Taking a risk has the potential to change your life. In the stock market, a gamble on a high-return stock can be a rewarding experience. On the other hand, bungee-jumping could have a not so pleasant result. And as in life, taking a risk in fashion can either propel you to success or be detrimental to your image.
Think of Elizabeth Hurley who showed up on the red carpet in 1994 wearing a black Versace fastened with enlarged safety pins. An uproar of criticism ensued and although the jury remains out on whether it was faux pas or a trendsetting look, the point is that she took a risk and that risk paid off.
Too often I find myself falling into the fashion trap of a uniform. You know what I’m talking about – an ensemble that you feel good in, that you know works and doesn’t need ironing. While these outfits provide a needed safety net, it should not become a crutch. And so, I encourage you to try something different, try on something you never thought you would and see that sometimes, taking a fashion risk can really shake things up.
To ensure I step out of my comfort zone, I’ve compiled a short list of styles I hope to make it out of the house wearing.
1. This summer I’ll attend more than five weddings. That means I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m going to wear. Inevitably, I will fall back on one of my many little black dresses. Although I won’t have to buy a new dress and I know I’ll feel comfortable, I also know it’s, like, so ho-hum. So my charge to myself is to spice it up and pair it with a shockingly bright pair of shoes. I’ll slap my hand away from grabbing my black Charles Davids, and instead will purchase a red, royal blue, maybe even orange pair of satin pumps to pair with the LBD.
For inspiration, I turn to the fun-loving Cameron Diaz who pulls this look off flawlessly. Without the A-list budget, I’ll try JLo’s satin pump in blue at zappos.com for $87.95.
Not risky enough you’re thinking? Keep reading.
2. What about taking it one step further? Like most people, I fear dressing in head-to-toe color. I prefer a base of neutrals with a splash of color in accessories. But this season, I will try to go bold, like Thakoon’s lemon lady. I’ll get my fix with Julie Haus’ Luau Dress in sunny yellow (available at shopbop.com) and hope black dress withdrawal doesn’t get to me.
3. Like with most trends, I know I’ll get disapproving looks from some people when I dare myself to step out in a short jumpsuit. I know, it even sounds scary. But sometimes in our quest to be fashionable, we play it safe. Afraid of what others might say, we fall into boredom. Tis the season then to make a fearless fashion statement – there’s all sorts of variations from the romper and drawstring one-pieces to overall shorts (otherwise know as shortalls).
You can go sexy in Laila Azhar’s tie-back romper, casual in Chip & Pepper’s Skinny Dip Overall Short or perfectly demure in Twelfth St. by Cynthia Vincent silk-charmeuse jumpsuit. All available at shopbop.com.
4. As with most extremes, people tend to stay away from them in fashion. While the past year has seen super skinny pants (of which I dabbled in, although briefly) as it turns to fall, we’ll see more and more extra wide pants. Oscar de la Renta showed plenty of them in his Resort 2008 collection and I think their lightweight, sweeping effect will be my fall fashion double dare.
So while it may be good to play it safe in some corners of your life, I challenge you to challenge yourself next time you’re shopping!
A. Cameron Diaz