often shows them off in plain t-shirts, but if you find a picture of him in a suit, you can’t see a single bit of ink. All of his tattoos can be covered with clothing if the occasion requires.

Now personally I wouldn’t want to be restricted to long sleeves, if I ended up regretting a tattoo, but it does provide a nice safety blanket. So choose wisely.

Tattoos