Conformity is the only real fashion crime. To not dress like yourself and to sublimate your spirit to some kind of group identity is succumbing to fashion fascism.
It’s weird. I’ve been out of middle school for nearly two decades, and yet I still remember a lot of the arbitrary fashion ‘rules’ that seemed to govern what my female classmates and I wore in the seventh and eighth grades.
The uniform, for lack of a better descriptor, for parties and dances was stretchy, maybe flared black pants with some kind of sparkly or embellished top. And we wore black (again, stretchy) wedges.
I shuddered just typing that paragraph.
I also remember in the eighth grade, one of the girls in my geometry class pulling back the label on my sweater to see if she approved of the brand.
I guess that’s life at 12, 13, or 14-years-old, and today with social media, perhaps the pressure to conform is even greater. I’m 20 or so years removed from that period, but I still feel those intense pangs at times when scrolling through Instagram, reading fashion magazines, or binging on reality TV.
Those moments kind of suck. But on the contrary, it’s those moments when you decide to be a little different, somewhat unconventional, even a non-conformist, that can be really cool.
Case in point: I mostly work from home now, so I have a lot of flexibility in how I dress. But I also have items in my closet that don’t have obvious opportunities to be worn now that the business hours of my days generally revolve around my apartment, the gym, and a variety of coffee shops.
I could wear yoga pants eight days a week, and most of the time, I don’t think anyone would notice. But that’s not me.
Blame it on years of watching ‘What Not to Wear’ with my mom and being indoctrinated with the philosophy that it takes just as long to slip into sweats as it does to put on something tailored.
So when I have to throw on something a little dressier — like today — it can be a welcome break. It can also feel a little inauthentic.
That’s why, this morning, I thought why not embrace both ends of the spectrum? Just because everyone else is wearing a classic LBD (or sparkly, flared pants) doesn’t mean that I have to… and who cares what the brands are? I wore an over-the-top (by my standards) floral appliqué midi skirt with a $10 t-shirt and jean jacket today, and I felt like a total bada$$.
After all, isn’t that what fashion is all about?