Dear Cath…

So I realized that now we are busier and feel further apart because of our busy-ness it might be a good idea to turn AsianCajuns full-on epistolary. What do you think? (And, readers, as always feel free to chime in with comments and questions — we aren’t excluding you, we’ll just be including you in more of our to-ing and fro-ing).

Skype is wonderful and limiting, isn’t it? I get to see your lovely face and catch up for an hour but I forget to tell you stuff — lots of stuff. And it’s just an hour. That’s not enough and sometimes makes me feel more depressed because I realise that’s all we get all week.

It’s not like the stuff I forget to tell you is that exciting, but little thoughts that I need you to hear. For instance, I now like the 1960s.

That was never a era for us: bouffant hair and stiff fabrics, but here’s why it’s growing on me.

When you get past the fashion-y bits of the 60s (loud prints and too much hairspray), you realise that it was a time when old and new still mingled because they had to. Maybe that happened more in Europe than America which is why we didn’t see it before. In the 60s people wanted the new but they also still had small wardrobes and would wear the same coat all winter and the same shoes. And one good purse.

Everyone looks to the French closet as inspiration for a minimal and chic approach to dressing, but I think the 60s had it right too.

I’m basing my new-found love of the 60s on three things:

• Michael Caine in his Harry Palmer movies (The Ipcress File, Funeral in Berlin and Billion Dollar Brain)

• Audrey Hepburn in Charade

• Inspector Morse as a youth (Youths!) in Endeavor

Harry-Palmer

Audrey-charade

Endeavor-morse
photo credit 123

There’s an economy in all their looks.

Sure Audrey has roughly six different coats in Charade, but somehow the style is streamlined enough that it fits this side of the 60s that I like. And Palmer/Caine and Inspector Morse fight crime in the same slim-cut suits, khaki mackintoshes and just-enough-shine dress shoes. Everyone looks great because they look like themselves.

Apart from the unethical and anti-environmental sides to fast fashion, I feel like places like Zara, and H&M and Topshop and even more expensive designers have created a really homogeneous culture. All fashionistas look alike — beautiful and bright (young things even when they aren’t) but somehow it’s not nearly as good as Michael Caine peering through his think-framed specs and Morse with his bottom blazer button unbuttoned and hands shoved in his pocket. Even though these two men have the same uniform, their clothes look unique to them. More unique than if I bought a blouse from Top Shop and you from Target. The clothes never wear them.

Maybe it’s a uniform? That would have sounded so boring and restrictive to me in my 20s, but really appeals to me right now. My closet is so teeny here it’s forced me to be minimal — and I like it. And because I seem to especially be hung up on coats-as-your-you-ness, here is proof that I only wear one all winter (and as you know winter is nearly a year-round thing here):

Scotland-sunny

Dull Scotland

AsianCajuns-Wallingford-Seattle Uwajimaya AsianCajuns-cath-lar

Chattanooga pedestrian bridge

(oh wait, that last one is you — you, so cute!)

Even 15 years ago wearing the same coat all winter would have been expected, but thanks to Zara et al we can now get beautiful coats that suit our every fashion whim. Or we can afford to have coats for when it’s wet-cold versus dry-cold versus cold-cold. And being someone who lives in a place where it sometimes requires all three in one day, I understand the luxury of REI-like purchases. But for me (not one who spends most of my days trekking the slopes of the Highlands) one coat should — and does — do.

Who knows, maybe I’ll run after Russian spies and overly-cultured Oxbridge criminals in my red toggle coat in the months to come.

Want to go uniform-refining with me?

Love,

Lar


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10 Responses to “Dear Cath…”

  1. Lisa Says:

    I love the idea of a uniform too, but because I have a bit more closet space, like variation, and am lazy about laundry, “uniform” has translated into “having multiples of a certain garment or silhouette that works for me.”

    [Reply]

    AsianCajuns Reply:

    Haha! I was the same way, Lisa, and I’m sure I’m be the same way now but for the weeny wardrobe.
    xoxo, Lar

    [Reply]

  2. Bunkie Says:

    Great post. Good points & I so agree. Odd that having fewer clothes, more uniform-ish, results in more personality. The paradox of too much trend breeding too little style.

    [Reply]

    AsianCajuns Reply:

    It’s true, Bunkie! I didn’t think that was possible, but somehow with more choice everything becomes homogenous and underwhelming. Herald the uniform(ish)!
    xoxoxox, Lar

    [Reply]

  3. estherjulee Says:

    i like the simplicity! :) i think all i really need is one good purse anyways!

    [Reply]

    AsianCajuns Reply:

    Hi Esther! Yes, me too! I love a bit of sparkle and pizazz but it’s nice to have one good version of each thing and build (just wee bits) on top of that.
    xoxoxo, Lar

    [Reply]

  4. AsianCajuns (Cath) Says:

    Yes to a uniform! That is so appealing to me now too. I’m bored by fast fashion.

    And yes to “letter” writing on this blog! I’ll take a crack at it for the next post.

    A few things in response to your post:

    Where the hell did you learn a big word like “epistolary”?! I had to look it up even though I understood the meaning from the context.

    You’ve got me totally hooked on Endeavor! I wish I could wear skinny suits with skinny ties and custom made shoes to work.

    I’ve always loved Charade. Is it streaming on Netflix? I need to watch it again. The Grand Budapest Hotel also makes me like the 60s – even though part of it really takes place in the 70s. It still has that simple, straight-line aesthetic in the current-day scenes.

    You do realize you actual wrote the words, “I understand the luxury of REI-like purchases.” Hahaha. I never thought I’d see the day. But I also get it! It’s not quite Normcore, but it’s getting there :)

    Love and miss you, as always. I’ll write you a letter/post soon!

    xoxo, Cath

    [Reply]

    AsianCajuns Lar Reply:

    I just know epistolary because I like them kinds of books ;D

    And it’s so funny! I was going to mention Grand Budapest but then couldn’t remember if it was a bit more 70s, but YES it has that sort of minimal, purposeful quality to it I love! It’s like we are twinsies or something.

    Did I say “luxury” and “REI”? Egads! But they are quite pricey aren’t they? And maybe they seem even pricier to me because I never realllly want to spend that kind of money on less-then-smart-looking clothes.

    What is Normcore? Gonna google.

    Can’t wait for your letter post!!!

    (Not letter through the post ha!)

    xoxoxo, Lar

    [Reply]

  5. Mia Says:

    I love these images and I love your perspective, which is so refreshing compared to what I usually see on style blogs!

    I think I was also more of a minimalist when I lived in a cold climate, since being warm was the #1 priority. Now that I live in LA, it’s so tempting to keep shopping because we have the ideal weather for showing off cute clothes without a layer on top.

    But I do think minimalism is healthier, and the more I figure out my style, slowly the easier it becomes to get by with less.

    Your cute red coat also reminds me of a girl whose style I really admired in college. She wore the same yellow cardigan over and over, but it seemed so perfect for all the things she wore it with and it also seemed so “her.”

    Thanks for all the food for thought :)

    [Reply]

    AsianCajuns Lar Reply:

    Hi Mia!

    Thank you so much for your kind words!

    And I so feel the same way about the cold. It has certainly made me minimal because staying warm is key and suddenly accessories and flimsy/frilly things seem superfluous. If/When we do move to a warmer climate, I’ll have to see if I stick to my minimalism.

    I do love when someone can take an item of clothing and make it very much their own — and I do think a big part of that is wearing it a lot! That sounds self-evident, but I really didn’t rewear a lot of stuff when I had a bigger closet.

    Can’t wait to check out your blog!

    Lar

    [Reply]

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