Thursday, 20 March 2008

Do, do, do!

Tricia from bits & bobbins wrote about the Dos and the Don'ts of style. I posted a comment on her blog but figured that since the topic is very hairy indeed, I would write about it in detail. So here it goes:

We all know the usual suspects: Don't wear black and navy together. Match your bag with your shoes. Make sure to balance off a voluminous top with a skinny bottom. The list is endless. Then there are the ones based on current trends: Only wear wide-legged jeans this summer. Flowers and stars are the thing for this season, leave other patterns unless you want to look unfashionable. Tricia asked who these types of rules are for. Who needs them? Why are people afraid of sporting an individual style?

At first I thought that it is just about people being scared. No one wants to look stupid, and if you have someone telling you that you will be looking stupid in x, you will probably want to wear y. Women have to deal with a lot of mostly media-related pressure when it comes to the way they look and the way they are. If you are not rich, skinny, intelligent, talented and whatever else, you are not worth much. Of course you get fearful. To combat the fear, you better be what is being expected of you. After giving this theory more thought, I figured that the whole thing runs way deeper than that. It is a 1984-type of scenario.

The capitalist system is based on profit. If the system makes enough profit, it will be able to maintain itself. In order to make profit, one has to keep the costs down and make sure that people spend money. How do you make people spend money? Well, you do that by making people think that their self-worth depends on it. When it comes to fashion and style, the key is to spend money because you can. L'Oreal says it best: buy our shampoo because you're worth it. Don't buy it because of us, buy it because of you. So far, it's brain washing. But I have a feeling it is even worse.

What if there is a superduper global tycoon out there, who has decided that he needs to sell more cotton this year? The price of cotton is up, now would be a good time to make money. In come wide-legged jeans. Super flares. More flare, more fabric, more cotton being sold. Add a bunch of fashion magazines and other forms of media that also depend on how much people consume, and there you have it. A big conspiracy to make us buy flares simply because our worth is supposedly dependent on it!

This is scary stuff. To protest, I decided to go against the grain and mix red with green. That is probably worse than black and navy. (And for the record, I always mix black and navy!)


Ranna said...

Fortunaly there's no such tycoon, who could define what is and isn't stylish or fashionable.
To sell things, you need to win over the masses and that truly isn't an easy task no matter how much money you spend on advertising.

Great post, by the way.
I always mix navy and black as well. Oh, and I love to combine red and purple even though I've read that's the last thing you shoud do. Not to mention mixing black with brown.

Those petty little "style rules" are horrible. Fashion designers don't obey them and neither should anyone else. I guess they are ment for people, who like to look stylish but don't want to stand out or put that much effort into dressing themselves up.

(By the way - I'm totally enchanted by your blog. It's so nice to find stylish finns from the fashion blogosphere!)

The Waves said...

ranna, thanks for your comment! You are right, I think a lot of people are not interested in standing out, which is kind of ironic in these Western societies that talk about individuality and freedom to express yourself..!

Vasiliisa said...

I'm catching up with my blogs, hence all comments in a row...

I think some people certainly aren't interested in expressing themselves this way, via their clothes. They just aren't so inclined. For them, I think "you can wear whatever you wish, use your creativity" can be just as bad advice as offering dos and don'ts. Neither is very helpful, and both convey the idea that you must dress to impress. I certainly wish those people could just wear something that keeps them warm and live happily, expressing themselves in ways they're talented in. But that's not how things are. Instead, even people who have hidden creativity in this area are taught never to use it. Oh well!

The Waves said...

Vasiliisa: that is a good point. There are a lot of people who just aren't into all this stuff, and it must be tough for them to try and cope in an environment where the fashion police, the people you work with, whoever, sees you as a target. Wow, I have never thought how difficult it would be to figure out what types of clothes to buy if I was only concerned with being warm and comfortable..! Can't be easy trudging your way through an endless jungle of images, styles, trends and expressions which mean nothing to you!