So it’s no secret that I have a girl crush on William Gibson’s Cayce Pollard. I love her personal style, but in truth I am not disciplined enough to pull it off completely. I do have plenty of minimalist and black pieces, but I like loud patterns and sparkly things too much to dress exactly like her. If I were to define the Koko Milgrim Units (KMUs), it would be a mix of minimal neutrals and really over the top glitter, colors and prints. In his non-fiction work, William Gibson talks about creating a “personal micro-culture.” So in this case your Blog Reader Units (BRU’s) are your micro-culture. Even if you don’t have delusions of becoming a fashion icon, identifying your BRUs can be an amazingly useful exercise in focusing your clothing storage, shopping and packing on the items you really love. To find your own BRUs, ask yourself the following: “If my home were on fire and I were only able to save 10 fashion items, what would I pick?” I also call this the “fire list.” The items on your fire list are your brand-new BRUs. Here are mine:
1. Faux Leopard Print Coat- Purchased at vintage shop in Auckland, NZ in the early aughts. I really believe that leopard print is a neutral.
2. Jeans- Ashinaga Jeans, late aughts, purchased at a department store in Tokyo. The label says “Sweet Camel.” Not sure what that means, hope it doesn’t involve toes in any way.
3. Grey Tunic- American Apparel, early aughts. I think it’s the only thing I own from them. The brand is a little young and softcore porn-y for my tastes, but this top is a great day-into-evening piece. By that I mean you can wear it during the day and then sleep in it when you don’t feel like changing into PJs.
4. Military Jacket- Late aughts, random Japanese brand, purchased at a consignment shop in Gakugeidaigaku, my old ‘hood in Tokyo.
5. Knee High Boots- Costume National, mid-aughts. Scored them at end-of-season sale at Bergdorf’s, back in the day when I could actually afford Bergdorf’s.
6. Glitter Skull Sweatshirt- From Japanese street stall, late aughts. I think it cost about USD$10. I love Engrish.
7. Pencil Skirt (i.e., the colorless void)- Alberta Feretti, late aughts. Like #5, another one of those things I could never afford to replace.
8. Bronze Glitter Shoes- From Japanese select shop United Arrows, late aughts. They also came in blue and silver and I was almost going to buy them but didn’t. Major regret.
9. Red Chenille Clutch- Vintage, mid-aughts. I think I got this when I was visiting my family in the Midwest. I always prefer Middle American thrift stores to the ones here in NYC because they are cheaper and less picked over by hipsters.
10. Grey Studded Handbag- Another late aughts Tokyo purchase. It had a shoulder strap but I broke it by loading it with too much stuff. Oops!
Now, how can you use this new knowledge to your advantage? First, when you are trying to clean your closet, only keep your BRUs, things that might be contenders to be BRUs (like your 11th favorite fashion item) and things that pair well with one or more of your BRUs in an outfit. When you shop, follow the same rules: don’t buy anything unless it has the potential to kick one of your BRUs out of the top ten, or complements your BRUs by providing the missing element in an outfit or giving them a seasonal update. For example, my recent pointy shoe purchases didn’t make into the KMU list, but either pair would look great with my KMU skirt and jeans. When you are packing for a trip, think of your BRUs and take along the ones that are seasonally appropriate, that way you can get away with taking less stuff.
While I am at it, I wanted to give a shout out to two blogs that didn’t make my last top ten list but are still in my blogroll. I love the UK blogger Thinking is the New Black, but there were just not enough shiny pictures of outfits for it to make my fashion blog shortlist. She does, however, have great suggestions for “vegan taxidermy,” a cultural theory reading list, and some great posts about American Apparel (KMU #3) and the “visual discourse of soft pornography.”
I also really liked the blog of Modern Archives, but it wasn’t eligible (according to the criteria I never explained) for my list because it’s not a stand-alone fashion blog. Modern Archives is a start-up clothing line out of LA by Mae Ho. They are doing basic, minimal soft knit pieces with an easy California style, but for grown-ups. My pick for the item most likely to rival the KMUs: this asymmetrical grey top. The blog also has the requisite photos of McQueen pieces and small dogs (my favorite things). Speaking of small dogs, my pen name is actually the names of my two dogs put together to sound like the name of a person. I think I may have to post about them soon. What’s a personal micro-culture without mascots, right?