This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for some time. I want to discuss style and fashion in an abstract sense, partly to explain why I see it as important – I think it’s something that often gets overlooked as vain, superficial or vacuous. I also wanted to talk about fashion in relation to myself and to you- and it gives me a chance to explain a little more of my background.
I love creativity. I’ve always enjoyed writing, art, and fashion. Unfortunately, my creative interests were often seen as secondary to my academic pursuits. I don’t know if I’m the only one who has had this experience, but trying to get A’s in many GCSE subjects makes things like art take a back seat. I only got a B grade for Art & Design, and suddenly other subjects became more important. One of my biggest regrets is not choosing Art and English for A-Level.
Already on the wrong path, I chose to study Psychology at University, an experience that had it’s positive and negatives. Overall, it wasn’t the right experience for me – but it took me a long time and a bout of anxiety to realise this. It was at the end of Second Year when I started my first fashion and lifestyle blog as a creative outlet and half way through Third Year when I realised Psychology wasn’t the path for me.
I felt so relieved to have fashion and writing as priorities in my life again. But the idea of helping people never left me. Throughout my life, I’d learnt how to use clothes to make me feel confident, happy and secure – which I think is something that comes from an interest in fashion. In fact, I believe this is something everyone should learn how to do. Style is power. As Mark Twain put it, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society“. Your clothes have the power to make you feel different. They have the power to make people see you differently. This is practically a Harry Potter style piece of magic when you know how to use it!
Fashion is two-pronged : 1. It’s an art form, where people can express their individuality and show the world who they are. 2. It’s a tool, where you use how you look on the outside to make you feel amazing on the inside. Whether it’s that ditsy floral dress to make you feel more feminine on a date, some studded biker boots to make you feel bad ass in an otherwise scary situation, or a great suit for an important interview, clothes have your back.
Whether you take an active interest or not, fashion is something we are all involved with. It only takes Meryl Streep’s verbal bitchslap in The Devil Wears Prada to prove that. You know that “Blue Sweater” monologue? “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 blindly 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? And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight 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.”” (Very long quote – you may prefer to watch it here – sidenote: isn’t Meryl Streep amazing!?).
So why not get involved, and use fashion to express yourself and make yourself feel great. I mean, fashion is essentially art you can wear, for all to see and admire (whereas a painting or sculpture will remain on your walls, only seen by house guests). That’s something pretty special. I adore this quote from Lisa Grant of The Thoughtful Dresser, “Clothes as text, clothes as narration, clothes as a story. Clothes as the story of our lives. And if you were to gather all the clothes you have ever owned in all your life, each baby shoe and winter coat and wedding dress, you would have your autobiography.”
I love all the fantastic connotations with fashion and this goes some way in explaining why it means so very much to me. If this post inspired any thoughts, I would absolutely love to hear them in the comments section.