Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Significance of Style

Shutterstock/Cierra Miller

When I first began blogging, I have to admit that I did not click "Publish" on my first post without some initial hesitation. Presenting yourself to others in general is daunting, and presenting yourself to others through writing and photographs even more-so. So many questions raced through my mind as I read and reread my first couple of posts--what if my tone didn't come across very relatable, or no one found my content interesting? The doubts spanned far and wide, but the biggest had to do with the subject matter of my blog. I feared I would come across as shallow and vapid for starting a site that revolves primarily around myself and what I wear. Of all the topics in the world, the pressing issues and existential quandaries, I chose to write about cute boots and fall sweaters. Would others judge me as ignorant for considering these things worthy of discussion in a time plagued by more serious topics?

As I settled into the rhythm of blogging, these doubts began to subside and I was reminded of why I began this project in the first place--my love of fashion.

The past decade has bore witness to more excess than ever before. The kind of lavish lives that once existed only in the pages of The Great Gatsby are now typified by the everyday realities of millions of Youtube celebrities and Instagram models that saturate everyone's feeds. For this reason, fashion has seemed increasingly void of any substance and significance--it's seen as frivolity, and associated with a narcissistic concentration on appearance and looks alone.

At its root, however, clothing plays a significant role in human culture. For centuries, it has been one of the most fascinating and telling ways a society can share its mores, customs, and traditions with the world. When you think of Ancient Rome, you probably call to mind citizens dressed in draped togas. Recall the Civil War and you probably picture soldiers in slate blue button-down uniforms.

Even in fictitious worlds, fashion has an important place at the table. Movie directors pay close attention to how they costume their characters, and authors often provide details of how their protagonist dresses. Even a painter's brushstrokes can change the perceived personality and backstory of her figures.

Memory, the Heart, Frida Kahlo/
The consequences of fashion are pervasive--at every point in time, people wore clothes, and these clothes offer a serious commentary on the zeitgeist of the culture. It is for a good reason that many of these historical and cultural vestiges are now housed in museums as artifacts worthy of public viewing.

Last summer, I had the pleasure of visiting the Met Museum's exhibit Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. As a fashion enthusiast and a Theology major, I was captivated by the costumes, which the Met aptly described as "a dialogue between fashion and medieval examine fashion's ongoing engagement with the devotional practices and traditions of Catholicism." As I perused the exhibit, I was struck by the powerful implications of fashion and the ways in which it pervades important conversations relating to religion, history, economics, sociology, etc. The gratuitousness associated with fashion today is hardly reflective of its deeper significance.

What I share on TLE is usually pretty simple--a snapshot of what I'm wearing, some of my favorite articles of clothing, maybe a sale or two I've been shopping. While I find joy in sharing my favorite outfits with the world and enjoy keeping my content easy-to-digest, I fear that sometimes these quick social media posts can contribute to the oversimplification of fashion and perpetuate the cycle that it's one-dimensional and superficial.

In reality, and what I hope I conveyed in this post, is that fashion is nuanced and complex, a living testament to the past, present, and future. It is for this reason that I started my blog, and I hope that in some albeit small way, my work can stand as a testament to the significance of style.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Fall Neutrals

Thursday, October 3, 2019

A Reflection with Zelda

I was scrolling through Pinterest when I found this quote by Zelda Fitzgerald, and was immediately struck by its gravity and relevance. I think it resonates particuarly with anyone who has ever expected the worst out of a new situation, or has harbored pessimism or a feeling of inadequacy in her life.

Personally, these words speak to the in times when my mind filters out the many positives associated with change and newness, and leaves me with nothing but dread and the feeling that what I'm entering into is going to be arduous, stressful, and disappointing.

I originally stumbled across this quote while I was preparing to return to my junior year of college, a time when these sentiments were rearing their ugly head. Despite this nervousness, I was able to find some solace and comfort in Zelda's words, because they stand in such sharp contrast to those thoughts of doubt, and imply that with positive intentional thinking, a positive outcome is both real and tangible. I want to reflect on three words in particular that stand out to me when I read this quote.
Confidence in obtaining happiness doesn't necessarily have to be showy. It doesn't mean you have to maintain an absurdly unrealistic sunny disposition, or always exude optimism. It simply means keeping ever-present, if even in the back of your mind, the idea that good things will make themselves available to them if you cultivate a sense of confidence in the unknown.
This, I think, is the most striking word of all, because it's so active. Rather than live passively, as a subject to life's whim, a person in pursuit of capturing the good has great confidence and faith in the idea that good things won't just befall them, but will intentionally come to them if they can intentionally envision it.
At the end of the day, willing good things isn't the only thing it takes to see them await you at the "finish line." Obviously, it oftentimes takes much more hard work. Nevertheless, this mindset Fitzgerald describes is a testament to the air of calm tenacity that is so necessary to cultivating the good in life.

I hope this quote reflection inspires you in some way! All the best. 

Monday, September 30, 2019

A Gameday in the Life

Today I'm thrilled to share a post I've been thinking about writing for quite sometime. Obviously, I love sharing outfit posts and photos, but I wanted to mix it up and publish something that would speak a little to my typical weekend routine and my life at college. Welcome to a post all about GAMEDAY at Notre Dame!

If you didn't know, Notre Dame has a football program that is really central to the University. Football is part of the culture here, and the majority of students attend the games.

As fun as they are, gamedays are a whirlwind. They usually mean you have an early wakeup call, a trek all around campus to different tailgate locations until kickoff, 4 hours on your feet in the student section during the game, and then finally a reprieve when the game ends. I can only imagine how the students actually playing in the game feel!

Yesterday, we played the University of Virginia and won 35-20 (woohoo!).

A big part of the gameday fun happens at the tailgates in the hours leading up to kickoff. This weekend, since the game began at 3:30, we headed out to the big tailgate parking lot beyond the stadium at around 10:30 am. The forecast was supposed to be really rainy and dreary, but luckily the rain held out and we weren't drenched!

Tailgates are typically hosted by someone's parents or extended family/friends, with the invite spreading through Facebook or word of mouth. We spend most of the morning hopping around from one location to another, socializing with friends and meeting their families. Aside from all of the fun memories made, one reason I really enjoy tailgating is because it's a testament to how close the ND community is. Oftentimes you don't always know the hosts of the tailgate, but you're able to find common ground with them through the shared bond of Notre Dame, and everyone is so welcoming and generous.

Student football tickets give you admission to the student section of the stadium, which has general seating. We usually get into the stadium at around 3 pm to try to get a good view of the field. Sadly, I didn't get to snap any pictures of the actual game itself, but I'll be sure to post some next weekend to give you all an inside peek at the game :)

I wish I could share some stadium pictures from Saturday, because there's nothing quite like seeing it packed to the brim with 70,000 fans! Oh well, I still have a pretty good view of the stadium on a typical Monday from my perch on the 13th floor of the library as I write this post!

I hope you enjoyed a little peek into what a typical gameday is like here, and let me know if you're interested in seeing more of these posts! Have a great week!

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Put a Bow On It

This jumpsuit is hands-down my favorite early fall item in my closet. I was originally browsing Instagram and came across a boutique called Clementine LA. I thought it had such a fabulous range of items, and I love to support small clothing businesses whenever I can.

In my first order, I purchased the belt I highlighted two posts ago ("A Dressed Down Button Down"), as well as this jumpsuit. I wasn't sure if it would be petite-friendly or even if it would be flattering on me, but I was so drawn to the cute pumpkin-colored print and ruffled neckline that I had to give it a try.

I am SO happy I did, because it has quickly become a staple in my wardrobe. It is unbelievably comfortable--the fit is perfect (it's not even too long on me and I'm 5'1! Hooray!), and the wide pant legs feel like I'm wearing my coziest PJ pants!

I often have a problem with necklines being a bit too low on me, but with the snap closure and the adjustable straps, I have had no such problem with this jumpsuit! The neckline is flirty while still modest.

And of course, the bow! My favorite detail of all.

I have received so many complements on this jumpsuit, and I cannot recommend it enough. If you're looking for a fun and unique item to add to your fall collection, this is the one!

Jumpsuit: available here 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Leafy Greens

As much as I love fall, it's so hard for me to say goodbye to short skirts and flowy sundresses. There's just something about warm-weather clothes the summer pastel color palette that I find so lovely and feminine.

Nevertheless, the seasons keep changing, so I suppose my fashion must as well! I love that this outfit is appropriate for transitioning to fall, yet still retains a little bit of that summer vibe, with the little cap sleeves and sandals.

Best of all, the skirt has deep pockets! Especially now that I'm back at school and have a lot of walking to do, it's so convenient when I can pop my phone, headphones, etc., in my pocket and not have to worry about digging around in my backpack on my way to class. So convenient!

This top, with its cute little button detailing, is actually a ribbed bodysuit. When I think of bodysuits I typically think of something more suitable for "going out," but this really is the perfect everyday bodysuit (I actually featured it in white on my story a little while back!). So casual and cute, and you never have to worry about readjusting when it's tucked into the skirt. Plus, it has snaps!

This pretty army green color is definitely something I'll be incorporating more of in my fall wardrobe. What colors are you looking forward to wearing this season?

Thursday, September 5, 2019

A Dressed Down Button-Down

Today I wanted to hop on the blog and a) end my brief hiatus while I was adjusting to my new college schedule, and b) share with you what I consider a perfect summer-to-fall outfit for class!

I like the look of button-down shirts, but I've always felt they've looked a little too boxy and rigid on me. This dress, however, is the perfect compromise. It's feminine and flared, yet polished. The overall look and material is perfect for wearing on a day you want to look trendy, yet really classy.

When I purchased the dress last year, it "swallowed me up" a bit. I was hesitant to wear it because I kind of looked as though I had just thrown on my dad's polo without pants, yikes!

Luckily, I found this belt and it really transformed the whole look. It gave a much needed waistline to the dress and added the perfect summery finishing touch. Voila!

Hope you enjoy the look! What have you been wearing back to school lately? 

*outfit details available on my Instagram story (@thelaureledit)