Someone called me a fashion plate last week.
Of course, I’ve also been called a trophy wife, which is even farther from the truth.
An actual “fashion plate” was the illustration placed in catalogs, newspapers or magazines, from the days when pictures were carved into metal plates and the image transferred with ink to paper. These then were the ads for clothing — the example of how something could look.
It’s easiest, when you first start trying to dress nicely, or more stylishly, to simply copy the images. Look at how the pros assemble an outfit and show your sincere admiration by imitating away. This can be daunting, however, unless you have an unlimited budget. That’s when you have to get creative. Not necessarily Molly Ringwald, I-can-sew-a-gorgeous-prom-dress-out-of-this-cheap-nasty-one-and-that-vintage-one creative, but being willing to play with clothes.
It’s really about being willing to try stuff out, being willing to take a risk. Combine separates and accessories in way that comes from your own head and not from a picture. And the thing about taking risks is that sometimes other people won’t approve. Much like being perceived as a trophy wife.
It was an older woman who called me that — in her late 50s/early 60s and frumpy with it. I mentioned that David is older than I am (by seven years) and that my stepchildren are now grown and I skipped the having babies part (but I helped raise them since they were five and seven years old). She looked at me — and I was dressed up for the conference, with my eye-catching dress and black wide-brimmed hat — and declared: “You are a trophy wife!”
Arm candy. Oh yeah.
The thing is, people are going to apply their labels regardless. For all that, maybe “fashion plate” is a decent one to get.