I’m not a girlie girl. I wear chucks and neglect my eyebrows. Last winter, I shaved my legs maybe three times—once for each month (Come on, it’s WINTER! I’ll be in jeans for weeks anyway! And I’m married. You get it.)
But despite my affinity for fantasy football and fart sounds, I love fashion. And I mean love. I am a Polyvore/Net-A-Porter/WWD/Pinterest freak. However, when it comes to integrating my feverous passion for fashion into my wardrobe, weeeell . . . I suck ass. For three reasons:
1) No one taught me how to dress. I have an incredible mother, but style wasn’t a “thing” in our household. The mall was for looking, not shopping.
2) On the spectrum of body-type, my ass is on the opposite end of Freja Beha Ericksen. I’m short, frizzy, and in a photo-finish—my boobs win every time. They’re massive, and button-down shirts are my kryptonite.
3) I’m broke as a joke, and la mode is not cheap for the moderately chubby. Forget Forever 21, I gotta endure Macy’s prices for my threads. And cute affordable underwear? Ha! I’ve been rockin’ the “grandma bra” since eighth grade. I haven’t set foot in a Victoria’s Secret in twenty years, and even then it was only because my friends was obsessed with water bras. Irony spares no one.
Yep, when it comes to fashion, I’ve got all my cards working against me. I’m not a natural. I have taste, but no skill. Good ideas, but bad execution. BUTT I’ve got a secret—a tactic that never fails me when I’m face-to-face with the monstrosity that is my closet.
Picasso said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” Well fork over that ski mask, cause I’m about to teach yous how to burgle some bitches.
So one day—true story—I’m bored as hell and I wanna get ill. I figure a “treat” is in order and I decide the local bookstore is just the place. But since I’m feeling static, I wanna dress up and look good. Feel good. Confident. I go to my closet to construct an outfit, but everything I’m putting together is wha-wha. Frustrated, I take a moment to reflect. Think. Who do I want to dress like? If age, body type, and money were of no issue, what famous fabulous female would I mimic? Easy! Kate Moss. Hands down, my style icon. Minimal. Sexy. Rock’n’roll with a feminine twist. Or Mary-Kate Olsen. Bohemian grunge. Yes! Or maybe something a little softer, but still with some edge. Cate Blanchett—Sophisticated. Elegant. Little bit of a risk-taker. Or Kate Hudson! . . . Wait a minute—
THAT’S when it occurred to me. The answer to my fashion woes. Kate. Kate. Kate . . .
WHAT WOULD KATE WEAR? It was so simple: Anytime I found myself unable to visualize a suitable outfit, all I would have to do is go to my closet, pick a Kate, and go from there. WWKW. Genius! (Thanks Christian youth groups of the nineties! Your bracelets and crafty marketing ploys stuck with me after all.)
Now take my hand. Lemme walk you through this fabulous philosophical process:
So, it might sound loony for one to stand in their closet and converse with imaginary famous fashionistas about “options,” but that is actually what I do. Oh Jan, why would you admit something like that to the internet? Because it works, damnit! Seriously. I’ve talked shop with Kates of all kinds. Middleton. Beckinsale. Winslet. Hepburn. Holmes. Upton (we share boob issues.)
I visualize all of them behind me, staring up at the mass of mismatched fabrics and colors and textures, and I wait for one to chime in.
“What do you feel like today, Jan?” Kate Bosworth asks.
I place my index finger over my mouth. Hmmm. Something edgy. Something simple. Something black. And I don’t want to brush my hair.
Low and behold, Kate Moss steps forward and places a tobacco-stained hand upon my shoulder. “That’s me. Cheers, Love.”
Now I am nowhere near Kate’s size, so I must substitute accordingly. Modify. Instead of black leather pants, I trade for a straight leg black trouser and a high leather pump. I rattle through tops and sweaters, slowly sinking into a deep panic before Kate lights a Marlboro cigarette, methodically taking in her first drag before removing it with the same hand she flings toward an area of the rack. “Just throw on that black tank thing, love. Stop trying so hard. Have you got any scarves?” Oh I do, Kate. That I do.
It’s that easy! Oh and if you think this WWKW magic stops at the closet, your wrong. Dead wrong. It works everywhere. When I’m inside a Macy’s dressing room, contemplating the cut of a dress I might wear once if I’m lucky, I eye the frock in the mirror, contemplating whose opinion I want.
“Ms. Hepburn,” I ask, “do you like this skirt?”
Lifting her head from the letter she’s reading, the great Kate herself eyes my situation with disgust. “Golly no, dear, it screams conventional. Where’s the men’s section? Let’s see what the gents are wearing these days?” Touché, Kate, touché.
There are so many fantastic Kate’s in this world, and all of them have a different style. So for all those girls out there who—like me—can’t dress for shit, I say “Relax and pick a Kate.” Use it as a convenient shortcut, or even as a foundation for your own personal style and take it from there. It’s hella fun.
Here’s a tasty list to get you started: