thinking – to do 2011

Happy new year! And thank you for coming along for the ride.

I have to say what a privilege it is to have so many friends and fellow travellers spend a bit of their time on Final Fashion. The magic of the Google and the serendipity of fashion blogland brings you, but I have no idea what it is that makes some of you stay for longer than a second – whatever it is, I am grateful to you. Wishing you all the best for this year and this decade, you magnificent people.

If you’ve been checking in for more than a year (what, why, how?) you know that I love making resolutions for the New Year. I try to keep them fun, manageable and measurable, and I’ve had a pretty decent track record of keeping them. Without further ado, this year’s to dos:

You know, forget about being alone and lonely. One of the greatest things about Toronto for me was the six or seven year process of finding a group of friends I could truly call my own. Here, I don’t have that much time, so I have to accelerate the process. Here’s my plan:

  • Leave no social stone unturned – no matter how tangential, pull on every social tie. This can definitely lead to some very strange emails. (Hi, you are my former roommate’s mother’s co-worker’s son’s friend, wanna hang out? For real.) Whatever, it’s not like I have anything to lose, and at this point I’ve got so much time on my hands I can get away with it. I’ve already started trying this and people are surprisingly receptive – it leads to socializing with people who you may never have the opportunity to meet any other way. Hey, are you in London or know someone who is? Email me –
  • Completely revise my twitter feed and Google reader. I’m looking for the most fun, smart, entertaining online people who are located in London and in Europe generally. Experience has taught me that awesome blogs & twitter feeds always equal awesome people behind them, and people who are often open-hearted when you make the effort to make a real life connection. Never mind the superstars, I’m all for the niche players, you know, my league. Got any recommendations, who are your favourite, under-rated London & Euro bloggers and tweeters? Leave a comment please!
  • Always err on the side of too outgoing. People in London can be very reserved. If I wait for them to say something to me, I could be waiting forever, and I don’t have the time. I plan to be the first to introduce myself, always volunteer whenever it seems like I can be of service, always speak up to whoever’s around if I think of something the least bit clever. Be brasher, braver, and more pugnacious than everyone else around, even if some of the locals find it disconcerting.

Part of this process will be dealing with some rejection which is a good social skill in and of itself. I think one major advantage I have is that this campaign to find friends is completely without any ulterior motive. I don’t need to get a job or attain any sort of social status or anything, my intentions are only to seek and find those marvellous people that I find affinity with. I find people are so much more open when you don’t demand anything from them besides their presence.

This new continent is full of so much I’ve never seen – I’ve got to see as much as possible while I’m here. I’m starting with Berlin Fashion Week (with Barb!) and I’ve a list of half a dozen more cities I want to see, if not in 2011 then in 2012.

  • Paris, obviously. Its the fashion capital.
  • Berlin. Ticking this one off right now.
  • Istanbul. Exotic.
  • Amsterdam. Party.
  • Glasgow. With Gail, please!
  • ?? any suggestions for number six?

As for working with European clients, that is obviously up to the people here – just putting it out into the ether.

Arriving in London reminded me a bit of my first year of fashion school – it is a sartorial shock to the system. People here know how to dress, and I viscerally feel the peer pressure to step up my game. Having arrived with only two bags, I don’t have much to work with. So this also means that I have to conquer my total inability to shop.

This is typical for me: I go to a store, it has a sale on. I only find one thing that I like, and it is full price. I choke, buy it, take it home. Find something wrong with it. Go through agonizing cognitive dissonance. Return it (walk of shame) for store credit, and then dread the process of using that credit.

I know enough shopping mavens to be able to observe them and appreciate that shopping is not a frivolous thing, it truly is a bonafide skill. I will never be a shopping maven. But I do believe I can achieve a novice level of ability, enough to be able to enjoy it instead of avoiding it.

Have any shopping tips for the shopping-avoidant? I need them! Please leave a comment.

I’ve broken my glasses frames (8 years old now) a few times this past year, enough to know that they are on their final legs (arms?). It’s quite something to try and replace something which is so integral to your image – it really is the most stressful shopping trip I can think of. This is something I need to work up to.

This is something I am very excited for – I have a few ideas I can’t wait to try. It combines my childhood destiny, which seems to be drawing paper dolls, with another of my earliest passions, researching the history of fashion. To lay some specifics down: this will be a monthly release of an intricately rendered PDF paper doll, created as faithfully to fact as possible, and inspired by a selection of what I believe to be the last century’s most under-rated, yet significant, designers.

20 thoughts on “thinking – to do 2011”

  1. Love everything about this post, Danielle. Makes me wish I didn’t already have friends of a friend that were directed to be my friend when I loved to Waterloo 2 years ago (almost). Being brave like that is incredibly admirable!

    Also, can. Not. Wait. To see the new paper dolls!

  2. Hi Danielle – I have a suggestion which maybe covers 2 of your resolutions. Why not make a paper doll of you and dress and style it the way you would the major designers. This would enable you to see how you might look or might want to look. Recreate those looks by hunting in thrift shops, vintage and regular shops. I believe the reason people drift aimlessly in and out of shops returning home empty-handed or with items they later regret is that they have no vision of what they are trying to create. It helps if you think of yourself as a persona and build your style around who you think you’ve become. Other people could help you with this.
    From the time I’ve known you (5 years?) I’ve seen you develop from very talented fashion grad with long hair to progressively shorter stylish – haired intelligent writer with lots to say. You always provide this reader with something to take away and think about. I believe that you have a polished persona that is waiting to emerge. You are too clever and imaginative to be considered girly – I think that’s too vapid a word…
    I’m with you on the glasses frames. I have to do the same this year and seasoned shopping maven though I am, this is going to be a challenge. It’s not the sort of thing you can research online even though there are sites that allow you to look at yourself with frames
    We’ll have to compare experiences on this!

  3. you know, one of my resolutions is to travel more, and its cheaper to get to europe than to the west coast of USA… if you need a traveling pal, contact me! I’d absolutely love to come visit!

  4. so brave!
    I love the strength and curiosity in the friend search, I am sure the whole process will be fruitful and rich!
    I too look forward to the new dolls.

  5. You should go to Firenze, Italia. Just to hang out there, take real coffee, enjoy the food, shop a little and see how gorgeous italian guys are. To shop more you obviously have to go to Milano but don’t stay there for long, this city is very boring (to my opinion).

    For your next set of paper dolls, may i suggest Gianni Versace? So sexy, so feminine!
    I think I have a thing with italian stuff…

    Have a wonderful new year!

  6. Linda – I appreciate the tips so much – though I’m not sure I’m up for being the subject of a paper doll. I need to find a patient shopping-maven buddy in this city who will let me tag along.

    Joi – I’d love to have a travel pal like you!

    Kerry – <3

    Helene - thanks for the reco, I love Italian food, though I wasn't sure where in Italy would be best to go. I love Gianni too, classic 90s! But the subjects of the dolls are a surprise so they'll have to wait... tho there will definitely be a sexy feminine doll =)

  7. I applaud your goal of stepping up your personal fashion game. Kuddos. Here are my own personal shopping suggestions that seem to be most successful for my own personality:

    I have a hard time shopping under pressure or a goal to find something specific. It never results in something I love. Rather, I make a commitment to go into stores frequently. Like once or twice a week. Start finding stores where pieces catch your eye and you can find pieces in your comfort zone cost-wise (sale rack or full price, your call). At this point, I honestly stalk the place like hunting prey. It sounds twisted, but it works. Be committed to browsing the store on a regular basis, taking note of how fast your favourite pieces sell out in your size or move to the discount rack. Start trying things on for curiosity’s sake only. I find that by doing this on a regular basis, I get comfortable with how things fit, what my size is, and have pieces that I see again and again grow on me. Since I have grown to like something over time before I even try it on, it feels like an old friend once I buy it. No more buyer’s remorse and no more pressure. And, depending on the store, you can get some really random deals. This seemed to work best when I was working beside a mall and used window shopping as an opportunity to stretch my legs and clear my head at lunch. It can also work by using the website of a bricks and mortar store, but you don’t get the same impression of the clothes that you would in person (I shop by feel, I can admit it). But sometimes things hang out online a little longer and a little cheaper than they do in store. Always worth a look.

    Good luck with the resolutions.

  8. Your recent posts sound like the thoughts and feelings I went though when I moved to Brighton, UK. Lonely? Yes. But that;s ok, it’s an opportunity that forces one to make new friends. Might I suggest an easy day job, or volunteer job? It’s were I met some of my closest Brighton friends. Maybe Oxfan? They need volunteers (David Downton did an illustration for them).

    As for shopping. Gap. I love UK Gap. Jigsaw? I love them, so stypical of English style. Noa Noa, very pretty, vintage inspired. Something edgy, go to All Saints. And for bargains, TK Maxx. Browse regularly. I thought moving to UK I would never get to shop on budget, TK Maxx is so good for that. Euro labels, Winners price points. Glasses, check in at TK Maxx (not always in stock, but keep checking), I bought Lanvin frames for 20 quid. I got so many compliments when I wore them to work.

    Travel? South of France. I still need to go. Florence is a must.

    Good luck! xx

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