don’t decorate yourself

There’s a difference between details and decorations. Details are an integral part of an overall design, but decorations, or embellishment just for the sake of embellishment, detract from design. We decorate a Christmas tree, that’s nice, but don’t decorate yourself.

I started writing about this idea in my Rule #1. Don’t try so hard post. All of you, or any part of you, or what you’re wearing, can be embellished, but unless you’re as talented and audacious as Iris Apfel, you will end up looking like that tarted up Christmas tree. 

Olivier Rousteing, the Creative Director at Balmain, does detail so well it’s almost dangerous.



The two Balmain creations above, perfectly illustrate what I’m talking about. The heavily detailed and embellished garments work, because the details are part of the design. If you were to take the beading off the dress or the suit, the underlying garment would still be wonderful. But together, the garment and the embellishment are a whole and still more wonderful.

If Balmain details roar, then there’s another kind of detail that purrs.


Like this dress above, with its brilliantly slashed, folded, and twisted fabric. You wouldn’t necessarily see this detail from afar, like you would the Balmain, but this detail too works well.

Details like these sneak up on you and make you take a second and third look. Arguably, those overlapping folds were meant to be there, but they’re sneaky, like this Valentino.


Simple white dress, right? No, more like detailed perfection.

Finally, another example of beading on this Georges Hobeika dress.


Do you like details? 

Tomorrow, more details and a discussion about Balmain and H&M; why I won’t be buying my Balmain there.




  • Jennifer says:

    I prefer details that hum. Always. Those folds are my cup of tea.

    On another note, I just discovered I’m missing your posts. I’m signed up but the feed isn’t sending to me. Suggestions? I don’t want to miss your posts.

    • Anita Irlen says:


      You have a way with words: “details that hum.” Yes, those folds are wonderful.

      Looking into the feed as we speak. Thanks again for the heads-up.

  • I recently bought my first print and regret it. My style is understated simplicity like your examples. That said… I’m wearing a white, long sleeve sequin t-shirt to see the Rolling Stones in concert this weekend. LOL! Midlife rocker chic!

    • Anita Irlen says:


      Jealous, the Rolling Stones! I always regret buying prints. At my age, you would think I had learned. A long sleeved sequin t-shirt sounds amazing. Rock on midlife rocker!

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