I know that it has become a regular hobby of society to denigrate and mock and trivialise style and fashion, and I’ve read countless articles about how fashion is ridiculous, that it’s pointless and shallow and doesn’t offer anything of benefit to anyone. Thank you, writers of those articles, for reducing an entire industry, and the passion of many people, to little more than a childish game. Today’s post is a little different from my regular Style File Friday posts, as this is more of a philosophical discussion rather than my usual advice, tips, and recommendations (which will be back next week!); this is going to be my thoughts on the validity of style and fashion!
Something that I love about style and fashion (not the same thing, but that is a discussion for a different day), is that clothing is a commonality between all of us. Aside from food, I think that clothing is the one thing that unites us all. (Yes, I know there are nudists out there, but I assume they do have to wear clothing at some point in life.) That clothing may come in an endless variety of shapes, colours, fabrics, patterns, and who knows what else, but clothing it is!
Your clothing does play a role in people’s impressions of you, whether you like it or not. While we can obviously change and amend our opinions, I believe that a first impression is crucial in both personal and professional relationships, and it’s not something that you can get back. Do you need to be dressed in the latest, trendiest designer clothing to make a good impression? Absolutely not, at least not for me. However, properly fitting clothing that is clean and wrinkle free is a must. If you won’t take the time to hang clothing, what other details are you overlooking? Especially if it is a pattern over time; that’s not just a bad day where you are scattered, it is a permanent lack. (You can buy wrinkle free fabric, so there isn’t much of an excuse anymore.)
When you rail on how “ridiculous” fashion and style is, you are inherently making comments on the people that do enjoy it. I find style and fashion to be an ever-changing puzzle, and each person is a different “picture” to work from- it is a challenge, and a flexible, evolving challenge at that. For me, and a lot of people who are much better at it than I am, style is an intellectual exercise that takes no little amount of ability and knowledge. What works on that particular person and frame? Does that fabric drape properly? And what colour suits them? There a million moving pieces to style, and I enjoy thinking through all of them. Do I mock people who are fascinated by cars because I think that they are little more than a way from point A to point B? No, because I am sure that they put as much time into learning the intricate details of an engine as I do into learning different fabrics, cuts, and stitches that make up clothing.
Please remember before you proclaim anyone related to style or fashion ridiculous or out of touch that they may have spent years or even decades studying the clothing that we all wear, and that simply because you don’t find something interesting does not mean that it is trivial or unimportant. Because you may be ignorant of all of the workings of something does make it less important or skilled; no one wants to hear the things that they are passionate about denigrated and torn down.
I will leave you with this Oscar de la Renta quote: “Fashion is about dressing according to what is fashionable. Style is more about being yourself.”