I love fashion, just a little bit. I think trends are interesting and I am thrilled when colors I love are the “it” colors of the season.
However, I tend to carry my love for fashion at a healthy distance, as Andi in “The Devil Wears Prada” does at the beginning of the film. I love seeing the effect of trends on society (teenage girls will always be the place to see the latest expressions) and yet I always choose to wear what feels the most “me.” Plus I don’t make the big bucks, so there’s another reason. Also, I feel like some trends become passe all to soon, and I don’t want to shell out money for something I’ll only wear a few times.
When we were in Europe, all the young ladies were tromping through summer in gouchos. These are the least flattering type of pants, ever. It looks more like clown wear than fashion, but fashion does not always allign itself with sense, but with trends. Something hideous which draws positive attention becomes a trend, thereby making it no longer hideous. I know gouchos continue to be the rage in Europe and I wonder how long it will be before our teenagers are sporting them. Also, apparently Londoners are wearing white sport socks (you know, hanes, thick white socks) with high heels. Sounds comfy to me, but I don’t know that Atlantans would allow for it until someone with social sway ushers it in.
I laugh to think about the scene in “Mean Girls” when Kady cuts two holes in Regina’s tank top during gym class, and when Regina dons her altered top, she sees her bra looking through, brushes off the potential embarrassment by flipping her hair and strutting her stuff through the shocked locker room, and the next scene is of every girl in school sporting Regina’s new style. It’s so true!
It doesn’t even stop at clothing. Mannerisms and lingo are also subject to scrutiny and trending. When I was in high school, all the girls, I noticed, were making a fist with their hand and covering their mouth with it to show shock and concern about what their friend was telling them. I remember seeing this small, almost unnoticable fad roll through school and thinking how weird it was as more and more of my friends did this. A year later? No one did it anymore.
At the school where I work and coach cheerleading, I see more prominently the spread of lingo. These kids love shorting words. “You’re totally adorble” becomes “totes adorbs.” “I have a question,” “Quesh.” Also, back to the fashion trends, these girls love finding jeggings that can fly under the dress code radar which had banned them. I’ve seen crazy choices in shoes and lately? Lots of hats that look like different animals, like owls or kitties.
I’ll admit the flush of pleasure when you feel fabulous and everyone flocks to you to tell you your clothing is awesome. I get a lot of compliments on my wardrobe and I will admit that sometimes I have bought things because I knew it looked good on me and others would tell me the same. When I don’t get compliments, I wonder how I’ve erred. It’s totes weird that I do this, but I am pretty sure that I am not the only one. We all love being told how nice we look!
What nice is when I put an outfit together that I know is a little out there, and people tell me they like it. I know I may or may not be following a fashion trend as I don’t consult with magazines all that often, but I would like to think I carry a strong sense of my personality in what I choose to wear. My singing group always tells me they love all my dresses (it’s true. I adore dresses), and so I feel like I should wear a dress when we perform. It’s not really true though, as I could wear something else! Josef gave me some black sequin leggings last year and I have had so much fun wearing them because people always love them. It makes me feel special and pretty, but I don’t want to wear them too often as they might overstay their novelty. – can just hear it: Oh, there’s Susan again, wearing those leggings, again.”
I feel badly for all the famous women who are put down for what they wear on the red carpet, while they’re out and about, etc. This is such a demeaning world to witness. Get a life! I love what Colin Firth said recently about how actors have a more prominent role in society than they should, as the impact of what they do should not be given so much credit. He pointed to the folks who keep things running, like cars and buildings, as the ones who deserve credit for keeping things going. He said he knew it had to do with the interaction of how actors provide their service – magnified and broadcast to millions, and mechanics and the like have a more personal, two-way interaction with their clients, yet they basically get snubbed when it comes to society craving to know their thoughts on issues and who they wear. Clearly he’s brilliant and gets it — celebrity worship is even stranger when looked at through that lense! I think the worship of fashion is similar. Just because Joan Rivers has an opinion on a dress that Natalie Portman wore, why does that matter to me? Just because a world famous designer says his dress is beautiful, is it? Does the emporer have new clothes?
So all of this is to say I enjoy fashion but I am not sure what role fashion critics, red carpet critiques, and magazine fashion polls have on me. It feels minimal, but maybe it’s so pervasive that I don’t realize it. Maybe I am a fashion disaster and everyone I know is kind to me anyway. All I know is when I buy something that makes me feel pretty when I wear it, and it still makes me feel pretty the 100th time I wear it, then that’s a good feeling.