Why can’t we just dress up with clothes we are most curious about?
With no inhibition.
With no pressure from what others might think about us.
With no advice from the fashion experts.
With no risk of going to jail.
And by suggesting that, I mean, choose from any century and any style.
I recently read an article in Intelligent Life on what clothing through the centuries fitted what body type.
Very intelligent article.
Very intelligent magazine.
I thought about body types and how some people feel pressured – by a magical force, media, or their own insecurities – to dress up in current trends that don’t necessarily flatter their bodies.
For instance, a common phenomenon in summer is Rubens’ type females wearing shorts and skirts so skimpy that they can easily be used as dental floss at some point.
Or, to take a current trend: everyone wearing skinny jeans.
‘Skinny’ means that the pant, like a wrapping foil sticks to your skin and becomes second skin. It mightily squeezes every cell and sinew of your legs into bumpy lumps which begin to throb nervously, ready for cooking in moderate temperature. Except, of course, if you’re Jane Birkin skinny.
Literally, all you’re left with is the thought of having succeeded to fit in your society (yeah, like the pants will help?), a pounding headache (and you wonder why) and itchy feet.
And let’s not mention where the itchy feet are clutched into.
Why can’t we wear crinolines when we go grocery shopping, for instance?
Not everyday, of course, they don’t really look comfortable or compact.
But, just for fun minus the judgement and the possible detention at the local police station.
Or swords and helmets as accessories?
Ok, never wear swords when traveling!
With tight airport security nowadays, that’s granted: NO scissors, explosives, guns, swords, lances or daggers.
But the choice of wear is absolutely thrilling and unlimited if we were unburdened by fashion trends and accepted norms.
As the Intelligent Life article went – there’s the Edwardian clothing, then the 40s, the 60s, the colourful 70s.
And how about wearing other cultures’ national costumes?
Look at the Damascus guys on the photo below.
My husband will really have a good laugh about the hat the guy in the middle is wearing.
Of course as long as it’s on my head!
Why do we have to wait on a palmful of designers to tell us, ok this year you guys should wear Gatsby period clothing.
And everyone goes, alright, now that the 20s are allowed, we no longer look crazy.
Get the cloche hat out (think condom in a cotton fabric), it’s so in right now!
Do we have to wait on designers to tell us next year that crinolines, corsets and metal helmets are in?
As the Intelligent Life article went, depending on your figure, you could find an outfit that both flatters your figure and makes you feel comfortable.
But, how can we find the best fit when we’re limited to look for it in today’s accepted norms and today’s dictated trends?
For instance, how can an hourglass figured lady find comfort and aesthetics in skinnies or minis or 20s low-waisted midis, when she’d look great (and outshine a boyish Daisy girl) in an Edwardian ensemble, which, alas, isn’t IN?
Of course, not finding what flatters you, or refusing to do so, doesn’t mean jumping into sweatpants and tracksuits, either.
Good gracious, who invented those.
Where I come from we have a town in the ‘deep’ south whose citizens are famous for wearing tracksuits all the time.
So much so that we have a famous joke about them.
Or who knows, it may well have been a true story.
A local goes into a clothes store to buy a new tracksuit.
The salesgirl asks him, ‘casual or for a wedding?”.
Tracksuits in combination with shoes other than sneakers and a lady’s purse!
Arrrr, that’s like putting aubergines in a tiramisu.
But then, think about all the confusion that humans could cause if they decided to go against trends.
War on trends.
War on governments and codes.
Go figure who’s muslim or catholic, who’s a priest or who is male and female.
I mean, half the teenage population of the western society is doing it already.
You can’t tell who’s 12 and who’s 21 anymore.
If everybody started wearing absolutely anything from any century and time, it would have been a total madness on the streets, in the play park – imagine our kids, the moms and dads (in Robin Hood green tights), what fun that could be.
Or in theatre!
You wouldn’t be able to tell who’s part of the cast and who’s from the audience.
I’d personally be interested to wear a burka.
Out of curiosity.
To see what Afghani women see.
It’ll probably last a couple of hours – me wearing it, not my curiosity – especially in the Maltese heat.
Another clothing I’d try wearing is a cloak.
Wouldn’t that be fun?
And to add more fun to it, I’d get a wand as accessory – instead of the standard bracelets and earrings.
What fun would that be then, the colour and movement this idea would add to western denim clad societies.
Imagine walking into a restaurant – people dining normally, wearing stuff that comes from BC to AD, pirate costumes, princesses’ gowns, and clown shoes and noses.
Imagine queuing at a grocery store – “excuse me, Sir, your parrot is picking on my baguette, could you put it on your other shoulder?”
Imagine at work! “The boss isn’t wearing boxers under the toga, again…”
To borrow Morrison’s exclamation, “Oh, the humanity!”
Joking aside, this whole satire has a point.
I have a hunch that liberating ourselves from fashion norms will liberate us from how we take ourselves as beings, and ultimately – how we behave with other beings.
I’d definitely feel uptight and a bit ‘special’ wearing a Chanel outfit instead of a shiny pink tracksuit with a Chinese conical hat while sipping coffee in a Parisian cafe.
The societal perceptions, moreover, will be different in either case.
In the first one – I’ll be perceived as a rich chick; in the second one – as an insane chick.
I’m certain of that.
But what if everybody mishmashed their outfits and had fun dressing up everyday?
Then you would have to really dig deeper into the person to find out who he or she really is.
Clothes are and have always been a label of status, a metaphor for who we are, and a disguise to whatever we’re hiding.
Because everybody hides, the way everybody lies.
But to many (especially the younger generation) clothing seems to have also become a regulator to our mood, a driver of our dreams and an important part of our precious little time.
I wish governments opened up a position for Minister of Fashion.
I’d definitely contest for it.
For the sake of our young.
Better yet, if the United Nations had a position of some sort, like UNHCF – United Nations High Commissioner for Fashion.
I’d definitely want to get that post!
Then, I’d incentivise people to dress up only in a way that takes them out of their personal comfort (but keep it decent, of course, and less sharp objects).
I’d make conflicting societies dress in the ‘enemy’s national costumes.
I’d impose sanctions to those who keep it ‘standard’ – with a pair of jeans and a T-shirt – who think they’ll get away hiding their real personalities behind a pair of jeans and a T-shirt.
I’d organize a world day on cross dressing and cross cultural dressing and across the centuries dressing and celebrate the liberation of our apprehensiveness, conventionality, and false pretence that’s been hiding all along behind a suit or something denim.