Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Keeping Up Appearances

When I was in high school all of my friends would come to me with questions about what was right or wrong in the eyes of the great fashion world.  Can you wear black with brown?  Do stripes really go with cheetah print?  The older I’ve gotten the more I’ve realized how silly these questions are.  Ultimately culture decides what is cool or not, and why should we be defined by that?  In my own words, fashion is an expression of one’s lifestyle and personality.  How we clothe ourselves greatly depends on our day to day activities, how we feel, and who we surround ourselves with.  

Every single one of us are fashion conscience, whether we realize it or not.  Yes, style means something different to everyone, but some degree of thought goes into everything we put on our bodies.  The weather, our job, who we will see, who we wont see, and even what day of the week it is.  All of these are factors that cross our minds as we run to our closets everyday.  It is my goal to explain this opinion further.  In this next series I will be profiling men and women from different communities and walks of life. By asking what fashion means to them, I want to break the idea of it being a right or wrong thing and more of a way of life.  With this particular post I want to look at why people choose to dress the way they do, and why we tend to think that way.

“I use to read all of these adventure and outdoor focused blogs.  The writers would tell these great stories and have these incredibly powerful meanings behind them, but I couldn’t help but notice something was missing.”  This is my friend Scottie describing his motivation for starting his blog.  ”I just felt like it was such a missed opportunity to reflect on God, and then I realized I could do that.”  When Scottie isn’t writing his awesome blog (check it out here) he is a student, a barista, and an active member of BYX.     and like most college seniors, Scottie is a busy guy juggling final projects and future plans.  The last thing on his mind is what to wear tomorrow.  

He admitted to me that not much thought goes into his usual ensemble of a t-shirt, shorts, and Chacos, "Honestly what ever is comfortable to ride my bike in".  But after talking through his day to day life a bit more we came to two conclusions.  The first is that he dresses for comfort because of his busy schedule.  The second is that he dresses the way he does because most guys his age do too.

“I think most people’s style is not dictated very much by what they think is going to make them look the best but more about 1. people’s expectations for them and 2. the image/identity they want to achieve.” We see fashion stereotypes all the time.  The barista rocking a beard and flannel, trying to fit in with the aesthetics of the coffee shop.  The college student always busy juggling class, work, and a social life which results in comfortable work out apparel.  I am a college student so I understand...most of my freshman year was spent in t-shirts and tennis shoes.  The real question is, are you wearing it for convenience, or are you just trying to keep of appearances?  One day my friend Madison came to me complaining.  Three different people had just come up to her and asked why she was so dressed up. I know my friend, and she probably just felt like looking cute, but when someone dresses up in college we think that person must be giving a presentation or heading to work.  A lot of students feel limited to their wardrobe in fear of standing out, and that's just nonsense.

If you are a Chaco wearing t-shirt loving person, then rock it!  But if you are simply scared of the dreaded “why are you so dressed up today?”question, forget about them!  Wear what makes you feel great and do it with confidence!  Not every person is a Scottie, always on the go to where comfort is the focus of style.  And on the other hand, not every person is a Madison, and has the desire to dress up.  Find your personal style and don't let stereotypes or society define your closet.  After all fashion isn't a right or wrong thing, "fashion is an expression of one’s lifestyle and personality."

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