As much as mistakes are heralded and lauded in each commencement speech from Harvard to Stanford, they seldom feel that way while you are free-falling out of control. Like when you lose your home. Or job. Or mother. Or marriage. Or health. The sensation of spinning is never a welcome sensation. Instead, we flail about trying to latch on to anything to prevent the inevitable broken bones we receive on impact; desperate to cling to every hope, false or otherwise, that eases us down.
But the truth is, as you lay for some time in the dust, you realize, you must rise again. You simply must. And eventually we do. We don our finest and face the disaster head on. Probably not at first, but if we survive the catastrophe, or for some, multiple catastrophes, we simply must stand. Personally, I am buoyed by Vince Lambardi’s words, “It does not matter how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get up.” I guess you could say this has been my motto, and one that keeps me looking up and out, smiling, as I get my feet under me once again.
In The Devil Wears Prada, Miranda Priestly, the fabulous antagonist, rants about style and trends and color in relation to what ‘we’ simple shoppers experience while scanning department store displays. She is not exactly trying to teach her new assistant about the hierarchy of fashion, but in a backhanded way reveals how trends trickle down from the walkway to our sale racks. I never shop without hearing her tirade in my mind!
“This stuff’? Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select… I don’t know… that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent… wasn’t it who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.”
Besides the brilliance of Meryl Streep’s delivery and the careful crafting of Aline Brosh McKenna’s screenplay we are left stunned by the machine of the fashion industry, and from runways to sale bins, you realize how superb but limiting trends are on our shopping. We are dictated to–except–and here is where I am most excited–except if you shop outside of the box.