Why I Don’t Hate Fashion

I’ve been meaning to do this post for a while. Me having a fashion blog is perhaps not what people who know me would expect. I have a reputation for being a bit of a tomboy, not really caring what I look like, waking up in the morning and picking up whatever I threw on my chair yesterday, and wearing the same outfit until it dies. This is fine, and it’s true, I tend not to really worry about what I’m wearing.

Having said that, I’m not a total stranger to fashion, or to putting together outfits I like; it’s just something I don’t do so often now that I am both married and incredibly busy. I used to work in a shoe shop, where I was required to wear the latest season’s whatever-it-was all the time, and to do my best to look like a human being; and one who knew about fashion, at that. And you know what? I enjoyed it. Sure, sometimes I just wanted to throw on some sweats and a hoodie and not brush my hair, but most of the time I liked dressing up a bit in the mornings. Why? I don’t know. I just did. Isn’t that reason enough?

One of the issues with being a woman who has a reputation for working hard and well, and for being intellectual, doing a lot of reading and being a bit of a tomboy, is that people assume you therefore aren’t interested in fashion. For some reason, fashion gets labelled along with celebrity gossip, reality TV shows and the Daily Mail as banes of society which people only bother about if they have nothing of substance in their lives. And that’s just not true. Well, maybe in the case of the Daily Mail…. 

And then a few months ago, I stumbled across this post by Tavi. And you know what? I thought it was really important. You should read it in its entirety. Well, I don’t know about ‘should’, but I recommend it. 

Tavi talks about people who say they hate fashion. People who dismiss it as stupid, and as being about following the crowds, when actually fashion – the beautiful bits of it – aren’t about that at all. As she says:

(click to enlarge)

Yes, I can be a serious intellectual person and still care about clothes that I find aesthetically pleasing, and about expressing myself through what I wear. It’s acceptable (or so I’ve found), to be interested in art, because “that’s culture”. It’s OK to be into photography, because “that involves skill”. It’s alright to enjoy cooking beautiful dishes, because “that’s useful”. But somehow, somewhere along the way, fashion ends up in the ‘unacceptable’ category, because “that’s just fashion, it’s dense and it’s for people who aren’t intellectual”. And you know what? I’m sick of that. It takes an awful lot of foresight to predict what next season’s trends will be. It takes a hell of a lot of cultural knowledge to be able to work out what will be popular at which time. It’s really difficult to be a good fashion designer, or a good fashion photographer, because the fashion world is constantly changing. 

Fashion isn’t about losing your individuality. It isn’t about being vacuous. It doesn’t mean you’re stupid if you like looking at things you find beautiful. Hell, if that were the case, it’d be difficult to find anyone with an ounce of intelligence. It doesn’t mean you’re not a serious, intelligent person if you like fashion. It doesn’t mean you’re annoying, or that you’re like those girls at school who you didn’t get along with. All it means is that you’re interested in an art form that you enjoy. And surely there’s nothing wrong with that. After all, what better means of self-expression can there be than wearing your art form on your body? 

Right, now I’m going to make myself a cup of tea and curl up with Vogue, because I can, and because I want to, and because that’s OK.

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