The basic bitch and how to spot her.
Somewhere in 2009, a new term entered the vernacular. Thanks to a remarkably unfunny YouTube video, a phrase was coined that perfectly described the girl next door with a penchant for yoga pants, Ugg boots and Starbucks Pumpkin Spiced Lattes. The Basic Bitch was born and irrevocably initiated into pop culture.
The label finally gave us something to use as a derogatory insult or dismissive term for a female that we couldn’t otherwise make fun of. Because the Basic Bitch is unthreatening; she’s not mean or cruel – her only offence is essentially being boring and liking the banal things in life.
I never considered myself to be a Basic Bitch (mind you I do love a Soul Cycle class and a pair of Adidas Super Stars as much as the next person.) But interning this week with the uber cool brand MADE during New York Fashion Week had me questioning just about everything I thought I knew about myself and fashion in general.
MADE is like the industry disrupter here in New York City. Conceived in 2009 as a fashion incubator to nurture and promote upcoming talent (the likes of Alexander Wang, Jeremy Scott, Jonathan Simkhai and Hood By Air are all alums). From the get go, MADE was like the more brazen sibling to the very conservative New York Fashion Week: early events included guerilla fashion shows in abandoned gas stations and the brand became a ‘tribe’ for those formerly on the periphery of New York’s mainstream fashion industry.
For the Spring Summer 2017 shows I worked with MADE. With it being my second season, I was excited to join in the unparalleled madness of Fashion Week again. MADE’s whole production was notably bigger this time and I enjoyed every minute of working with the team again, but my main takeaway from the week was: Am I, too, a Basic Bitch?
Hear me out. Each day I showed up in what I would usually wear, albeit a little bit more groomed. My usual look was some form of boho-day dress, comfortable low-heeled shoes and some element of sequins snuck in somewhere because I am a human magpie. I stood out like a sore thumb. Everyone else who works with or alongside MADE is achingly cool – I’m talking vinyl skirts, chainmail tops, Aviator glasses with clear lenses, safety pins as body jewellery, lace up denim corsets and thigh high PVC boots.
I thought I was fashion forward wearing a choker and a bardot-style dress; how wrong I was. Somewhere around day three I began to doubt everything I personally thought was on trend as I had to Google ‘coolest slang of 2016’ to decipher what people were even saying.
My Basic Fashion Week Diary.
Me: Had a blonde ballyage in the runup to Fashion Week.
Everyone else: Replied ‘No I don’t brush my hair ever’ when I asked around for a comb.
Me: Had a shellac manicure and pedicure in a neutral hue.
Everyone else: Got their nose septum pierced.
Me: Lace up heels from Topshop.
Everyone else: Fur lined Gucci loafers.
Me: Mac mascara.
Everyone else: Different coloured eye shadow on each eye.
Me: Loved the looks at Brock Collection and Sandy Liang.
Everyone else: “Eww it’s so pretty. Bored.”
Me: Green smoothie from Liquiteria.
Everyone else: Chlorophyll water.
Me: Nude lipgloss.
Everyone else: Stick on gems on their teeth.
After eight days trying to keep up with these fashion innovators and trend forecasters, I was exhausted. I was also questioning the lack of creativity in every single outfit I wore, the banality of my Instagram feed and my mundane glossary of slang (btw everything good in New York is lit, sick or dope.)
But then it dawned on me. I’m not basic, I’m classic. I know what I like and I like what I know. I know what suits me and I stick to it. It’s ok to shop in Zara, it’s ok to spend time blow-drying your hair and curling your eyelashes if that’s what makes you feel good. Afterall, isn’t that the best thing about fashion: there’s something for everyone and you will always find a like minded tribe. Style is a personal expression, it’s figuring out what you want to say and not conforming, whether its to the basics or the badasses, that will make the loudest statement.
Dress: Anthropologie // Bag: ZARA // Shoes: Topshop
Outfit photos: Edelle Kenny