I’ve been loving how this idea of “tacky” has surfaced on trend, lately. We’ve all met that one person who either wears the same jersey they’ve had for 15 years (…and it shows), or incorporates her grandmother’s old brooch in her outfits, or wears those large oversized glasses frames from the 70s. If you’re anything like me, you walked away feeling like, “I could never do that, but you know what, it actually really works on them!”
We all have those little quirks or personality traits that make us unique and sometimes a little “tacky” but it’s keeping true to your gut that is more important than accepting the general criticism of the people. My personal style has evolved over the years from a wardrobe that was something one would expect to find at the end of a rainbow, to a preppy tennis player, to a black and grey minimalist approach, and continues to change. In every stage, I learn a little bit more about myself, who I am, and what works for me. Not to say that I’ve now arrived, but as I have changed and grown into the working professional I am today, I just know there are certain colors, styles or products that just work every time, even if it’s something different or old fashioned than what all the cool kids are doing these days! I have a friend who, despite hair and beauty trends, continues to always sport a fabulous bright red lip. Does it go against the norms? Sometimes but it embodies her personal style so well it doesn’t matter how “unconventional” it might seem to others. Here are a few ways that celebrate this idea of “tacky:”
I was recently talking with an industry friend who was raving about this little restaurant in Cambridge. I was immediately like, “you mean I have to cross the Charles River?” “oh honey, this place is totally worth the voyage. Think your grandmothers closet meets vintage cocktails. I love walking in and being greeted by their theatrical staff. The overthetop 1920s style creates the perfect mood.” Marcus Hamblin, Gensler. Owners of the little restaurant Cuchi Cuchi embrace this wonderful idea of tacky. “We wanted to personify the age of Old World Beauty (la belle epoch) and Early Hollywood, the time of luxury, glamour, gaiety, jewels and furs, lipstick on silk collars, dramatic little trysts, tinkling champagne and martini glasses, and we had to do all this without proper candle light, cigarettes or tapestries over the doors (all the things that the Fire Dept. and the Board of Health determined would cause our imminent death).” I can’t wait to check this out some Friday night and embrace my inner “kitsch.”
Remember how polka dots and stripes were once thought as a designer “fauxpas”? maybe some still think of this concept as unsuccessful; however the mixing of similar patterns and textures has been getting some encouragement. I’ve been seeing alot of these rich, large scaled floral patterns making a comeback, which alone is kind of awesome for someone who appreciates floral artists such as J.L. Jensen and collections like Twelve Months of Flowers by Pieter Casteels III.
Tech companies and fashion designers have been tagging into this idea and modernizing theses classic floral prints on products such as sneakers, backpacks, tshirts, ipad sleeves, and Google “tab extensions.” It mixes this classic beauty with a fairly informal or everyday type of product that in my opinion really works together as off color as it may seem.
Growing up at an old farm with lots of antiques in the attic or little things I’d find around the property, I began to bring these things into the house and incorporate them into the monthly “lets rearrange the living room furniture” mood that would drive my mother crazy even if she secretly loved having an in-home decorator at her disposal.
I’ll never forget this old pistol with a bone handle that my brother found in our attic when they first moved into the house. It was under a loose floor board, wrapped in this old handkerchief along with a pair of old spectacles. Fortunately, the gun was so old and tiny that there was no way it could pose as a dangerous weapon, so I created a vignette on the coffee table using the old gun, a fresh little arrangement of wild flowers, a couple old books and a candle. Aside from the initial shock of having a little pistol on the living room coffee table, it always posed as a great conversation piece and gave the room an edgy and interesting piece of history.
Try a little “tacky” on in your own space maybe you the dig out that one tragic white elephant gift you got at your holiday party or it’s that old set of book ends that have a very obvious crack down the center of them; whatever the little item is, try to incorporate it into your decor. It’s not supposed to look perfect, but it will draw just enough attention to get a laugh from or have a nostalgic moment when you walk out the door every morning on your way to work.
This past spring, Marc Jacobs released his Fall2015 collection for NYFW that totally went against all of the minimal hair and makeup trends of this season. Instead Jacobs wanted against all of the minimal hair and makeup trends of this season. Instead Jacobs wanted to “channel a sophisticated, eccentric lady who never leaves the house without looking impeccable.” This seemingly “tacky” approach to a new fashion campaign resonated with my recent interest in this “tackycomeback”. The first person I immediately thought of was, Iris Apfel. I can’t think of anyone else who provides a better example of totally owning a personal style, no matter what people think! As an notable Interior Designer, she and her husband started “Old World Weavers” now Stark carpets, as we know it today. Her eccentric style has made her famous and has formed her career and reputation.
As much as the creative world loves to be on trend, sometimes, by doing the opposite of the trends and celebrating the routine of living has its own visual and social stimulation, even if the opposite actually means doing less. A friend I met in Chicago was describing his daily hair styling routine of product, hair dryer, straightener, hairspray, etc. I was exhausted just listening to the processes and asked for him to show me a picture of himself “au natural.” I was so surprised to see how healthy and shiny his naturally curly hair was. We all like to look our best, but for those of who have that cowlick, unruly curly hair or other “flaw” we keep trying to hide embrace it!
It’s a part of you that is never going away, plus you don’t have to go through all that effort to hide it, so why continue to fight against yourself! As “tacky” as you might think you look, you and your selfworth deserves more credit!
So, in the words of Dr. Seuss, “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is you-er than you.” Stop trying to be someone else, go with your gut instinct, and embrace your innertacky! Who knows, you might learn to like it!