On the weekend Mr. Dressed and a lovely friend and I skipped off to the theatre to see La La Land (Ummm, Ryan Gosling AND a movie musical? Point me to the popcorn). I fell completely in love with the story, the music, and the splashes of primary colors in every which direction (including one rather unforgettable yellow dress). Needless to say, I was inspired to pull a few primary colors out of my own wardrobe today…
Without giving anything away, the movie follows the love story of two dreamers living in Los Angeles. Set in modern day, but with endless vintage influences and an intoxicating overdose of Old Hollywood glamour, the movie was essentially about the trials and tribulations of finding love and keeping love. Of following your dreams and the sacrifices that often have to be made to get your hands on them. But when I found myself pondering the movie later that night, the part that struck me wasn’t about love or dream-following at all. It was about jazz.
If you’ve ever been to see live jazz, you know it’s crazy in the best way. Chaotic and exuberant and the kind of music that follows no rules. Because there are none. Every member and their instrument contributes an element of the song. And that element depends on the current mood that strikes their fancy.
At one point in the movie Ryan Gosling’s character gives an impassioned speech about jazz. About how fluid it is, how ever-present and ever changing. And I couldn’t help but be taken by this idea. That jazz, much like life, is full of a cast of characters, each with their own instrument to play. But there’s no set melody, no song sheet to follow. Every night, the song is different. Every person is following their own tune, coming to meet in the middle now and then, but basically following their instincts on when to bust out a solo.
And what was so beautiful and so profoundly sad at the same time, is the thought that everything we do is essentially a sequence of events that have their own consequences. And on any given day, the beat is different, the crescendo changed. And looking back on an entire song is like looking back on your life: a series of fluid decisions that carved a single, melodious path. But embark on that same path on a different night, and the song could be entirely different. Step off a curb a few seconds later, offer a smile to the girl behind you on the bus instead of a curt nod, turn down an opportunity in a new city, snuggle into your pajamas instead of going out. It’s not the big choices that change us, but the millions of little ones we make every day that do.
None of these choices are better or worse. But they change you. They change your tune, every day.
I have to admit, I’ve now downloaded the La La Land soundtrack and can tell I’m going to be binging on it for the next month (sorry, Hamilton, for now you have a temporarily reprieve). I’m definitely known for my musical-gorging, which is probably why songs evoke such strong memories in me. It’s never just that a song was whispering in the background of certain life events, but an entire cd that defines periods of my life, on repeat. It provides an endless soundtrack, with notes woven into my steps and minor keys dipping in the twirl of my skirts.
I highly recommend seeing the movie – to get lost in the story, lost in the romance, lost in the dream. To remind you that although some things may be “meant to be,” we are in full control of our destiny. And every choice, every day, is forging a path. Where it leads…well, that hasn’t been written yet.
But here’s to the ones who dream…
Dress: Oh Henry Vintage (similar modern or vintage here, here & here)
Headband: c/o Modcloth (similar)
Necklace: Vintage via Kaleidoscope (similar here)
Handbag: Anne’s Pocket Finds (similar here & here)
Shoes: Miss L Fire (similar here & here)
Lip Color: Retrofuturist