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!)