Karina Chronicles

Fashionably Dressed and Music: Both a Means of Self Expression

IMG_0608-001-MobileJessica Jannenga is a 45 year old woman, interested in fashion, creativity, and putting together cost effective outfits, and is an excellent role model for self-love. You can often find her Fashionably Dressed in a Karina Dress ~ Audrey. She has a chronic disease, Ehlers-Danlos, which affects her life on a daily basis, but she continues to make the best of herself and feel good in the process regardless of the situation. A graduate of Duquesne’s School of Music with a Master’s in Education as well as a B.A. in Music Performance her  creativity coupled with her interest in fashion led her to blog at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish. You can find her at @jessicajannenga, Facebook and Pinterest.


Music and Fashion. I know that one often thinks of the musical era’s and the style that those eras represented. There is very much a connection. Karl Lagerfeld once stated,  ‘Fashion and music are the same, because music express its period too.’ We do know that Mr. Lagerfeld is serious, as he, in each picture is portrayed. I, too, became serious about music when I was about 10, when my mom bought me my first guitar. Later, in college, I was to study Classical guitar, with music by the great Andre Segovia. I truly enjoyed the beauty of the musical lines and passion of the instrument. Later, I found that jazz guitar suited my personality a bit better. There was not a pin drop, as with the intensity of the classical concerts, but rather a bopping in one’s seat, and listening to lines that flow effortlessly. It was then, I decided to study jazz music, as the upbeat nature of swing, the improvisation, and the classic songs, were what I could relate to creatively.

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As I think about fashion, one often thinks of time periods in eras, and how music and fashion work together. For example, who doesn’t think of bell-bottoms or croched bohemian tops when envisioning the 70’s? Poodle skirts, hair in up-dos or curled ends, bobby socks and form fitting cardigans in the 50s. and neon, “big hair” and that “Madonna-look” for the 80s. It was also the time period for heavy metal music and black clothing, band t-shirts, and even men with long hair. Musically, one expresses oneself in how one interprets a piece of music. Ella Fitzgerald can sing ” Lady is a Tramp” in such a different way, with different inflections and scatting techniques than Frank Sinatra, or Ole Blue Eyes. I can hear the same song, by 10 different musicians and they can all sound different. It is the creativity and passion, that one brings to the piece. Fashion is very similar in this way. If I was told to put together a black and white outfit, to style it, and bring my personality into the look, I would gaurentee that 10 other women would create something different. How do you express yourself with your look? Does your mood play into your outfit you choose? With music, especially blues music, early on, with Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, many of the old blues greats, all sound very different even though they are working with primarily a pentatonic scale: 5 notes. It is amazing to know that their mood effects the piece as well as how they phrase the music.

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Fashion is a means of self-expression. I remember when I was initially sick with my illness, and my Physical Therapist was used to seeing me in my “black pants”. It wasn’t that I was trying to look “New York-ish or edgy”, but rather represented my mood of tiredness, feeling bleak due to my lack of a diagnosis. These days, I still have my illness, but I dress in many different colors and shapes, as to express my emotions and my particular style. When you look at your closet, is it a blank page, or are their “notes” or staples that are contained in the piece you put together? Does the music flow, or do you need to add more to your composition? Now think about how one of your favorite composers and your favorite designers are alike in how they express themselves, and remember…


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