What Fashion’s Really About

“Fashion doesn’t shape identity, but it most certainly broadcasts it to the world.”

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I really loved Robin Givhan’s article on The Cut this week. She made a lot of good points about the fashion industry/game in general, but I wanted to focus on  a smaller point she made about what our obsession with fashion — something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately — is really all about.

“Ultimately, fashion is our personal spokesperson, but often what it has to say — through jeggings, harem pants, Ugg boots, Kanye West, and Kim Kardashian — is not in our best interest.”

Her words about the meaning of fashion in our lives really struck me at this venture in my life, as I approach a milestone birthday and I try to figure out if this is the path I want to be taking and how to turn my passion for style and beauty into something more, I felt it vindicating and yet grounding if that makes sense.  I really thought she summed up the role and relevancy of fashion in our lives incredibly well — in a way that didn’t make it feel frivolous but that didn’t it too seriously either, which I suppose was her whole point.

“Clothes, after all, speak not just to who we are, but who we would like to be. When fashion designers are truly on their game, they can anticipate a shopper’s unspoken desires, vulnerabilities, and secret aspirations.”

But the quote that really hit me was this last one about how fashion is our way of showing the world who we wish we were. It’s so very true — and something that in the past has been construed as a bad thing, but I actually think it’s a good thing. It’s a tool we take in a way to become that person. The modern-day version of dress up is our way of, in the words of Ben Affleck, it’s how we “act as if” or fake it until we make it. It’s our armor but also our sword in that sense — and not so frivolous if it does the job — and we let it.

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