Whitney Houston, Unlikely Fashion Inspiration

I have a confession to make.  I like music more than I like fashion.

Problem is, I can’t sing or play anything (I spent years taking guitar lessons at the Blue Bear School of music, and sadly, it didn’t take.)

That said, my approach to music is the same as my approach to fashion.

In music, I love discovering new, independent bands that no one has heard of. In fashion, I love discovering new, independent designers that no one has heard of.

In music, once that new, independent band gets signed by a major label and becomes famous and their music watered down, I bum out and move on. In fashion, once that new, independent designer gets signed by a major fashion house and their designs are watered down, I bum out and move on.

In music, I love seeing bands in small, local venues versus large arenas. In fashion, I love buying clothes in small, local boutiques versus large department stores.

In music, certain bands and musicians are classic (Miles Davis, the Beatles, Marvin Gaye etc.) and are always cool and appropriate. In fashion, certain designers and pieces (the white button-down, the trench coat, a great pair of jeans) are always cool and appropriate.

The parallels are endless.

It’s no surprise, then, that I love watching the Grammy’s, that perfect intersection of music and fashion.

Last night’s was no exception.  I wondered what the mood would be, given that Whitney Houston had just died.

She released her first album the year I graduated college.

I never bought her records or voluntarily listened to her music, yet she was everywhere during my life:  weddings, malls, movies.  And it was her second album cover, the 1987 release “Whitney,” that became my fashion inspiration for years to come.  There she was, all big hair, big smile, bright white wife-beater and jeans.  No one looked better in a tank and jeans.  She was 24.

To this day, a wife beater and and jeans is my uniform.  I try to smile.  The hair is sometimes big.

As for the Grammys, I loved that Bon Iver won best new artist and how humble he was accepting his award in his rumpled and awkward wool history-teacher suit.  I loved that Dave Grohl spoke of how real music is imperfect and comes from the soul and the brain, not a computer. I loved how fierce Rihanna looked on the red carpet in the plunging Armani and during her performance in leather shorts and combat boots.

Rihanna. Illustration by Paula.

I loved that Adele got her voice back.

Adele. Illustration by Paula.

And I loved how for the first time, Taylor Swift didn’t make me mute the television.

Taylor Swift. Illustration by Paula.

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