This “Stuff” We Call Fashion

This… ‘stuff’? I see, you think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select out, oh I don’t know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that, that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise, it’s not lapis, it’s actually cerulean. You’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar De La Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves St Laurent, wasn’t it, who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of 8 different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic casual corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and so it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room. From a pile of stuff.

Miranda Priestly, The Devil Wears Prada

One of my favorite movies (and books) of all time is The Devil Wears Prada.  “A million girls would die for this job!” sums up what fashion is and isn’t about.  I adore Anne Hathaway as Andy Sachs, a girl who could care less about fashion who morphs into a “clacker,” a certified fashionable Runway girl.  My favorite scene is where she figures out that she can still love good clothes while maintaining her sense of who she is.  In a lot of ways, I am like Andy.  I sort of stumbled into fashion.  People look at me now and have this idea of me as always being super stylish, “oh you must have won all the future fashionista awards in high school!” type of thing.  Well I hate to disappoint, but that just wasn’t the case.  My style was, to put it mildly, hideous.  To give me some credit, I was 12 and loved Tigger t-shirts and gym shorts.  But high school wasn’t any better (think typical mall stores + not caring about what I wore).           

Even in college I was one of the “follow the trends” girls, which resulted in more clothes I would never wear and a horrible blending in with the rest of my friends.  It wasn’t until I finally left home, moved to a new city where I was starting fresh with EVERYTHING that my fashion sense decided to show its head.  I don’t think you could quite call the experiments I tried with clothes as fashionable, but I was having fun!

I love finding unique (read: “ugly” by most other people) clothes at thrift stores and spent hours trying out differing combinations.  Some of those early experiments I would never wear out today , but I always wore my creations with attitude and I have come to love “ugly:”  my mustard yellow sweater, brown wide leg corduroy pants, a perfect 80’s thrifted and altered flowered cocktail dress.  For me, fashion is about adventure, creativity, and a risk to try something new.

Most people seem to find their sense of style through imitation/following trends/trial and error or just putting on whateverthehelltheywant with a no care attitude.   This is what defines fashion for me.  The ability to pre-order the newest Burberry collection and have it delivered to your doorstep (even though that would be nice) is not what makes someone fashionable.  It is about wearing whateverthehellyouwant and loving ever minute of it.  What are some of your favorite/”ugly”/totally you outfits?

Image courtesy of IMDB

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