Personal Outfit

Is ‘practicality’ a dirty word in fashion?

Is ‘practicality’ a dirty word in fashion?

This editorial features:
Uniqlo Blockteck Parker & Coat

The throng of people fanning out into the decommissioned rail tracks of Carriageworks indicated yet another runway show at Australian fashion week had ended, and that, the show for photographers waiting outside was just beginning. But despite the confetti throw of outfits that had been meticulously styled, perhaps months in advance, all lenses pivoted instantly as a plainly dressed model traversed the crowd, her elaborate hair and makeup from the previous show completely out of place in the context of her no-brand bomber jacket and canvas sneakers.

Is our obsession with the style of models-off-duty, the more unremarkably dressed they are, simply due to the fact that anything looks good when you have ‘legs like those’, or is it that this just-woke-up-like-this look represents precisely our collective instincts about what style should be? Practical.

I myself had never wanted to buy myself a daggy old fleece duffle coat so badly, until I saw one on a model I shot at a casting. I had asked her to remove it for the shot, but she was reluctant – she loved this coat she has had for years and thought she looked great in it. When you are the embodiment of our modern beauty ideals, and could wear anything you wanted, perhaps you too would choose to wear something that simply keeps you warm.

There has been a trend towards practicality in fashion that, depending on its many manifestations, may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Always controversial, we’ve seen the evolution of the full body swimsuit to the string bikini; the movement away from toe-binding stilettos to the comfortable-ugly shoe.

But which ever team you’re batting for, when given the option of t shirt and jeans or the corset, I have no doubt which you would choose. The former, is the answer I’m hoping to hear, though, the latter has its occasions also. In hindsight, Soviet constructivism early last century, so vehemently rejected by the west as a communist concept, may have had a point. Or, at the very least, our modern tastes seem to have become aligned with this once anti-fashion sentiment that values function over style.

The common view seems to be that, somehow, ‘practicality’ is a dirty word in fashion; that anything created purely to protect one from the elements, cannot be considered within the ambit of ‘style’. However, I am, for one, glad to be given cause to appreciate a utilitarian expression of fashion and design, whether it is on-trend or otherwise. Something of pure practical purpose cannot help but be aesthetically pleasing in its unique way. For example, an engineered coat that, with its light weight and water repelling qualities, gives rise to new possibilities of an gravity defying silhouette and a curious matte-glossy surface, so different from ‘clothing’ as we know it that it enters the ambit of ‘futuristic’.

Created in collaboration with Uniqlo. Shop the Blocktech collection here.

Location: Sydney, Australia | Photography: Bloggers Boyfriend

Incredibly important minimal style tips to your inbox? Join my mailing list or follow me on Blog Lovin’

You Might Also Like

  • Shloka
    18 May 2017 at 9:11 pm

    I totally see where you coming from where some people believe practically is a dirty word in fashion but what I find intersting is that we forget fashion is all about self expression. Fashion can be whatever you choose it to be and if you belive practicallity is it, then why not right? I love Uniqlo just for that, their basics are practical but I can make them work for my self expression of style. Just like your beautiful coat 🙂


  • Ewa Macherowska
    19 May 2017 at 1:56 am

    You look great! Love this post.

  • Natalie Ann Redman
    22 May 2017 at 2:26 am

    I can see where you are coming from for sure. Ive always seen fashion as a way of expressing yourself and I think what’s practicle has a different meaning for everyone.

  • Ileana
    1 June 2017 at 3:49 am

    What a great photoshoot! And that jacket is so perfect!


    Novelstyle Blog

  • Sam
    1 June 2017 at 9:05 am

    This is such a good read! There’s lots of factors that come into play that do make practicality a dirty word for some people in the fashion industry. Take for example, something basic, “ordinary”, which most times, also equate to something practical will be easier to make, be more available from more sources, and be harder to mark up in price. This, in my opinion, is why many a fashion label, turn their noses up on the practical, and instead, try to get us to go for the louder, more embellished (also more expensive) versions.

    For the consumer though, practical shouldn’t equate to “dirty”. I for one, am always so impressed at those that are able to pull off “basic” and minimal style. I guess I am just attracted to how clean and effortless they look.

  • %d bloggers like this:
    Read previous post:
    Who are you when you travel?

    The paramount question to ask before you set off: Who are you when you travel? In this editorial: Shirt, Lace...