Competition is good | Bleader

Friday, July 24, 2009

Competition is good

Posted By on 07.24.09 at 12:45 PM

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I've been working out in the suburbs recently (you didn't really think it was possible to earn a living as a full-time freelance fashion writer here, did you? Well, I used to, but that's a story for another time) and realizing that some cliches are true. People in the city do have a better sense of style, on average. You need that extra edge of competition, that awareness that a lot of other stylish people are going to see you and yes, probably judge your outfit, to give you that nudge to wear something other than Gap capris and Keds. That's probably why New York is such a runway show (and maybe why everyone is thin). With nine million other people to look at, you'd better rev it up a couple notches.

Competition fosters creativity. And being surrounded by others who make daring fashion choices emboldens the timid. You won't feel insecure about wearing that striking cocktail hat if others around you are also dressed to attract notice. In my work as a personal stylist, I've had moms confide to me that they'd like to dress better—but they don't want to look like they're showing off to the other mothers at the playground.

I know people are going to argue that there are plenty of stylish people in the 'burbs—and I agree. But there just aren't as many of them. There's also the dreaded issue of taste creep. That's where a lack of regular exposure to good design blunts your sense of style. Symptoms include deciding that Chico's "has some decent stuff" and buying art at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Be vigilant, suburban ladies.

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