Wednesday, April 25, 2007

la commentaire de la mode (an editorial on style)

Very unlike such that activists have fought for freedom, the oppression I have been experiencing will dissipate this weekend. I need to write several papers in the next two days, one of which is for my French honors class (imagine that). The topic is style in clothing, which can include an explanation of clothing I have worn over the years. What made me curious is the possibility of sharing my obvious (to some) view regarding clothing faux-pas. (I would have used "fashion" in place of "clothing", but I thought that would cause one to mistake me for a fashion design student...) Heck, I am one who must try his hardest to *not* match my clothing.

As picky as I am about my own wear, certain friends of mine also realize how particular I am about other people's clothing. Shoes, pants, tops, accessories, and hairstyle--it is impossible not to judge upon first impression. For instance, a few minutes ago, as I am sitting in cafe on campus, I saw a girl wearing galoshes with jeans and a t-shirt. What's the problem with that? Well--really, only the galoshes. It was not the first time I had seen this galoshes wear today. Three times, in fact. It's not raining, they are usually frighteningly ugly, and those who seem to wear them have a look of conviction, as if they think it is superiorly fashionable. Then again, I suppose that is how flip-flops, sweatpants, pajama pants, and wifebeaters became acceptable for casual wear outside the home.

Personally, choice in one's attire says much about the self. It can signify a person's sleep habits, level of dedication, social status, and attitude towards others. I try not to get too caught up in all the variables, but it can be very daunting. It is said that you should not judge a book by its cover, but I sure do. In fact, I judge it by whether its a hardcover over a paperback, its binding, and whether it has been dropped or leafed through before I have gotten to it. In the same way I judge books before opening them, I judge others (myself included) based on their packaging and physical features. It doesn't mean I won't take a chance on a book that makes a not-so-strong impression upon first glance. That's not so bad, right?

I would not be intimidated if I were you (whoever you are). Everyone judges as much, yet they are not so eager to be so vocal. I know what I like but I am certainly open to satisfactory anomalies. First impressions are everything--do you read me?


pointycollars said...

I never knew you had opinions on clothing faux-pas, I don't remember any specific occasions when you've pointed out some flaw in another's fashion logic - although I encourage it now that I know that it's on your mind! Mainly because I'm judgmental about clothing too. I completely agree that it says something about who you are - whether you take great painstaking efforts to chose your garments or you give them no thought at all, that says something about your personality, vanity, self-awareness, self confidence, such things. I feel it's pretty obvious that I have a particular way that I like to dress and I know that it says something about me. Whether I violate someone's faux-pas though, I'm completely unaware.

Christian said...

Well, it's not necessarily a bad thing if you're violating someone's faux-pas code of decency. Of course, some types of clothing are more appropriate at certain times than others. Nothing really screams "offensive!" (see? screaming). As long as you don't start wearing Crocs with the pointy collars, I won't feel compelled to picket outside your apartment.

vintagebluesuitcase said...

It's impossible not to judge by someone's apparel choices. Heck, a lot of people derive a huge portion of who they are based on what they wear. It's a big deal in New York, where everyone fancies themself a designer and wants to say, "Oh, this asymetrical ribbon-cut top? Yeah, it's mine. I did it myself. By the way, I go to Pratt for fashion design. What do you do?" Never mind the fact that the asymetrical ribbon-cut top is ugly and unflattering and poorly made...and was more expensive to make than going to H&M and finding a cool, unique top that looks good on you for under $15.

I'm finding myself thinking more and more about what I wear because I find myself in front of a panel of artistic directors every day. There's supposedly an art to figuring out what to wear to each audition, based on what role you're auditioning for, the period in which the show is set, the preferences of the director (as far as anyone can tell), and the professionalism with which you want to present yourself. It's unnerving--I've never voluntariy given this kind of tactical thought to my attire before, and I fucking hate it. But it's part of the game, as I imagine it is in any other line of work--albeit maybe to a lesser degree.

vintagebluesuitcase said...

And by the way...crocs suck ass.

kevin/shivui said...

i try to not be judgmental, but it's natural. unfortunately i've been dragging on myself lately because i have such poor fashion sense. too many years of the comfort, not enough posh.