To any of the long-time readers of this little blog/confessional/style diary that I have here (and all of my friends), you will know what has been the driving force behind my dreams in fashion for the past five years of my life. A scarf.
Yes, it is a scarf of all things that has been the driving force behind all of my photo shoots, runways, styling, and stressful nights. But it is not just any scarf. It’s an Alexander McQueen skull scarf. McQueen, as I have discussed previously on this blog, was what showed me that fashion and style was something more than just getting dressed in the morning. That is is an outward projection of the inward being we are and are sometimes cautious to reveal. That fashion and what we wear project not only our socio-economic levels, but our dreams, insecurities, fears, and hopes for ourselves– whom we really want to be or who we see ourselves as. Fashion is more of a mixture of psychology and art than it is just clothes.
After five years of watching countless amounts of his runway videos, cutting out editorials from Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar that are featuring his latest collection, and convincing my economics class to invest in his stock for our project, I finally decided I was going to purchase an Alexander McQueen scarf before the end of the summer. I picked up a second job to work evenings and early mornings– basically the only times I wasn’t interning– and started to budget every cent I had and what I would be earning in order to purchase this scarf.
To be honest, I could have purchased the scarf sooner than now. I have worked jobs where I could have bought two of his scarves in a month and still would have enough left over for some food. But it was something that I just never thought about pursuing. It was like the green light in the Great Gatsby– it was beautiful from afar but I worried it wouldn’t be as grand once it was in my hands.
But despite all of these concerns and with the positive support from my boyfriend, I decided I was going to save up every cent and buy that scarf for my semester in London (starting in late August). I subscribed to all the discount websites– that I can trust of course– and just prayed for a sale on one of those $300 scarves I had wanted since my sophomore year of high school. I worked late evenings, early mornings, multiple shifts on my “day off” (when I wasn’t at my internship), and as many weekends as I could. I would be the first to respond to the emails about an available shift and I would change any plans so I could just buy this damn scarf with my own money.
And then an email came. It came from Shop To Me and I briefly looked at my phone before going back to work. And then, like a ton of bricks, I realized in the subject line it said that wonderful name: “Alexander McQueen”. I immediately logged onto the site and saw that there was in fact a sale on McQueen scarves and that I was in reach of my dream. After looking through the five that were on sale, I finally decided on a bright orange one with gray skulls, blue and pink hummingbirds, dragonflies, and flowers scattered throughout and little flowers writing out his name in the center. I then placed an order and still didn’t believe I had done it when I got the confirmation of my order in an email. My brain just wouldn’t compute. It didn’t seem real that this item I wanted to bad for so long was going to be in my mailbox in less than a week.
I hadn’t slept the night before it came. I was up all night texting my boyfriend telling him how concerned I was– what if it didn’t feel right, the color was a bad pick, or if it wasn’t unique enough in my wardrobe? All of these thoughts and concerns raced through my brain throughout the night and I just worried about both my money and this scarf together. When I finally was able to pick up the package that afternoon I simply stared at the unopened box for a while, not quite sure what to do. I was worried it wouldn’t live up to my expectations and would be a disappointment. When I got back to my apartment I decided to open it. It was wrapped in this cheap clear bag, like how I get underwear from Forever 21, and I was disappointed it wasn’t in something more elegant. That this man and his vision could just be thrown into some cheap-ass plastic bag and then into a box.
I carefully removed the scarf from the bag and box and looked at it. I was confused with the style, length and whether I could really wear it. I felt like the green light wasn’t as cool as I was expecting it to be. I stared at it a while in my room, pondering whether it really was worth it. Was an entire month of late night shifts and no sleep worth this scarf? Was it really?
I decided to just try wearing it in as many ways as I could. I was going to make this work and not give up on this scarf nor him. He had gotten me through so much before, he could help me now too. Maybe it was just time, or finding the right ways to wear it, or just me realizing money isn’t everything, but I grew into loving the scarf. I haven’t worn any of my other ones since and look forward to wearing it in London. Perhaps it wasn’t love at first sight, but I am proud of myself for finally doing it.
What do you think? Do you have a favorite designer? Or just something you have worked very hard for and it didn’t initially live up to expectations?