Recently I've noticed a phrase people have used to describe me when people comment on my dressing. They say "you can get away with it", "you can pull it off" which intrigues me. It's almost as if I've sneaked past some fashion rule that will be found out eventually.
Since I don't follow trends anymore this intrigues and baffles me. Surely I'm not doing anything anyone else wouldn't be doing. I buy the clothes and put them on, simple!
Are people saying I have confidence that they don't have? Or are they saying it's really ugly, but because it's you, and I like you, I'll say it looks good?
I've been reflecting recently on the concept of style versus dagginess (as we say in Australia). Immediately my mind goes to what I call the epitome of dagginess... wearing socks or even stockings with sandals...Ahhh! Crossed fingers to ward off the devil!!! :-)
But when I think more carefully, I realise there are instances where people can "get away with it". Mainly I narrow it down to wearing socks with closed toe sandals seems acceptable to me. Also if the sock is a cute ankle sock with ruffles or frills, it seems OK.
This is a very contentious topic with Bushy, because he can't see anything wrong with it, and I've always adamantly abhorred it. So much so, he has given in, still without understanding it. So this morning in the midst of my musings and realising how muddled my reasoning is, I butted out of his wardrobe. He now has carte blanche to do as he likes. Let's see what ensues...crosses fingers and holds breath!
Stylish people seem to be those whose clothes are an embodiment of their personality, their personhood. They don't let the clothes wear them, they wear the clothes. I've been avidly devouring the site Style Like U which has this philosophy. See also Natalia's post Style as expression of you, not you as expression of style.
But if I say this, maybe Bushy wearing his socks and sandals is his innate style, and I shouldn't object to it.
Have you noticed how often women control a man's wardrobe, whereas the reverse would be considered domestic abuse?! Is this because we are given more opportunities to explore and so feel we have more of a finger on style and fashion? But if my reasoning stands, a man can't be stylish if his wife is dressing him, if it doesn't come from within. A man in work clothes doing a job he loves can be more stylish than one dressed to the nines, if he feels uncomfortable.
Can someone be stylish if the clothes are beautiful, but just aren't them? I know I've seen people in clothes that are trendy, but because they are not reflecting their own person, can look daggy.
But following trends doesn't mean everyone who is trendy is daggy. Sometimes the trends do match the innate sense of the wearer.
I think following trends can just make the world seem a more boring place. Just people saying, "Look at me, I have a lot of money as evidenced by my clothes on my back."
I also hate the term "on trend" which stores and magazines proclaim loudly. Like they have been given permission to wear these particular clothes by the fashion police.
They see it as a great compliment to give someone. Does it mean they are in touch with the world, clued in somehow? To me it means following the crowd.
How does this differ from cultural garments? Ones worn by traditional tribes. Does this mean if the whole tribe wears the garment it isn't reflecting the individual wearer and therefore they aren't stylish? Or is their personhood reflected in their belonging to a tribe? As evidenced by tribes of teenagers who wear the same gear, for example. Are they seen as stylish, or just fashion victims?
I think the desire to find your ethnic roots could be driven by the same motivation as the desire to dress alike within a subculture, e.g. goth. Its the drive to belong, to feel in touch with others, to speak a similar language. Therefore they are expressing themselves...and therefore stylish?
I do realise the usefulness of a uniform. It becomes a sort of label, a shorthand to identify a person's job or rank. It irons out individuality and presents a neat, united front to the world. But even within uniforms you find individual traits in those who desire to exercise it. I had a friend who wore a uniform but always wore individual lively socks. Uniforms can make someone who loves to express themselves, feel stunted and stifled, and this is a way to manage that.
Change and Gender
I think my style has changed over the years, and my ideas of what I find stylish on others has changed as well. How does this differ to trendiness?
Is it because one is driven from within, and our changing knowledge of self, versus being imposed from outside in a more superficial way?
My style has changed according to my gender discovery. I was a fairly feminine decorative dresser, with long earrings, and drapey scarves. Then I went through my male gendered phase wearing male clothing exclusively, and now I feel comfortable in my combination male/female outfits. This may change over time, but always is driven from within.
Conformity - Aspergers and Genderqueer
And here we come across my individuality or idiosyncrasy. One of the great blessings of Aspergers is the disconnect from the crowd. I can see things others can't because I'm not connected in to the zeitgeist. I see things at one remove, and have no pressure on me to conform. Or if I do, I refuse to entertain it.
And so we wander back into gender territory. I also refuse to entertain the pressure to wear gendered clothing or decoration. To me its just one big candy store, and I can take my pick according to my own individual innate taste.
Wouldn't it be a fascinating world if we all could feel so free?
I think I'm also going to have to rethink my own use of stylish and daggy, when describing myself. I have to apply these terms correctly to myself, and cut myself some slack. See post title Dress and Dag. If the outfit arises from my own desires, and is what I want to wear during a given activity, can I call it daggy? If I constantly call my outfits daggy, am I having a go at myself? Putting myself down?
Such a big topic! One I will be exploring all my life I'm sure. But these were a few (!) of my thoughts today.
'Til next time, keep creating (from within),