Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fashion Influences (?)

While other bloggers were having fun at Lady Gaga, I was sitting in a town government commission meeting. This week was crazy so it’s been a little light on the blog front. Plus, as you can guess from the first sentence, my life can be straight up boring. It’s hard to find time to eat or sleep, much less do some thing fun like read or write.

But this morning I did finally get the chance to do a bit of link clicking and went over to Miss Tavi's site to read her post discussing fashion and responding to Tanya Gold’s Why I Hate Fashion article.

Before I launch into my thoughts about Ms. Gold’s article, I want to say that I think it’s great that I, a 37 year-old, can have an intellectual discussion with a 13 year-old. Many would relegate Tavi to a mere "child" status and discount much of what she has to say. I think that is very biased. I'm generally not a "kid person" but I am a fan of smart intellectually curious and engaged kids... just ask my amazingly smart and talented friend Miss Bridget who's been impressing the hell out of me since she was approximately 6 years old. I don't think it’s weird or surprising that Miss Tavi has an interest in and great knowledge of fashion and actually forms educated opinions about the arena. Heck, I remember at 13 I was given a list of classic books we were going to be reading in high school and college and was appalled that I hadn’t read some of them already. I then spent my summer reading most of the list. That age is the perfect time to be passionate about something and totally immerse yourself.

But back to the article and, in theory, my point for writing. I see both ladies’ perspectives here.

But I have another.

I appreciate artistry, especially in this day and age of increasingly disposable fashion. I appreciate the designer's eye and vision. I understand they have an aesthetic they are trying to achieve. I'm sure that is the rationale behind choosing the models they do. I can also see how a consumer seeing very thin girls and not seeing a range of sizes and shapes represented in ads, on the runway or even in stores can make you feel like you are pushed out of the realm of the "fashionable".

The way I have kept from being overly influenced and possibly feeling bad about myself is because I am a superficial consumer. I mentally separate the designer's fantasy from my purchasing criteria as much as I can. Tanya seems to be more ifluenced by the messaging they are sending. But what I think is great about fashion is creating your own vision with the pieces that are put out and less trying to fit into their fantasy. Sure, in my younger years I was probably more impacted body image-wise by advertising - ironically during my most effortlessly thin timespan - but I've worked to move on from that.

As I've gotten older, I just care about what I like. And while I'm not thin, I'm not outside of the range of "regular" sizes either. So while Ms. Gold feels liberated by no longer fitting in with fashion and therefore having an "outsider's" perspective on what she feels is the absurdity and dangers of the fashion industry, I'm still sort of in it. But what surprises me is why she lets it get to her. I've always tried to subscribe to the Eleanor Roosevelt saying: No one can make you feel inferior without your consent and WendyB’s: Wear what you want. Tanya should, especially as a 36 year old, be able to enjoy what she wears and not feel like she has to be or act a certain way because of a marketing campaign. Maybe that is a difficult task for her and many others.

It's not like I don't have body issues and self-conscious doubts like anyone else. But I try not to let that hold me back. I've never been easily influenced by outside pressures. I don't buy things because others are or becase they're in style or because of a devotion to a designer or brand. I only buy what I like. I just want what I want. I've said it before but it bears repeating- I don't care about a pedigree, if I like it, I like it. End of story. Maybe I've always been more self-confident and strong-willed than others. Heck, you could even call me cocky rather than the kinder "self- assured". And that great for me, right? Is it being to simplistic to say that everyone can feel this way? Do I have too high of expectations of people and expect others to be as strong willed as I am. Is that unfair?

But I have faith in people. I don't think you HAVE to feel bad about yourself, no matter what the ads and society norms say. You can be whoever and however you are and still have fun with your clothes. Yes, you can get mad and be frustrated when you see something you like or want and you can't get it. That sucks, believe me, I've been there. But when that happens, don't get mad at yourself or your body shape. Get mad at the companies ... And let them know! I can't tell you how many times I've called and bitched at a company for not making my size. You can do it too. Don't just sit there moping that fashion hates you and women and is nothing but something that makes us all miserable. Fashion is, at least for me, just fun. That's probably why I have a schizophrenic eclectic all-over-the-damn-place wardrobe. One day I'm in a vintage-inspired lady who lunches look and the next I'm in black sequins, bones and knee-high combat boots. I'm enjoying it, even if I get some crazy looks.

I am energized and inspired by my blogger friends. Them much more so than any industry type. Editors and models that have access to everything do little to impress me with their so called "style". Individuals creating unique personality-filled looks with pieces thrifted, vintage and from regular stores are much more inspiring.

If you enjoy who you are, you can enjoy clothes and accessories too.


Anonymous said...

and what is your job ? what do you do ?

Poochie said...

Anon -

I work in Marketing & Advertising.

WendyB said...

Even if you didn't include me in the same sentence as that great Eleanor Roosevelt quote, I would love this post. I've always enjoyed your bold sense of style (especially the hats!). Take that, Tanya Gold. (And Disney!!!!)

Anonymous said...

yes i know this (from reading all your blog) but what do you actually do, i mean what are your responsibilities ? (i am asking because there are different areas of advertising)

Dream Sequins said...

This is amazing: "I don't think you HAVE to feel bad about yourself, no matter what the ads and society norms say. You can be whoever and however you are and still have fun with your clothes."

The author makes this tenuous connection between loving clothes or fashion to hating yourself. I love fashion AND I love myself. Great response.

Claire said...

I enjoyed your thoughts on both of these topics.

M said...

kudos on your strong sense of self, fashion is there to make us happy not miserable but in the end it's all up to ourselves to be happy with who we are

Cafe Fashionista said...

Kudos to you for speaking your mind and taking a stand for all of us fashion obsessed individuals. You are my new hero. That is all!! :)

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