Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Why Fashion?

Fashion is ever changing and morphing into something new and exciting. It never stays the same for long, and like a water fountain, it recycles the old and makes it new again. The only way to truly stay up to date on what other people are saying about fashion and keep with the trends is by being observant and doing your homework. There are a myriad of ways to do this, but my personal favorites are reading magazines and blogs, going shopping and even just people watching. But why do people even care about what the new hip trend is you may ask? Why do people spend their entire lives studying something that is always changing and to some, has no value whatsoever? People love fashion because it gives them a lift from the mundane of everyday life, it is a fun past-time or hobby, and it gives people a way to track history as it is being made.
I have always felt bad for people who are blind because of all the color they miss out on in life. The world we live in is full of such exciting textures, hues, depths and colors. How boring would it be if we all ran around in gray jumpsuits or the same jeans and black t-shirts? The way we dress can define us in ways we don’t even realize. It may seem like an unconscious choice you make in the morning to choose the yellow shirt or the red shirt, but you are choosing an aspect of the way that people view you and you are choosing how you are going to impact the world of color. Stephanie Maddux said, “In today's world, fashion defines a culture, the status in which society sees you, it defines the type of people that you hang out with, the type of attitude that you may have…Clothing defines your personality and your way of life. Apparently, living by the way of fashion has become a standard in life.”[i]
Choosing what you wear and being excited about that choice can give you a lift on a bad day, make you feel empowered, and take away some of the gray that so often fills our lives. This is especially apparent around springtime. Glenda Bailey, editor of Bazaar magazine said, “A new fashion season always gives us a lift, and although the word may be overused, the spring collections felt decidedly fresh.”[ii] So make a statement, embrace something new and give the world some color and something to talk about.

Some people don’t consider clothes to by anything more than a way to cover themselves so they don’t have to join a nudist colony. For others, it is a job that fills their entire lives. They track fashion shows and follow the trends like some people follow the stock market. These people track the trends and then tell us commoners what they find: “The New York shows were full of paisley…with trippy Beatles-take-a-jaunt-to-India swirls and brocades and ’20-era flappers. Right on New York’s heels, London was chockablock with the tech-no eye candy of digital prints.”[iii] For many, like myself, fashion is just a fun hobby that brings them joy and satisfaction. This group may see fashion as a challenge like Rajni Lucienne Jacques: “Every spring I go on a journey to find a not-too-high sandal that satisfies me as much as my usual heels. [I want] cutesy and chic all at once.”[iv] Or maybe all it will entail is a trip to the mall every now and again to buy a few new pieces and get rid of some of the old.

One of the biggest reasons people are interested in studying fashion is because of its historical value. How often do you remember a date or a certain time period in history without having a picture of what the clothes looked like in that era pop up in your mind? So it shall also be with our generation. Suzy Menkes said, “There is a sea change in fashion for spring 2012—and not just by way of the underwater themes that were captured I the pearls at Chanel, sharks’ teeth at Givenchy, and crustaceous corals at Alexander McQueen. A generational change and the techno revolution have brought a shift in attitude that may turn out to be the defining spirit of the 21st century’s second decade.”[v] What will be our overarching defining characteristics that our children will make fun of us for in the future? Will it be the peplum which Bazzar magazine says is “the season’s most modern look—and for that matter, one of it’s most flattering,” or “straight-cut trousers [that] impart instantly cool polish”?[vi] Whatever they may be, it is only through having an interest and study of fashion that any of this will matter in years to come.

 No matter what you might throw on in the morning, someone somewhere made important decisions to have those clothes land in your closet. No one can go through life without fashion or clothing impacting him or her in some way and this is why study of the subject is so important and useful. People love fashion because of the way it defines and gives color to our lives, because it gives people a fun hobby to enjoy and because it defines history in a way nothing else can. So the next time you slide open a drawer or push open a closet door to choose what to wear in the morning, know that your decision could change the world.

[i] Stephanie Maddux, “Fashion: Does Fashion Define Who You Are?,” last modified July 17, 2009, http://voices.yahoo.com/fashion-does-fashion-define-3797678.html.

[ii] Glenda Bailey, “Editor’s Letter,” Bazaar, Spring 2012, 156.

[iii] Lisa Armstrong, “The Shape of the Season,” Bazaar, Spring 2012, 235.

[iv] Rajni Lucienne Jacques, “Hottest Style News This Minute,” Glamour, March 2012, 160.

[v] Suzy Menkes, “The New Season,” Bazaar, Spring 2012, 380.

[vi] “The Style: Where Fashion Gets Personal,” Bazaar, Spring 2012, 199.


  1. I had never really thought of fashion as a historical time marker. I really enjoyed the points you brought up in this post. Maybe some more sources or photos to show examples of different trends throughout time. - Natalie Star

  2. The last paragraph reminded me of the part in Devil Wears Prada when Meryl Streep is explaining how the color cerulean filtered through fashion until it ended up in Anne Hathaway's closet. :)

  3. I was totally going to quote that in one of my articles Izzy, but it was too long and I wouldn't have known what to cut out because the whole monologue is just so great! Meryl Streep just amazes me! :)

  4. Love the design of this blog. The main text font may be a hair too light for good readability, though. Could just be my screen. Anyhow, I think Natalie's point about expanding on the historical context of clothes is a good one. And if it were me, I might even touch on how clothes are symbols of more than just status but one's actual caste in society.

    Overall, though, your enthusiasm for, and familiarity with the topic have me sold.

  5. This is a great blog! When i was reading about the history of fashion I was wondering about the social importance and relevance in history. Fashion does have a heavy social aspect that plays in our lives of how other individuals interact with you. You're clothes you wear whether you want to them to or not help construct your persona. A man is dirty rags with be treated differently than a man in a black suit. So, may be more information on the social side of fashion, and its importance to have an acceptable self image.

  6. It is crazy how people view and treat you differently according to what you do or don't wear. I have two wardrobes: my lazy painter/aquarist wardrobe, and my designer wardrobe. I have been snubbed for wearing sweats and a t-shirt in the wrong place, and asked on a date by someone hiding in the bushes, watching people walk by, wearing a green silk shirt, skinny jeans, and Aldo boots among other things. Great blog!

  7. It's nice to see you've improved greatly on this post from the draft I had read earlier. I'm also happy you removed the colorblind part, since we do see colors! Now for some general critique on your blog. I love that you have a logo you made, and I love the word "Meandering"! The background and the text have nice context, but the navigation links at the bottom are difficult to see. It's also hard to see your hyperlinks, I almost didn't see them. I suggest underlining them or making them a more discernible color like blue or red. Also, I think it's pretty cool that you have actually got in to blogging on your own! - Mike Jones

  8. Obviously you've chosen to treat this blog much differently than the rest of the class. I think there are a lot of conflicting things on your blog that serve to sort of void your arguments. I think mixing posts about your recent breakup, jesus, and the importance of fashion just serves to make fashion as important to me as your breakup. I think this should've been an argument for "Why Fashion?" is important, not just a collection of cheery thoughts about fashion. I think statements like, "So the next time you slide open a drawer or push open a closet door to choose what to wear in the morning, know that your decision could change the world." are a bit childish and unconvincing. Your argument on the historical importance of the topic was good. I think developing more points on a similar note to that would serve your argument well.

  9. I do think that your blog reflects with the topic. I like the side bar that you added and the coordination with colors, it ties the blog in together. I like how you are incorporating things from your everyday life because, that is new media. That is why we have these blogs. Your love for fashion is a part of you, just as your religion is. And I actually think that this blog is more important to you than others that are just doing it, "for the class."