Monday, December 13, 2010

A Little Vanity


When I was much younger, I never cared about how I looked. I chose clothes based on their level of comfort, with hardly a consideration for color combination or fit. I had no control over my hair; my dad was strict in that regard, and mostly he required us to wear our hair like a soldier’s crew cut: no mussing about, no fuss.

I think it was in college when I started treating clothes as something more than fabric to cover my body with. You could say that it was in college when I realized that life is easier when you look a certain part: people are nicer to you, and you become more confident. Maybe the second is a consequence of the first, which doesn’t really matter; bottom line, life is easier.

So I started developing a certain look that reflected who I was as a person, and which made me look more attractive than, well, how I’d look if I didn’t do anything at all. It took a while before I developed the confidence to start experimenting with fashion, and lately, I’ve become much more “progressive” with my sartorial choices.

I’ve also experimented with my hair, although I’ve developed a preference for jagged, uneven and spiky edges. I usually put Clay-Doh (Bench) or Goth Juice (Lush) to keep the style in place; the former, when I want a dry, matte, casual look, and the latter when I want it to look more shiny and businesslike.

I tend to be much more conservative in the office though, since I work in the law industry, which is an industry known for its less than liberal point of view. I don’t mind though, since in that context I usually just experiment with color (not too loud) and fit. My hair is still spiky and jagged, but I’m not budging on that one.

I enjoy dressing up. Some people prefer to wear casual stuff all the time, even when going out to dinner. I find that frustrating, because I prefer that when I’m going out to dinner with friends, we all look like, well, we are going out to dinner. I dislike seeing people who look like slobs when they are in another person’s company. For me, dressing up is a way of showing another person that you respect him or her enough to actually make some effort.

I’m one of those people who consider what I wear an extension of who I am, which, at first, seems superficial, although under closer analysis isn’t really. It is part of me, in the same way that what I write in this blog is a facet of my personality. It does not wholly define who I am fundamentally, but it is one piece in this large puzzle I call my life.

And to my dying breath I will argue that fashion is art, and though ephemeral, when executed masterfully, serves to deliver the same breathtaking magnificence embodied by the best examples of prose and poetry. I am not its most talented proponent definitely, but I don’t think it’s that hard to learn to appreciate its beauty.

Photo taken here.

31 comments:

  1. Only once in my life did I act out against dressing up, when I got tired of my mother trying to make me look like this perfect little girl. I like dressing up and I will dress better the day they start making shoes my size in my country. Sorry, but to me, no outfit is complete without pretty footwear, what say?

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  2. I think it was Oscar Wilde who said that "one should either wear a work of art or be a work of art."
    It is fun to express oneself through fashion. If you can do it by using thrift stores then you feel that you have "beaten the system."

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  3. Only now that I live in Italy am I beginning to discover the joys of dressing up. In Alaska I never had much reason to put effort in my wardrobe because it just gets covered up by a big parka and snow boots anyway :P
    And I totally agree with Shruthi on the footwear... I'm developing a bit of an obsession with shoes.

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  4. i've always been a clotheshorse. i guess i was raised that way because my parents wanted me and my siblings to be accepted in society. no regrets. ;-)

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  5. true, from top to bottom, but I think the body language also has a part to play, that too a vital one. Say, the way you walk or gestures that you do with hands.
    Nice post

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  6. I love the way you write! I think that clothing as an extension of the personality is going to form the basis of my dissertation next year.

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  7. When I was in college, I decided to get crazy and dress like a hippie. Crazy for me was a pair of cords, and a t-shirt OVER a long-sleeved shirt. The t-shirt over the long-sleeved was the hippie part of my look. Or so I thought. I really thought I had nailed it. Of course, my hair was way too clean, I listened to Dave Mathews and Counting Crows instead of Phish and Grateful Dead, and I was terrible at hacky sack.

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  8. clothes are an extension of who we are and give valuable clues to others to help let them know what we are about. at the moment my hair needs sorting out and it makes me miserable, i look like a sad, poor and not so me me!

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  9. I've noticed fewer people dress up. When going for a nice dinner instead of jeans they might put on dockers or something...I attend church and usually dress up, but all around me are tee shirts and jeans. I think it is a lost art! Don't get me wrong, I don't reject the person who has chosen to stay casual, but I understand what you're saying!!

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  10. I love to dress up and wear great clothes and fabulous shoes. But, I also like to mix it up, like a great top, with some jeans and then a great pair of high heels... It's like part of me is dressed up and part of me is casual... Confuses people, I love it...

    amberlashell.com

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  11. I don't worry about what other people are wearing. I just think of my own appearance and do my best according to the circumstances. That's all I can do or want to do.

    Jai

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. Well put, Fickle. Fashion is definitely a way to express ourselves, and show the world a little bit of who we are on the inside, on the outside.

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  14. Absolutely endorse your views. Dressing well is an art which only a few have mastered. Some people dress well but their sloppy body language spoils it all. Off late I am taking time to dress up well. I would also hasten to add that I do admire people who take time to dress up well. As you have rightly mentioned, it is an extension of the self.

    Joy always,
    Susan

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  15. tama clothes are like second skin to me.

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  16. I agree that fashion is an art, one that eludes me unfortunately. I wish I would understand how it all works, but since I don't I rely on my wife to tell me how to match myself and my children... :)

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  17. I suppose those with money have more brushes to paint with.

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  18. I'm actually quite lazy when it comes to dressing up! Now that doesn't mean I dress badly, it just means I'm quite casual, I rarely put gel in my hair and I don't have a huge variety of wardrobe either. However, every once in a while I do go all out and it makes those rare occasions I do even more fun because people don't expect it! I guess I'm an attention seeker at heart in that regard :P

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  19. Dressing well (even in my field) means you respect the other person (or the patient) enough to make an effort to do so...aside from the fact that it also shows that you take pride in yourself and what you do, so, i'm all for your love of fashion and dressing well. :-)

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  20. So weird that I just read this post today because my mom was telling me how much I've changed, apperance wise. Three years ago I was wearing sweat suits and casual tees and jeans all the time. My hair was awful, and so was my skin. Now three years later I love fashion, I do my own hair and experiment with it, and my skins all clear =) I also can't get enough of makeup. Its just so funny how people can change in such a matter of time. I wonder what the future has in store for all of us....Anywho, wonderful post, I really feel like I can relate to it because well I've been through this too =) Wow I'm just rambling on now...I'll save you the misery and just stop before you reach out through your computer and strangle me lolz.

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  21. life is easier when you look a certain part: people are nicer to you, and you become more confident.

    Struck at those words. Sometimes I feel bad at myself... and I want to be better.. there's a saying to love yourself.. i can't feel it. My confidence is at it's least,.. as always.

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  22. Considering I just "What Not To Wearing" my closet, it is refreshing to her a guy's perspective on clothes and dressing. I believe you should dress for your self first, and it will affect all other aspects of your life.

    Stacy and Clinton would be proud of you.

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  23. Very interesting... Make sure to keep updating your blog!

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  24. Spiky hair is AWESOME! I have a tasteful pixie-ish cut that makes my eyes look huge (a guy once told me I look like I have anime girl eyes)and I love being playful with it and spiking it out to the sides sometimes when I am going out.

    I let my clothes reflect my mood but I usually try to dress nice. Sometimes I will dress playful or to fit the situation.

    I always try to dress up when I am going out to dinner and I make my kids dress up as well. THe only time I don't is if I am caught by surprise. For instance a large group of friends decided to all go out for dinner immediately after we finished canoeing - I was far from dressed up that time! :) But I do try to pass on a sense of dressing nicely and respecting yourself and your clothes to my kids. My daughter likes to watch the show "What Not to Wear" and pick up fashion tips from them as well. She will probably not be wearing skanky clothes when she is a tween. She is a clothes snob LOL

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  25. I love the picture.

    And I agree, fashion is very much an art form. Provided it's an expression of yourself.

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  26. Oooo! Shiney!

    I am envious of your ability to dress to express. Since my wardrobe consists of what I can cram into a coat closet in the foyer where I currently reside, my choices are extremely limited - as in black pants, black shirt, black shoes and a few items that go well with black. I like to call it Rollin' Johnny Cash Style.

    Follow you follow me http://travelingduewest.blogspot.com

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  27. Cool picture! Dressing is an art-I agree! I also work in the law industry! I always feel like I am the most dressed up person in the office!

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  28. I didn't see a contact me....though I could have missed it. But for anyone that has not read your why I write page, I have to say I loved THIS:

    I write because I want someone to read me; who I am, what I think, how I live.

    I write because I hope, someone, somewhere, would read what I wrote and think, "yes, he's right, I get it," and understand me.

    I write because I would like to think that I am not alone, that I am not the only person who's crazy and sane and stupid and smart and gorgeous and ugly and freaky and conservative and human and divine.

    I write because I want to believe. I write because the world is too small and too big at the same time.

    I have felt so many of the same things expressed here. I have looked in the mirror one day to see a troll and the next to see an angel. So I love how you have expressed this and it's just so RIGHT ON the NOSE!

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  29. a little vanity goes a long way. but then again, i love vanity fair. heheh.

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  30. I definitely relate to everything you've said here. Hence the outfit posts, haha. Thanks for the comment!

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