Recently I have actually been asked to blog or write an article about my personal fashion sense and my clothes picking/shopping strategies.
I find this surreal and utterly impossible to believe as I own a pair of both Halloween AND Christmas themed striped knee socks and I often use Doctor Who themed pins to cover holes in my blouses. Also, up until I entered the collegiate world, I dressed like this:
(See y’all, academia is good for more than just improving those book smarts)
This one isn’t so bad: I tried to find the picture I have of myself in high school wearing a plaid skirt, fuzzy knee socks, and my Josh Groban concert t-shirt but failed in my search.
So here goes: fashion, fashion, fashion, fashion. What do I think about fashion?
Being a feminist and a socialist, I have read and heard a great deal bemoaning the fashion industry. As a socialist, I have problems with the exploitive pursuits of the fashion industry in terms of some companies’ outsourcing and manufacturing methods and working conditions in developing countries. As a feminist, I have problems with the exploitive pursuits of many of the fashion industry’s advertising campaigns. You shouldn’t have to be half-naked to feel desirable (and besides, unless you live here in South/Central Texas in the summer, it’s really just too chilly for that).
But besides these problems, I’ve also always felt that fashion and those who enjoy expressing themselves through creating their own style, have been unjustly looked down upon. Fashion and those who enjoy fashion have often been labeled as “silly,” or “vapid,” or “vain,” or “shallow.”
And that is not, in my opinion, necessarily the case. Throughout history and most especially in Europe and the United States during the Victorian period, women and men used clothing and accessories to express themselves and their views. Those times were not the most expressive times in terms of speech. Freedom of speech (especially in Britain and Europe, but in the U.S. as well) for women (or even men) was not encouraged. Victorians often used their fashion sense to express some of those feelings they were not allowed to feel or not supposed to feel.
From the Metropolitan Museum
For me the clearest examples of fashion as self-expression come from the Victorian period (let’s face it–the bustle was meant to accentuate something folks, and it was not necessarily the Angel in the House’s modesty!) But this is really true of all time periods.
Because fashion has been in recent centuries associated with the feminine, I think it has been looked down upon and labeled as silly and shallow. I think anyone with this attitude needs to watch a good, healthy dose of What Not To Wear reruns (Stacy and Clinton are fashionistas, but they are clearly capable of being deeply caring, intellectual human beings).
This will conclude my quick rant on fashion. Now on, to my own personal style tips.
Here are some fashion/shopping guidelines I live by:
1. If you are buying pants, ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS try them on. Pants are deceiving in nature. Holding them up against your waist to check the length only is not a good way to measure how long they will be on you. Trust me people, I know these things, I’m short.
2. If it has an owl on it, say yes. If it is neon yellow, say no.
3. Avoid stores with too much overhead lighting and obnoxious techno music. It’s best to be chillaxed when picking out clothes, not raving/hyperventilating.
4. Head for the clearance aisle/rack first and then make your way around the rest of the store.
5. To guarantee the most successful shopping trip possible, only shop in one of these circumstances: go when you’ve been dumped, when you’ve dumped someone, when you’re not supposed to be shopping, with friends you haven’t seen in more than two months, or with your Mom (or other close female relative).
6. Shop with no expectations whatsoever. In other words don’t go to the store with an agenda such as: I need to find black pants. Or, I need to find professional clothing. THIS IS A SUREFIRE WAY TO NOT FIND ANY CLOTHING YOU ARE WILLING TO BUY AT ALL. (Note: this ONLY applies for shopping for clothes for oneself; I am usually perfectly able to find something with an agenda if I’m buying gifts–but I mostly do this online.) Go instead with an open mind, an open heart, and more importantly–a very open wallet. Go with the simple thought: I might spend some money on clothing for myself today.
7. Goodwills, salvage, non-profit, and charity clothing shops are the bomb dot com. It’s harder and takes more stamina to rummage through all those aisles of overalls and musty-smelling, velveteen recital dresses from the eighties, but helping other people when you can, even minimally by purchasing something from one of these shops, is always worth it.
Now, I will leave you with my style icons below:
Audrey Hepburn (The Classiest in Class!)
Kate Middleton (Obvious)
Queen Victoria (We are most amused!)
Magenta from Rocky Horror Picture Show
Oscar Wilde (No one can pull off a fur coat and pimp cane like he could. NO ONE)
Rachel Berry of Glee
The Pretty Little Liars
Kiera Knightley in ANY MOVIE
and…the finale: my main fashion icon: Zooey Deschanel
*I just want to note; this blog post is not meant to be scholarly or informed at all. I did not do research to write this and I will not be posting sources to back up my statements/opinions. These are merely my opinions and views that I have gathered throughout my somewhat limited years on this planet earth. Also, all of these pictures were found on a Google image search (except for the one of me of course; Google Molly Miller, and you will get a lot of images of fish….)