My style is changing yet again. I am so stoked about this new one; I can feel it emerging, slowly taking over my closet as it has so many times in the past, like a temporary exhibition of the series, “Phases of the Marly.”
So many style phases since I was old enough to have my own! The noteworthy phases are below, in mostly chronological order, from age 17 to now:
The Goth Poet, noise-rock, poetry-inspired, all black and platformed, red lipped, page-boy, short banged phase (9-10th grade).
The Pixies, gender-bending, punk-rock-fueled, little boys t-shirt and mens pants, pleated mini skirt, knee high socks and high top Converse All-Stars phase (11th grade).
The Fifties Housewife, “I work at a thrift store and can still tolerate polyester,” one-of-a-kind 50’s dresses, bad floral, huge broaches and gaudy vintage jewelry, neck scarves and carpet bags (12th grade).
Transitioning from high school to college, there was a weird phase my freshman year that was entirely live jazz- and poetry-inspired. I was doing a lot of spoken word, listening to Kate Bush, making bad art films, and dating violinists and self-proclaimed prophets. I was wearing berets, opaque colored tights and my hair was purple on the edges. Let’s call that one the Beat Phase.
Somehow (!) from this “beat” I transitioned into the Cowgirl Phase— all cowboy boots, snap shirts, riding pants, felt brimmed hats and an impressive collection of huge belt buckles. [This phase, unfortunately, took shape before I moved to Texas, though it’s yet to want to be resurrected.]
The cowgirl phase overlapped so seamlessly with the subsequent Prairie Girl Phase, I am not sure when one started and the other began. That one featured oversized skirts and lacy blouses, crochet, lace-up boots. At the time, I was completely covered in earth tones, drinking a lot of lavender tea and writing about windmills.
Then there was the Lost Years Phase. For three mostly-forgotten years from ages 22-24, I wore over-sized gauze or linen pants and tops– looking like an overweight, vegan-hippy, docent, telling long winded stories about unknown artists, at an art gallery in Santa Fe in my Bakelite and wedge clogs.
Thank God ad school happened and Play by Marly became a thing, because it snapped me back to my 20’s. Along with it came the emergence of the blonde coif and tasteful-mullet. It was an 80’s throw-back look, replete with acid wash, animal prints and my first experiments with color– namely, fuchsia and neons– paired with the now-statement earrings. Let’s call this the Designer-Emergent Phase.
The Miami Phase. Need I say more? The best part about the Miami phase– beyond truly establishing color in my wardrobe– was the discovery of my feet and that they could truly wear SHOES, I have never been the same since.
Miami overlapped into Texas, meaning I paid no attention to seasonally-appropriate dress and continued to wear the colors of the ocean. But I did take on a few more designer pieces, honing my taste to the Corporate Artist Ad Exec Phase that has suited me quite nicely for the last two years.
Now onto the next and this new phase, which is going to be so much fun! An evolution of Miami/Texas meets a Vanity Fair editorial in the Museum District.
I just tossed all my colored skinny jeans, my flat wedges, my sheer flouncy blouses and dresses. I tossed them in favor of ultra-tailored pants, tweed, pumps, the perfect-fit blazer, non-iron shirts, finished with the statement piece– that art jewelry piece that takes the pressed-creases into the surrealist collection of the museum of the Marly- let’s call it for now the Creased Artist Phase
I guess my point in chronicling this almost twenty year adventure in fashion is to describe the idea of change as expressed through dress. I have changed my look so many times because of the influences in my life– when I was listening to this or that music, dating this or that man, reading this or that book, working, educating, making, writing, mourning, traveling. It has all influenced my life, not only through a decided change in me as a person, but as expressed outwardly through the aesthetic choices I make with regards to my wardrobe.
As I change hard and fast, my feelings about myself are expressed daily in the clothes I wear. Literally on my sleeve– or, I can’t tell you how many times colleagues at work have taken one look at me on a heartbroken day and asked, “Marly, what’s up? Are you okay? Do you need to talk?”
I remember reading this article in Cosmo when I was 17. It was about what your lipstick shape says about your personality. Yes, it’s a seriously silly thing to stick with you for 15 years but for some reason it has. Maybe because, at the time, my one tube of lipstick was flat. You see, the article argued that that flat lipstick indicated its owner was boring and unfashionable. I remember wanting my lipstick to have a sexy and compelling lip arch (see this article for visual reference, #5), because the personality it described was so much more like what I thought myself to be like.
When I was a young woman, catching myself staring at the older women I wanted to feel like one day, inspecting their flawless seams and admiring their fearless art pieces (like walking paintings) thinking that, if I could dress like them, I would feel like them. Actually, little Marly, it’s just the opposite: once you feel like it, you accidentally become it. That’s what this next phase summons in me.
I have six tubes of lipstick in my purse today, all six have the sophisticated, taste-indicative arch I’d always wanted. I realized this yesterday. Suddenly and without trying, the slow, applied curve of becoming who you envisioned yourself to be just happens one day.
The Outfit: All pieces, seriously vintage- Notable: The skirt is a 1960’s standard issue Girl Scout skirt, the jacket is thrifted from Bisbee, AZ.
The Shoes: Kate Spade
The Charm Bracelet: Handmade and collected for the past 10 years, made from vintage Cracker Jack charms: find some here
The Bangles: The treasured Bakelite collection from the lost years: find some here