You sit staring out through the window of your nearby café, as you would at the blinking screen of your television, judging others. What a wonderful thing people watching is. In theory, people watching is the source of design and creativity in the modern setting, sparking inspiration in the Rick Owenses and KTZs of the world. Street style is where the new things in fashion are found and where the outliers of society make their mark. Ideally, great street style is where conformity is broken, and where the punks and rebels of each generation beat on. What used to be rebellious – Doc Martens, cutouts, crop tops, ripped jeans – are no longer so. These are all the latest fads of those “in the know,” those who, like me, read Vogue under the covers.
But sitting at the News Café, I see the tiny umbrellaed drink sippers, salsa and egg eaters, spandex Speedo wearers, and the lacquered tan men, women, and children of South Beach, all seemingly conspiring to create an Aurora Borealis of contemporary spirit. There is a rebellious incompleteness to what everybody is wearing. No one here seems to quite follow fashion in the elitist high-fashion sense of the word. Yet, it is what they are wearing, seemingly just thrown on, with an effortless vicariousness, that is resonant of the romance of fashion. The same romance of being different than everyone else, of being unique. And, as a practiced people watcher, I see that many of the people here have something slightly too neon or motley-colored about their outfits. Both the young and the hairy old. But that their outfits fall flat actually makes them more fun and is what street style is all about. Self expression, in whatever medium you find it, is on some level a conflicting sense of finding yourself too early in the game – you’re wearing it before it hits the fashion magazines. In fact, I am sitting a block away from the house where Gianni Versace lived and died. These outfits may not be fine-tuned enough for Anna Wintour, but they are where the inspiration comes from. Taking a chance and wearing something that wasn’t curated for you lets you let loose in the florescent-colored inching hemlines and cheetah-printed chaos of imperfect Miami. Back at the café, you can look out at others, down at your crazy pants, and back at your coffee, you’ll make the prestigious posts of Humans of New York or the Sartorialist any day.
My Look: Versace jeans, J. Crew white t-shirt, Prada sunglasses, and Zara buckled sandals