January 23, 2008

Integrity in fashion

Over the years as a fashion obsessive I've come to realize that it's ridiculously easy to look well-dressed and, for lack of a better word, fashionable. You have tons of highstreet chain stores churning out trendy and cute stuff every two to three weeks, and shoving it up your face on a silver platter. All you have to do is buy what they tell you to buy: say, a little minidress, a small motorcycle jacket, some opaque tights and ankle boots and bibbidi-bobbidi-boo, you look good. Trendy. Fashionable. Maybe even stylish. Easy and simple.

What is not so easy is to have a bit of integrity. To figure out what is essentially you. What what makes you look good, what makes you feel good, what makes you feel like you--and the truly hard part? Sticking to it.

Relax, this isn't one of those stay-away-from-highstreet-chains, quality-over-quantity rants. In fact this post has nothing to do with the high-street. Let me tell you this fucked up story and you can see for yourself what it's about: Last week I found this Alice+Olivia dress while shopping and fell in love with it--the racerback, the sequins, the ultra mini length, the sporty-luxe vibe... It was adorable, I had the cash, all I had to do was take it to the counter. The only problem was, the voice inside my head said “no”.
And then this strange idea hit me. People who aren't particularly into fashion refuse to buy something because they’re afraid it won’t look good. People who do love fashion, love it in a really, really big, pretend to like its taste in music, let it eat the last piece of cheesecake, hold a radio over your head outside its window, unfortunate way that makes you hate it...resist precisely because they know it will look good. And looking good just isn’t enough.

It’s almost a game, really. For me the idea is to make it as difficult as possible. To limit myself as much as possible so that what I do allow into my wardrobe, I only completely and utterly love. It’s not about wanting to look different or edgy or “risqué”. If you've spent enough time thinking about your style, you'll know when you pick something up whether or not it's you, regardless of it looking good or bad, cute or sexy, edgy or quirky or somewhere in between. Whether it’s a crazy pleated Bernhard Willhelm dress, or a simple black A.P.C sweater, I’d like to believe that I’m wearing it not just because it’s 2008 or because Willhelm is cool, but because it reflects who I am and who I want to be, and that it’s something I’ll pick up 20 years from now and still consider wearing.

Obnoxious? I suppose so. Laughable? Definitely.
Because who knows, I could wake up tomorrow and suddenly want to throw out everything in this carefully selected wardrobe of mine. Let's face it, our tastes aren't as predictable as we'd like to think they are.

But living in a world where, for the most part, fashion is equated to shopping, and those self-confessed "fashion-loving" school mates of mine post facebook bumper stickers saying "Shop ‘til you drop" and "I got an A in shopping class!", and worst of all, the general mentality concerning clothes is, the larger the wardrobe the better,
I think integrity and resistance is really something to think about.


Bobble Bee said...

what a nice post! (and what a nice blog btw)

I love when you wrote "But living in a world where, for the most part, fashion is equated to shopping..." that's why i avoid shopping lists in my blog = fashion IS NOT shopping!!

someone interviewed me once regarding my blog and asked me which garment i was thinking of buying for the next season, what item couldn't i live without... i said, im not shopping girl... and the interviewer got puzzled! she couldn't understand how i can have a FASHION BLOG but i DON'T LIKE shopping... (!!!)

Stephanie said...

I really like this post. I haven't been into fashion for as long as most bloggers out there, being still in high school, but now I'm finding myself quite indecisive when I shop as I never really want to throw myself entirely into a trend - no matter how much I like it at the time. It's getting to the point where I see things that are all over the street style blogs yet have never set foot in my school, and I can't bring myself to buy them because they feel so overused.

I just realized that was kind of a huge tangent and really had nothing to do with what you wrote. I think I mostly wanted to say that I enjoyed it. Whoops.

boxgirl said...

i agree with your thoughts. when i was younger i was more ballsy and thrifty and was not so exposed to 'fashion' i would wear cumberbunds strapped over my chest, skirts with bloomers, vintage mumu night gowns as day dresses, inside out clothing etc. every day was about pushing to envelope because it was my creative outlet. i always had to do something extra otherwise i felt like a fraud. since then i've moved to nyc, worked in fashion and gotten exposed to 'good taste' which is what you defined above. i don't have the balls to wear what i used to, but i yearn for those days, and i've realized i had more positive feedback then; i was honestly, exuberently, humorously dressing and it showed. i still think i look better in a pink pleated nightgown than your average black audrey hepburn dress from a purely visual standpoint. people look and feel good in different things, but fashion is a meme esp. now w/ the internet.