Tuesday, 29 July 2014

I Won't be Offended if You Don't Read This

We're having another of what passes for a heatwave here.  The temperature is around 30 degrees and that is close to ten degrees too hot for me.  I don't like being damp all day and layering my clothing is definitely not comfortable.  I would like to be dressed in nothing but ruffly, lacy gauzy stuff, but it tends to be see through so what's the solution to that?  Layers! OH yeah, can't do that in this heat.  See how quickly I forget?

Long before I learned the term Lagenlook I knew of a clothing company called Magnolia Pearl, the creation of Texas designer Robin Brown.  I'm fascinated by the clothes, and find them beautiful but odd and impractical all at the same time, not to mention expensive.  They look like Victorian underwear at best, and like a collection of rags and hankerchiefs at times.  In photos they are always styled with grubby looking boots and big ratted messy hair.

From the online shop, here you can spend a thousand dollars just to get a top and bottom piece and go out looking either like a peasant or like a lady in her undies. Clothing is deliberately faded, wrinkled, frayed and unraveled.  Colours are pale and soft.


Another clothing company making Lagenlook designs is blue fish clothing.  These styles are usually layered, loose and large, with the dresses pairing well with pants or leggings, and some lovely maxi-dresses that look great on their own.  This company is quite fond of black and purple.  Prices are about half that of Magnolia Pearl, but still beyond my budget.


Bloomers and harem pants are a popular under layering if you don't want to layer two skirts or a dresses.  I'm quite accustomed to wearing leggings or tights but feeling a bit curious about venturing into bloomer territory.  I am NOT going to pay $300 for something I could make though.  These slim cotton pants with ruffles look easy enough if I get ambitious.

You can  make Lagenlook quite big and baggy.


Or you can choose pieces that are more fitted to your shape.  All of these images are from blue fish online shop.



There are lots of designers selling their Lagenlook clothing on Etsy as well.

                                           Shop Here

                                         Shop Here

Sometimes  pieces are shown in simple stylings without much or any apparent layering but the designer refers to them as Lagenlook pieces because they lend themselves to the Lagenlook style.  They tend to be loose, easy, unstructured pieces in neutral colours.

I like neutrals but couldn't have a wardrobe of nothing but because I crave colour too.  I'm quite drawn to the green pantaloons above though an entire ensemble in that green might feel like too much to me.  I love mixing monochromatic colours and I also love analagous colour combinations, colours found side by side on the colour wheel, such as red and purple or blue and green.

If you like bright colours and whimsical patterns, Swedish designer Gudren Sjoden might be your style. Prices are similar to blue fish clothing,  still generally beyond my range unless I am treating myself to something special.  I have to admit I'm drooling on my keyboard.

I love the colours in this tunic, and actually love all three of the colour options.  The Gudrun Sjoden webshop images are not easy to pin onto Pinterest and didn't like being lifted onto my blog so they have shown up in poor quality and while I could get some I couldn't get most of what I wanted to show here. 


The colours, shapes, natural fibres and layering possibilities of Gudrun's clothing make me wish I had the money to buy scads of it.  I can imagine myself dressed in nearly everything I see on the website.  But the moment I had that realisation it lead me to another one.  As great as it all looks, I don't really want to look like a model who has stepped off the pages of a catalog or website.  (Not that I look like a model)  My version of Lagenlook, the layered look, is comprised of a mixture of high and low, thrift shop and retail and nothing terribly expensive.  Lagenlook is a style that designers are happy to offer up in complete packages, coordinating colours and seasonal collections, but I take pleasure in creating my own collection of mixable pieces.  I don't really want to look head to toe Gudrun any more than I'd want to look head to toe Chanel or Jaqueline Smith for KMart.

The internet is full of layering inspiration and a search using the term Lagenlook brings up certain types of clothing pieces created by designers, small scale or large, who have taken the idea of natural fibres, unstructured pieces and layering from  many influences such as antique underwear to Asian and African cultures.  The layers might be somewhat stiff and geometrical or soft, flowing drapes.   They often look like things worn by the humanoid inhabitants of other earth-like planets on an episode of Star Trek The Next Generation.   We all wear layers to some degree and plenty of people are dressed in Lagenlook but don't know it by that name, they just know it as "this is how I dress".

 Lagenlook is about really emphasising the layers, using different lengths, colours and textures.  I would venture to guess that if anyone cared to debate the issue, and I really hope everyone has better things to do, there would be different opinions on what does and does not constitute Lagenlook.  I don't happen to care.  For me, discovering the term, learning how it is variously interpreted and knowing I can take from it what is useful to me and discard the rest  is what I think dressing oneself should be all about.  I enjoy looking at images for inspiration and now that I have a new term in my style vocabulary, I can easily find the sorts of images that appeal to me when I want visual inspiration. 


I won't be defining my Lagenlook by the vision of clothing designers so much as having fun creatively layering the pieces I have and when buying new or new to me items, considering how it will play the layering game.  I don't want to look like I am in a costume, and I don't dress myself to stand out, I dress myself in clothing that makes me feel good and feel like myself.  Discovering the term Lagenlook and finding so many images online has helped me to refocus on what styles make me feel good.  I was amazed at the emotional reaction I had.  If I were not such a reserved sort of person I would have shouted, "Yes that is me!  Those are the clothes I want to wear!"  I shouted that inside my own head.  It has given me some direction when before I felt as though I were drowning in a sea of style options, so many of which were not right for me.  I have always known I had hippe/boho leanings, so Lagenlook feels like it just rounds out the picture for me.  Of course I do like things in threes so maybe I just wanted three words.

I will end this horrendously long post which you have not actually read and only skimmed, by offering up some advice I stumbled upon somewhere online and my apologies to whomever said it first.  I am not certain of the original source so I will paraphrase.

With Lagenlook there is a fine line.  Done right you will look artsy.  Done poorly and you will look like a homeless person.


                                          Source                            

Mary-Kate's look was referred to as 'dumpster dressing'.

28 comments:

  1. Thinking about this, I realise I really don't do layering at all! Well, I will wear a cardigan over a dress when it's cool weather, and sometimes leggings underneath, but that's it. I don't really think of that as layering, it's just two pieces put together when it is too cold for only one (a dress)! Now with this lagenlook business, the words unstructured, loose and neutral are a bit of a death knell for me. The blue fish pieces just seem so huge (too big for the models wearing them) and I am not drawn to all the fussy Steampunk-goes-country detailing on the Magnolia Pearl clothes. I actually own a Gudrun Sjoden jacket, but it's just plain black corduroy - I found it in a charity shop, of course!
    As with all things, we are inspired by and love different things, and that's as it should be. I understand that just as I scratch my head and fail to see the appeal of some of these looks, other people will wonder what the hell I am doing wearing 1970s lurex and Crimplene! Isn't it great that we all love differently?! xxxx

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    1. NO, I'd agree that your look is more streamlined. I think it suits you well and you even pose perfectly for it. Your version of more is more is done with colour, pattern and accessories, and a statement maxi dress. Even your hair is like that, being a sleek style but boldly coloured. It really suits you. I cannot imagine you in Magnolia Pearl stuff at all and I think I'd very kindly have you sectioned if you wore it. ;-)
      xoxoxo

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  2. I read (not skimmed :)) and I feel so excited for you!! I think it is wonderful that you found your own thing, and I really like your approach too. That is true creativity, yes? When it comes from within, not prepacked from the store. Though I adooore Gudrun and will probably buy something some day. I have a few pieces from a brand called Bryn Walker, it is that same style you're talking about. I wear it from time to time, it feels very free and artistic. I am not an expert by any means, but I do have fun with it. Here is one example if you're interested :) - http://inthewriterscloset.blogspot.com/2014/02/shaman.html

    You have intuitively created a few very fun inspired outfits with the layers from your wardrobe just recently. It only gets better and even more fun with time! And I am sure you'll be able to make clothes with your own hands and from your own imagination too. And I am soooo looking forward to see more Shawna's experiments! :)

    With love

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    1. I think that if I allowed myself to buy a Gudrun piece I would have a difficult time choosing. Even with that tunic I showed above I loved all of the colour options. Thanks for the tip about Bryn Walker. I will have a peek!

      The funny thing is, knowing the direction I want to take, makes me want to sew the clothes more than to buy them. Suddenly it is really feeling like a creative process.
      xoxo

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  3. LOVE IT!!! After your last post I went on google and was quite blown away. I just thought I was a sad tart that wore her summer clothes in winter with things on top and under. Who knew I was a lagenlooker!! Thanks Shawna this has been an eye opener and some of the stuff on google is DIVINE!!!!

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    1. I love the way you dress and always admire your pieces and think, why can't I find any of that where I live? You might be a sad tart but you look great! ;-)

      xoxoxo

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  4. haha - dumpster look. yes, there is a fine line. but the fine line between good and bad is everywhere. i struggle sometimes with vintage versus frump and pretty versus saccharine. in the first case it depends mostly on if a can define a figure and in second case it stands or falls with one piece of jewelry or a hair pin. things a slimmer or austere lady could get away with.
    if you had asked me 6 month before in which style you should dress i had shown you a kind of lagenlook. maybe a more glamourous, oriental influenced style because the roux colored things of most lagenlook images causes similar feelings in me like they do in you...... and i think the style needs jewels and embellishments - this will save from dumpster look i think.
    but i´m happy like a fish that you found it by yourself - you should compare a pic of the teacher look with one of a successful lagenlook outfit.
    and at least - of cause you don´t have to by the expensive stuff ready off the rack. with your imagination and creative talent you can assemble the look with "normal" clothes and maybe some simple home sewing.....
    xxxx

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    1. I checked my dumpster and there were no cool clothes in there. Too bad. I get what you mean about the struggle and trying to avoid frump and saccahrine. I have struggled with those too. I think though that they are somewhat subjective and if you like it so what if someone else would find it frumpy or too sweet.

      I remember awhile ago we talked about the layering look I said I liked, which I believe I said looked a bit like a hobo and is often worn by the hippie/back to nature types around here. I think there has been a process that I've had to go through in order to get to where I am happiest.

      Considering I am also partial to velevet, fringe and glass beads, I don't think I will take up adorning myself only in drab cotton shifts. My hippie/boho/gypsy inspired side isn't going away anytime! Bring on the batik prints please!

      I am definitely going to tackle some simple home sewing now that I have a purpose and direction. I have been sorting through my fabrics looking at simple pattern ideas online and trying to decide where I should start first. First up is a petticoat.
      Time to get reacquainted with my sewing machine!
      xoxoxo

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  5. I actually love that Mary-Kate look :D Especially the bell bottoms, I sooo want a pair like that! :(
    And gosh, embarrassed to admit it, but I've never heard of this Lagenlook thing! And damn, why the hell is it so expensive? They look like my granny's nightgowns!

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    1. Well I can sort of see that look on you but I think you would do it better. I love bell bottom jeans too but the ones available lately have all been much too low rise for me.
      Those granny nightgowns are highly overpriced. I can imagine you wearing something like that though, with some black leather and a bit of neon in the mix. ;-)
      xoxo

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  6. I'm sure Mary-Kate's dumpster ensemble took some major coin. I love browsing the Blue Fish web site but I would never spend that kind of dough on clothing. Inspiring though.
    Now, let's see you in some bloomers!

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    1. I am going to make some bloomers! Just wait and see! I am pretty sure I could replicate Mary Kate's look without spending much, but you are right. Her's probably cost a lot.
      xoxoxox

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  7. I often see the Lagenlook done so well amongst artist and designers. I see it often when I attend art exhibits. I love the black dress. Very cool.

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    1. I love that black dress too and I can picture it on you.
      xoxo

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  8. I am interested in Lagenlook. If you've seen the Bill Cunningham documentary, he was softly critical of how designers take homeless people as their style inspiration, if I remember correctly. Some of these slovenly looks are feminine, structured mess, which I think keeps them well away from the garbage can. Others, not so. My mum would have fainted if I tried these looks, although I had other equally faint-worthy styles of my own.

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    1. I was reading somewhere that random layers, as in layers that don't quite make sense, is actually an indicator of mental illness, specifically schizophrenia.

      Yes, there is artistic and playful layering and then there is 'what the hell have you got on?'
      One should not dress to please one's mother, but I have taken a long time to actually be able to live that. I have been too much of a people pleaser my whole life. Now I am pleasing myself.
      I haven't seen the B C documentary, btw but I am going to look for it. Thanks!
      xoxo

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  9. Call me crazy, but I kind of love the Magnolia Pearl clothes. Victorian underwear chic! Then again, I also love the Olson twins style. Ha! The Lagenlook style totally reminds me of you! I can really picture you in many of the above looks.

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    1. You're Crazy! No, just kidding. There is something appealing about it despite it not being terribly wearable. I would be curious to see who buys it and how they wear it. Go on and give it a try! ;-)
      xoxo

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  10. Beatte's spot on, I think a lot of them need embellishment or statement jewellery to give the look a bit more personality, some of those models look like they are drowning in layers of linen.
    I do like that Gudren stuff, I've found a bit of it second hand and sold it on Ebay as its very generously sized and looks awful on a midget like me, its colourful and good quality but, if you're not fortunate enough to find it I bet some Indian clothes would work wonderfully well, salwar kameezs, the drawstring cotton petticoats the ladies wear under their saris.
    I'm excited that you've found a look you like, you do layers really well, its good to have images to draw on and be inspired by. xxx

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    1. I would imagine the designers don't embellish them too much as they want to show them without distraction and let the buyer imagine how she would personalise them. I love Indian clothing, I love block printed cottons and would be very happy wearing salwar kameezes but they aren't available where I live and I"m nervous buying online. I would like to find a pattern for making them but I suppose I could put together something similar.
      xoxo

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  11. Catching up on a couple of posts here. I read right through and enjoyed your writing as always. I have heard this term, but couldn't have told you what it was. So now I know! I have ventured into bloomers territory, or pantaloons (which sounds vaguely piratical) under skirts. It helps with the gender dysphoria at times. I did a post recently with bloomers from France (white linkup), and I cut short some 3/4 pajamas and used the fabric for a circular ruffle. Looks great, but is a little too much sensation on my knees when I walk!
    Pao from Project Minima has done many bloomers/pantaloons very successfully.
    Just get a piece of stretch ribbing and sew it as a waistband on to the ruffle skirt that is too short. Easy lengthening!
    I'm so glad you've had a breakthrough with your style quest! Go you!! XO JJ

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  12. You could totally make those frilled pants! I may have a go, I like the layering but for me it's stuff under my massive skirts but always a streamlined top (for me and my big boobs they need less stuff) I think it all looks fab! the Victorian nighties and over sized garment always look so chic and arty and I'm positive I've seen very similar on Etsy under Plus sized womens wear for very reasonable prices ($20+) finding your sartorial home is a wonderful thing, experimenting and creating is beyond exciting - you always rock the layers (I said 'rock' *.......nods approvingly) x x x

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  13. I love this largenlook Shawna and I might hav a go at making those bloomers with ruffles myself when I can get the energy. xx

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  14. Sorry to hear it's hot and muggy your way! It's been unseasonably cool here for July--which is unusual (generally our hottest month). Sending cool thoughts. T. http://tickledpinkwoman.blogspot.com

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  15. I love to layer, but I don't really connect with these looks. I think because what minimal seaming and shape exists, these pieces don't seem all that flattering. That being said, I do like the idea of something gauzy in crazy heat! I feel damp all the time :(

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  16. Interesting post Shawna. I love this style of clothing however being a bigger girl if not done right I could look obese!!!

    I love the last photo of Mary Kate ... strange how someone with so much money always looks like she could be homeless!!

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  17. when i read the "you have not read but just skimmed" I felt so guilty I went back and read LOL
    I have been a huge fan of the Lagenlook for ages but not sure I am slim enough. I keep getting the "homeless dogs breakfast" look instead... lol.
    How I wish I had the knack for putting the look together as I also shout in my head.. "yes thats me. thats what I want to wear".
    now where do I get lessons on putting the look together without making it look like I have gained 28pounds over night and forgot to do the laundry.

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  18. Thanks for your post on this thing called lagen look. I just discovered the term last month on Pinterest, and a bit of a guide is very helpful. I've 'outgrown' the patterns from my youth, so I ended up buying a few Vogue patterns that I could hopefully make an ensemble from, using linen. It's been over 24 years since I've made clothes for myself, and it's a thrill that there's style for crones, and patterns in my size. I've ordered some gauze, light-weight, and medium weight for some shifts with a slip underneath, and perhaps a pinafore and an asymmetrical tank top. When I'm finished moving at the end of May, I'll get to work.
    I also checked out Bryn Walker, and it was exciting to see there's a store in Seattle, where Natalia shops. I'll be stopping by to try on some things when I'm next in town.
    Are there posts showing your new style? Did you end up making some? I'd love to see. I'll poke around for a bit, looking.

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