“A DECONSTRUCTED shirt makes you look relevant. You stand out,” says a fashion exec in a story in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal. But embracing this sort-of-new trend (the look first cropped up in the 1980s with designers Martin Margiela and Rei Kawakubo) can also make you look like you put your shirt or jacket on upside down, backwards or inside out. Tops baring one or two shoulders, uneven buttons, elongated cuffs and slashed sleeves, asymmetrical hems on blouses and skirts, pants legs in two different materials or dresses pieced together from different fabrics may work for celebs and street-style stars whose job it is to make a bold statement and be photographed in the process. But for the rest of us?
Consider the examples in the WSJ article, referred to as “accessible decon” fashion: A Simone Rocha dress that’s a patchwork of seven fabrics. Sweetly subversive, as the article asserts, or something that would have been better selected by the costume designer for”Little House on the Prairie?” Sacai’s pleated jersey skirt with organza makes the wearer look as if she has extra girth on one hip, not something most of us would appreciate paying more than $1,000 for. Of the three, fashion darling Monse’s off-the-shoulder corset top (a button-up-turned-bustier) is arguably the most wearable, that is if you don’t get confused about how it buttons. Finally, frequently photographed Dallas boutique owner and former Marie Claire editor Taylor Tomasi Hill is photographed wearing an off-the-shoulder Dior jacket that displays the pink pearl strap of her corset top. Dark navy pants, ladylike red bow pumps and top-handle handbag keep the ensemble from looking messy, says the WSJ article. Uh-huh.
All that aside, if the deconstructed look appeals, proceed slowly with one or two pieces that riff on the trend but don’t swallow it whole. We’ve selected four of our own toned-down examples to guide you.
Janet Kelly is the editor of MyLittleBird. Read more fashion posts here.