Drawn from popular culture.
Celebrating mundane, everyday things.
Pop Art, that is, lauding commonplace objects and people, seeking to elevate these seemingly nondescript things to the level of fine art. Personally, I wouldn’t put “pop” and “fine” within the same sentence should it pertain to the various categories of art but I’d be the last person to deny how strong an impact the pop art movement has had on fashion and style.
A G R E E D ?
Campbell’s Soup Cans.
Disney’s mighty Mickey Mouse.
MISS NORMA JEAN BAKER
All these, be they hand-painted or screen-printed, are universally recognisable as juggernauts of the pop art culture. And what’s particularly interesting to note is that whilst abstract expressionists favoured visually depicting their tormented souls upon canvas, pop artists searched for traces of that very same trauma in the commercial world of advertising, cartoons, and popular imagery at large.
To be perfectly honest, I found this challenge quite, well, challenging (gah, Sam, I tossed and turned for quite a few nights, that I did).
Aside from the odd graphic tee (hello Mickey), I’m not much for adorning my person with enthusiastic bursts of billboard colour. Hair aside, I mean. My style vocabulary rarely, if ever, includes neon or identifiable prints let alone illustrations remotely falling within the stereotype of “coolly ambivalent“.
I JUST DON'T SWING THAT WAY
When it comes to colour, I like my solids. Mostly jewel tones. Or blacks (that’s still a colour for many of us). A few prints of the classic sort such as plaid or animal or stripes or dots, with a handful of florals thrown in but still in those rich colours or ebony. I literally scrolled through my entire Instagram feed and couldn’t find a single outfit or accessory that was remotely pop art. I did find a wall that was perfect for this month’s theme but that was about it.
I was this close to stepping away from the challenge.
And I realised I was really overthinking things. Getting my knickers all twisted and for naught. I told myself to stop it. I did. I said, “Sheela, get a grip. It’s just clothes“. After saying that about twenty times, it (finally) sunk in. Educators were right. Repetition does indeed work.
I decided that even if I didn’t individual items that were emblazoned with pop art typography, or garments of the right pop art colour story, I could still make it work (I love you, Timmy).
I remembered owning a Mickey Mouse tee shirt in acid wash colours with a neon green/grey striped back (completely forgot to take pictures of that, so smart). That began the process of my outfit. Next, the hoodie with its print of candy in pink and yellow. Followed by really cool booties. Seriously, look at the print on those things. Then came the dilemma of what to pair all that with. My first instinct? Fluorescent yellow skinny jeans but they were much too obvious for me.
Hesitantly, I reached for that mini skirt. I knew it was perfect. The print was OH SO pop art. Graffiti at its level best thanks to illustrations of robots and monkeys and hearts, with abstract words penciled in, a perfect ode to the commercial art world from whence many pop art artists hail. But, you see, this is the first time in 18 years that I’ve worn a short skirt. It’s hard for me to ignore the one thousand and one scars on my right shin from all those injections I’ve had to have. Or the scars on my knees for surgery.
I WENT FOR IT, ANYWAY
Yes, I suppose you could say that this outfit is
a little liberating for me. I think I’m finally alright with going from a Size 2 to a Size 14, and now to a Size 4. I’m working on accepting how things have changed, how certain bits aren’t quite what they used to be, and allowing myself to celebrate the body I now have. Scars and atrophy et al. Learning to love muscles I never thought I’d have (or even wanted to have at first), and embracing a different physique brought about by exercising. I’ll never be what I was three years ago but you know, I’m ok with that.
Sam, thank you xoxo
PRESENTING THE FAB 40S IN
Ann, Kremb de la Kremb
Bold and wacky and F-U-N!! Yes, uppercases fully justified when it comes to Ann’s look and I must confess, I was surprised that she too faced some difficulties with the theme. In my mind, I thought she’d have it the easiest, to be honest. Ann has always dazzled with bright colours and heapings of playfulness with loads of quirk and fun, you see. I think she completely aced it here. Especially with those kicks.
Diane, Fashion On The Fourth Floor
Diane’s outfit is, by far, the most wearable for me. It’s something I’d slip over my head and head out with nary a second thought. Yes, even the sneakers. I really appreciate the subtle nuances here, the delicate nods to pop art, and how she made it very fresh with the hashtag symbols. Well done, my friend.
Jennie, A Pocketful Of Polka Dots
THIS TAKES THE ABSOLUTE POP ART CAKE. I heart everything here, Jennie. When I saw your photo, this ginormous smile involuntarily spread across my face (I blame you for any resulting wrinkles), and I felt so happy. There’s something so magical about your outfit. It’s enchanting and whimsical and completely endearing. I now feel the urge to purchase hot pink mesh tights. The desire is so great, it equates the need to inhale and breathe.
Mary, Curly Byrdie Chirps
Babe, you make pop art look SEXY as hell. This is an outfit I’d wear, very happily and frequently. Whether with the individual components on their own or collectively as you’ve shown here. Love the duster cardigan (such a fabulous piece) and the gingham dress and that adorable cube bag!! Absolutely gorgeous, Mary.
Sam, Fake Fabulous
What can I say, Sam? You look amazing. Dapper and feminine all at the one same time. You’re the sort of person I’d see at a party and would work up the courage to say hello to, just so I could ask where you got your clothes from. Every tiny element in this outfit is so carefully and strategically put to aesthetic use. I love it.
And now, do join me in welcoming Lisa of The Sequinist, our guest blogger for February.
I’ve loved Lisa for the longest time, both for her taste in clothes (which mirrors mine in terms of more is more) as well as her writing (so thoughtful), and had the pleasure of working with her myself last August. So when Sam announced who our guest was for February, I worked myself up to a tizzy, ecstatically looking forward to what she’d wear, and Lisa did not disappoint.
If anyone could make Pop Art look glam, it’d be Lisa.
Candy Hoodie (Harajuku Lovers) | Mickey Tee (Disney) | Skirt (Alice & Olivia) | Graffiti Art Boots (AmiClubWear) | Rainbow Bracelets (WhatWouldVWear) | Sunnies & Red Glass Ring (borrowed from Eve) | Lipstick (Rose)
And then, there’s me.
Don’t forget to join my link-up here!!!
Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps.
p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa
I link up here.