Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sui Generis

Not long ago I saw a photo of a party with Andy Warhol. (I searched and searched but couldn't find the image to show you, unfortunately.) The late 1960s photo showed Le Warhol flanked by women of the Edie Sedgwick persuasion: gamine, slender, clothed in Courreges-style dresses. One woman stood out. She, too, wore a straight-fitting mini dress, but her figure strained its lines. She was busty with a tiny waist and what my family doctor calls "baby machine" hips. In short, she was a 1950s goddess trapped in a 1960s photo. It just didn't work. She looked uncomfortable, ill flattered, and out of sorts.

Oh, how I understand. My voluptuous figure and out-of-time taste often sets me at odds, too. A few months ago I went to a party replete with hip women with long, straight hair and girlish figures. I'd selected a 1950s gold silk Suzie Wong style dress to wear, but I felt positively matronly in the sea of careless 1970s glasses and puffy vests. The only comfort I took was that they drank cheap wine and didn't seem to know the difference. As I walked back to my car in the cold night, I felt like such a loser. Too curvy, too feminine. Too old.

Then I thought of the Warhol photo, and my thoughts flashed to Sophia Loren. Now here was a curvy woman with a sexy, down-to-earth style all her own. She came of age in the late 1950s. But imagine her walking into a bar in Greenwich Village in the early 1960s. She's wearing a simple black sheath dress that skims her figure and maybe a pair of dangling earrings. As she settles at the bar, she's surrounded by a sea of boyish beatniks redolent of Jean-Paul Sartre and French cigarettes. But she is Sophia Loren. She can't be a beatnik. She can only be what she is: shapely, alluring, warm, and sexy. Who could resist? Did she ever question her allure? Did she think she needed to be something different?

In the end, none of us can judge ourselves against anyone else. We are each sui generis: a gorgeous, individual, work of art shaped by our own bodies, experiences, and taste. Sure, it's so easy to pick up a magazine and put ourself down because we aren't Kate Moss or someone else. But who cares? Kate Moss isn't me, either. I can fill out a strapless evening gown like she'd only dream. I have the experience to walk into a party and talk about Petrarch's poetry or perfect farm-raised poached eggs for breakfast or the merits of mutts versus pedigreed dogs like Kate Moss could never do. I am one of a kind. I don't play her game--I'm a game all of my own.

At Xtabay Vintage, we want you to remember that. You are amazing as you are. We want you to be the best you you can be--not anyone else, no matter what cool blogs or magazines say. It's so nice to go somewhere where your style, your vision are paramount, even if you're still feeling around to find them. Welcome.


  1. Bravo! How refreshing to hear such wisdom. Style and class. I look forward to visiting your lovely dreamland of fashion someday soon instead of just (bl)ogling.

  2. Suddenly, I am feeling better about myself. Thank you!

  3. Jocelynn, I hope you make it down to the store sometime soon! It really is a fun place to hang out and try things on.

    Martha, it's so easy to get caught up in the "look du jour", but everyone whose style I really love is true to herself.

    ~ Angie (for the Xtabay, of course!)

  4. you are my hero :) so beautifully written!