Apart from Facebook, playing the guitar, reading, online shopping and blogging, another way I procrastinate is by holding a pen whilst flipping through a magazine in bed and making little post-it notes on the pages. It's an exercise I have been told by a well-established fashion stylist, Katharine Morris, as a way of practising the skill of styling and enhancing. Through critique. I also find this helps me communicate better about what I like, what I don't, and why. I try to consider every element a stylist must consider in critiquing at all times. For example, styling techniques, hair and make-up, location, garment choices, model pose, camera shot etc.
Often people feel more comfortable in explaining what they do like about something, rather than what they don't. Perhaps it's social etiquette that stops us from practising the skills in verbalising negative comments. I have always thought "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." In any case, when it comes to fashion and styling, if you can't say something nice, still say it.
Let me show you a poor example of styling, and a great example of styling of the 'glam-rock' trend, to show you how I usually do this. I try not to just rely on my feelings, but look to the finer details in deciding whether I believe it was well styled or not. Choosing an example that is not obviously terrible is of course more difficult and thus fantastic practise!
Chica Booti Advertisement Campaign, January 2010
I'm personally passionate about the "glam-rock", "luxe-goth" look, but this is just poorly styled!
It looks dated considering it is a 2010 ad.
I cannot see what the model is wearing! What is the outfit? Textures? Fabrics? Details? What top is she wearing? When it comes to an all-black ensemble, we still have to be able to see the texture visually.
It would've been better if we could see the whole outfit (the shiny leggings, the shoes?), because what she has on doesn't do enough for me.
The necklace and hoop earrings are inappropriate. It is my opinion but, I'd do one or the other. Never both, if big or flashy. But who wears big round gold hoop earrings these days anyway?
Hair and make-up does not suit the overall look and atmosphere. Makes me assume they didn't hire a make-up artist nor hair stylist. Even if that is the case, it shouldn't look like it. There is no focal point in the face (dark eye make-up or 'statement' lips). If make-up is to be kept natural or neutral, the hair could be styled into messy locks/'bed hair'/'sex hair'. See Alexander Wang ready-to-wear FW08.
The model's pose is awkward. She could show a little glimpse of attitude or character.
A change of shoot location could raise the value of the overall look. Even just a background scene change.
Kenji Advertisement, MYER Catalogue, February 2010
J'adore this take of 'glam-rock' styled with leather, luxe details, sequins, etc.
Looks like a shot of fashion forward girls on a night-out. The models posing comes across as cool, rebellious, indifferent, yet chic. This "sells" because we want to be like these girls, and/or live their lifestyle.
Hair and make-up is edgy, sexy and modern, going very well with the overall vibe. I heart the pop of bright fuchsia and red lip against the colour palette of achromatic black and white (which is visually very appealing).
Fabulous mix of 'tough' and feminine pieces. I would add a few more unique 'tough' accents, i.e. stacking more bangles/cuffs on the visible arm of the model on the left.
The model on the far right is well styled with a mix and match of patterns. It works.
It excites me that I can look at this and spot so many trends including, body-con, the top knot (bun that sits high on the head), leather, pattern on pattern, sexy 'bed-hair' and 80's influences.