The Overalls trend: They're not just for farmers
For over a hundred years there have been many iterations of denim in one form or another. I have never been a big fan of jeans until 10 years ago, since they were uncomfortable for wheelchair wear. With textile advances, which incorporate spandex into the denim fabric, I find them exceedingly comfortable and fashionable. There is one particular item, popular in the 80s, which repulses me especially when worn by women. What was once farmer's functional wear and favored by widowers past 60, who have given up on grooming, has found its place in the fashion world. It once again has reared its unflattering, disfiguring existence. Item in question? The OVERALL.
Although it is difficult to style overalls with confidence, there are a few exceptions to the rule. Few women can wear paper bags and look amazing, so attitude, edge and indelible non-trendy accessories are necessary.
Woman on left (photo credit: Tumblr) Woman on right (photo credit: Cicilia, via HarpersBazaar.com)
Last week I relented and bought a pair of overalls. I wanted to see if there was anyway I could feel attractive and if this piece of clothing would hinder my movements in a wheelchair. I paired my Urban Outfitters overalls with a St. John Couture jacket, strands of pearls and Prada ballet shoes. The minute I looked into the mirror I felt drained. Overalls have the mark of the devil and suck the life out of you. My friend who helped photograph me, took one look at my outfit and remarked "oh honey, not even Prada can help you with that mess." I agreed, but we soldiered on anyway.
I could barely crack a smile. Damn you overalls! You did this to me.
Exhausted and unhappy by the end of our shoot, I left undeterred. I had to figure out a way to wear these overalls, make them look fashionable or find a location best suited to wear them. I needed to find a beauty look that would complement my denim outfit.
What popped into mind was the way models from the Marni fall runway 2014 collection were styled. Marni's hair pro, Paul Hanlon, used "brains" and "bird's nests" to describe his coif creations. I agree but would add, "You know after a baby is born and the after-birth and placenta is still wrapped around his or her head making the hair matted, thready and sticky? Yeh, that is the look I am going for. Bird's nests, babies and birds."
I needed to be comfortable, so wearing a pair of designer strappy sandals was not an option. (By the way, I hate that look. Pairing overalls with $800 5 inch strappy shoes won't disguise the fact that you are wearing shitty overalls, nor does it add irony to this look.) I opted for a 20 year old pair of Doc Martens, which still have oil paint from my fine art painting days. I threw on my blue Alain Mikli sunglasses, Jamie Kreitman white tee with chiffon bow (had to add some femininity to this ensemble) and drove around town searching for the perfect spot for my photo op.
Waiting for the bus with pavement covered in litter. At least I have my pork rinds.
Found! A downtown bus stop, heavily littered though a trash bin sits nearby. I sat there and thought "What is worse than sitting in overalls on a hot sunny day? The American mass transit system." I live 30 miles outside of NYC and the bus system is severely deficient. Buses do not run regularly on weekends and make so many local stops that you could write a dissertation by the time you reach your destination. So I sat there patiently waiting, while noshing on a bag of Howard's Pork Fried Skins.
I am the face of Overalls Discrimination. I heard the bus driver yell "You are not getting on my bus dressed like that."
Spurned by a suburban bus driver, I had to try one more look before tossing the fried skin bag into a dumpster behind my building complex.
I decided to reach for my Denim Urban Turban, designed for a fashion post of mine last year. I wanted to be swathed in denim head to toe to pay tribute to the Levi Strauss legacy. What better way than to twist a pair of jeans around your head?