Avent-garde, or edgy style, is what you expect to see on the runways of a New York fashion show or at a Lady Gaga concert: High-impact, wildly creative outfits that throw conventional rules to the wind. As these glamorous, but highly impractical fashions are being strolled down the runway or rocked on stage, you’re probably sighing and wishing you had an excuse to wear these lavish and exciting piecing- after all, you probably don’t want to wear sculptures to the grocery store, even if it is made out of fabric.
The beauty of avant-garde, however, is its ability to nurture creativity. Given free reign, artists are able to innovate and cultivate new ideas that trickle down into society in less extreme ways. In fact, the avant-garde movement can be seen all around you, in art and culture, as its’ free-thinking creatives have influenced major changes throughout the years.
What is the Avant-Garde or Edgy Style?
Despite all of this talk about Lady Gaga, creativity, and innovation, you may still be wondering, “What exactly is avant-garde?”. Don’t worry; I have you covered.
Think Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, James Joyce, and Ernest Hemingway. What they have in common lays at the heart of avant-garde style, and it’s more obtainable than you might think. They are associated with this style because of their ability to infuse their intelligence with creativity to develop a whole new way of thinking.
First used in the 1850s, Avant-garde is described as “an intellectual, artistic and cultural movement characterized by the experimental, the radical and the unorthodox approaches”. Derived from a similar French word, avant-garde means “vanguard” or “advanced guard” and is used to describe the people who choose to go beyond the boundaries of conventions.
How to Rock this Look
Remember how I mentioned all those amazing artists? We can all take a page out of their book in regards to our own style: While you might never wear an entire avant-garde ensemble, you can and should utilize your own creativity and intelligence to create avant-garde inspired looks you’ll want to wear every day.
There is no right or wrong way to be inspired, but these tips will help you fine tune your own avant-garde style:
Use Your Mood as the Blue Print– Figure out what message you want your edgy outfits to send about your personality. This will make shopping easier because you will already have an idea about your preferences. Though you are aiming for avant-garde style, your selections will be specifically tailored to your own likes and dislikes.
Learn From Avant-Garde Fashion Icons– Michèle Lamy, Roisin Murphy, Björk, and David Bowie are great examples to look at. Take special note at the aspects of their outfits that you’ll be able to recreate in your own wardrobe. Find inspiration in colors, shapes, textures, and accessories for an easier transition.
Dress in Monochromatic Tones– Color isn’t for everyone. Rest assured that these white, black, and gray tones are great vehicles for inspiration; giving you more liberty to experiment with a greater variety of textures and cuts. These tones also enable you to highlight the details and composition of your avant-garde outfit.
Do not feel pressured to stick to just monochromatic tones. Remember avant-garde is about you! Feel free to add bold colors, complementary color schemes (like orange and blue), metallics, and patterns! For example, a monochromatic-toned shirt with asymmetric detailing mixed would look superb with a leather jacket.
Do a Lot of Layering– This is will be your best friend in the creation of your avant-garde outfit and during the wintertime. Start with a simple, figure-forming piece of clothing and then build on with a variety of textures and contrasting combinations. While I hesitate to curb anyone’s enthusiasm and experimentation, I caution you to avoid overly contrasting laying- like layering cardigans- to avoid cheesiness in your look.
Select Clothes with Texture and Volume– Experiment with various weaves and materials to create texture. For volume, try cuts with geometric structure, asymmetric hemlines, ruffles, or pleats. This voluminous coat is a great example of function combined with edgy styling. Guess what? You don’t even have to follow the rule of combining voluminous pieces of clothing with fitted pieces of clothing.
Pick Avant-Garde Accessories– Accessories add spice to your outfit. This is especially true when trying to create an avant-garde outfit. You can try a black multi-functional bag, voluminous necklace, and dark shoes (the shoes are a big deal). You can also add just one eccentric piece with a simple outfit.
The beauty of avant-garde is that it expresses who you truly are. It allows you to utilize your creativity when accumulating your wardrobe collection. Don’t feel like you need to drain your bank account dry or max out all of your credit cards to achieve it, either. Odds are, just by rethinking and adding to pieces you already have, you’ll be able to create avant-garde looks that are as unique as you are.