fashion: bad at doing it, good at loving it – part five

Somehow I came across Polyvore four years ago. I joined, tried it and wasn’t very good at it, and mostly forgot about it as a social site or a creative site and just used it a couple times a year if I was looking to buy something. It’s really useful for shopping for something in particular, whether it’s an exact product or if you’re just looking for “light green scarf with fringe” or “cotton/poly leopard print blouse” or something else super specific because you have your reasons. Anyway, it’s great, especially when you are on a crusade to be grown up and have a set style and a decent, career-appropriate wardrobe like me, because you can rip things out of magazines, paste them into a journal, and also look up the exact things on Polyvore, where you can find out where you can buy them and (I think) sign up for sale notifications. Wins all around.

Image representing Polyvore as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

But really, Polyvore is this vibrant place where people who are really into fashion and makeup and interior design and also have an eye for it (i.e. not me, but I love swooning over it) can make “sets” that are like virtual collages of products, magazine cutouts, words, music, etc. They’re pretty brilliant, and there are a lot of people who are fucking amazing at it. You can get lost forever and wonder how some people just have an eye for the layering of items and laying out of items and on and on. I am jealous. Really.

As you can see, I did not quite get that the point was to saturate your set with things, not just make a really simple outfit.

[Wordpress themes are evil when it comes to pasting code, because they assume that if you’re using them, you know nothing about HTML (lies!) and so they keep messing up Polyvore’s code because it’s not allowed or something. So click here to see.]

Those two things at the end, the first sets I made there four years ago (that’s embarrassingly not long enough ago), are hella simple and dull and do not use any cool backgrounds or texture or perfumes for effect or anything. I didn’t know you could, and I didn’t know you would want to, because I’ve always been someone who likes outfits, not just clothes, but I’ve never been someone who remembers that an outfit can also be your headband, purse, and bracelet. I get that now, but I’m prone to forgetting that or to running out of time. Really it’s only in the last few months that mascara application has moved from my brain’s RAM to my brain’s ROM, and I now actually remember to put it on before I go to work or class (can you tell I’m taking a technology course this semester?), so it’s a lot to expect right away.

I’d like to get at least kind of into it, though, for a few reasons:

  • It’s fun, if nervewracking when you’re a bit of a stylephobe.
  • I was reading someone’s blog a couple months ago and she mentioned that as a writer, Polyvore is useful for creating mood boards and idea boards and looks for characters, to keep their style, bedroom, whatever, in your head. That is a great idea.
  • I got this idea to make “sets” based on book characters, and Polyvore even has groups, and I joined one about books and started with a set based on Alanna from Tamora Pierce’s Tortall universe.
  • It’s pretty to look at.

There was a time when I was really into actual collage-ing (thanks, Annie, for sitting next to me on the bus on the way to camp and inspiring me), but I can’t say any of mine were particularly amazing. Not that art can easily be explained, but I think at this point I can understand how and why it is that I’m a writer, so I’m curious if people who are good at collage, virtual or physical, have an idea of what it is in them that makes them so good at seeing what I’m not seeing in order to make what I can only make poorly.


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