submission for the adventureclubinteractive fashionssignment. by- Courtney
“Forseeing all kinds of adversities, she taught her to communicate in sign language, an indispensable strategy in forbidden love.” -Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Fashion is sign language.
(I struggled to reach this conclusion.)
At first, this week, I tried too hard, striving for an adventure that was real deep, and was beginning to feel overwhelmed by all things fashion. Trying to be, wear, create, look, and appear in fashion– was supposed to lend me clues as to- what’s the meaning? what’s the essence? what’s the point of this? Right?
It started in the mornings in front of my closet thinking, I don’t have time for this. I don’t have time to sort through old clothes or makeup my face. I don’t even have time to part my hair on the other side! I’m running late…
By the end of the week, sorting through the photos I had taken of unadventurous appearances made in unexciting outfits, I was ready to confirm my fashionssignment attempt a failure. A flop, like the droopy wetsuit I wore this week at the beach for one of my infrequent attempts at surfing. My surfing attempts are always a lot of fun. I don’t hang ten, so to speak, but I’m starting to…hang. So- wait, I’m getting to something- because what comes first anyway? Wearing the wetsuit and going surfing or surfing and having to wear a wetsuit?
Another example, suggestive of an eventual overhaul of the whole staring at the closet in the morning with indecision and feeling that fashion makes for pressure to make a choice: the T-shirt I chose to wear on Tuesday (photographed above.) I chose to wear it because I rarely wear things with slogans, words or brand names branded. Plus, Stephanie gave it to me and we both agreed that we weren’t sure what it entirely meant. It wasn’t what I had in mind at the outset for the assignment, of being adventurously fashionable, so I felt half-hearted in my attempt that day. Now, interestingly, to me the T-shirt words slogan make a little bit of sense based on how I have come to twist the logic of this whole endeavor. I got a lot of compliments on it. I think they were compliments inspired by confusion, but that was satisfying because that’s how I first felt about it too. Somehow I projected a conversation here and there by what I was wearing. Somehow I was noticed for what I was wearing. Somehow that was more significant than wearing something for the noticing… See what I’m getting at?
Another item I considered a part of the fashionssignment experience is a string of mala beads that were a special gift to me. I wear them very often and hesitated about including them for the assignment. While not an outrageous, exotic or extremely trendy as a statement- the necklace is an important fashion for me because it’s personal, precious and actually functional. (Mala beads are used for meditation.)
Finally, I took a picture of a pair of shorts that I bought this week at the $2 thrill store. It’s a clothing store that- you guessed it- sells everything for $2. Lately I have had a hard time “dressing up” more which was what I imagined this assignment might encourage me to do a little more, but there really never seemed a good reason to do so. What does that mean anyway…what is a good reason to worry about what you’re wearing? Aside from required uniforms and dress codes, what compels us- as adults- what to wear where, and why we wear what?
I have a hard time with jean shorts because they’re getting shorter and I’m getting older. And they change but they’re always still just denim cut-offs… It troubles me that you buy them brand new but they’re worn out with holes and they’re still just as expensive! And if- as I suspect we all tend to agree- fashion is a function of your age and is measurable by affordability as much as creativity- I wonder when I’ll just give up altogether, as I fear it will no longer be appropriate to wear what I wore when I was younger and I will no longer be able to justify buying the latest, that to me seems like the same old thing but a little less. I bought them for $2 because they fit and practicality wins again. Fashion must take a back seat to function. For thirty hours a week, I work with dark brown coffee and bright white bleach. For thirty hours a week, I prefer to wear the $2 version over the $200 version.
Fashion is a sign of the life that you live. When you have time to try and experiment with the clothes and accessories you own or seek to buy that’s great. When you do not take the time to make fashion a conscious choice, that’s fine. You still have it; your fashion never fades.
I believe that fashion is an expression of a style you already have. It’s a personal language. Words express thoughts from the inside out. Fashion expresses style from the inside out. I truly believe that style is as unique to an individual as their thoughts, beliefs and feelings. I don’t believe you can judge someone based on their fashion. It’s like taking someone seriously more for their words than their actions. It’s an illusion.
Fashion is a lagging indicator of style. Fretting about being fashionable is a waste of time. Fulfillment is in doing what you need to do and getting it done, as well as doing what you want to do and enjoying it fully. Deciding what you need to wear for the occasion is an easy decision when the occasions are fulfilling. When I’m in wetsuit I speak the dialect of waves and sand, cocktails and sunsets. When I choose to the same piece of jewelry everyday it’s not for anyone else to get tired of looking at and seeing me in, it’s because I can look at it tirelessly and see myself in it. The cheap long jean shorts work so I’m not worried about ruining something worth ruining at work. And it translates to working with one less thing to worry about, so I work a little harder.