Monday, 6 April 2015

Letting go of style as identity

I'm not a particularly artistic person, but I've always really relished the creativity of fashion. Although I buy all my clothes second-hand, over the years I've developed a style that is uniquely mine and most of my close friends can tell straight away when an outfit is 'me'.

But actually it's not me. The clothes I wear and the way I create myself with colour and pattern and style is nothing to do with who I am at all. So why do I find it so hard to let go of this style? Why do I feel less when the clothes I'm wearing are in my opinion too feminine, too butch or just too plain daggy? Why am I so attached to these pieces of fabric, these buttons, zips and elastic?

If I were naked and you did not know my name I would be just another human animal, and until we had been introduced there would be nothing to distinguish me apart from the slight peculiarities of my hair, my skin, my body shape. I am nothing special. I am nothing that you would write home about.

But with clothes I can pretend I am special, that I am different. I can look at others and sub-consciously make a judgement about how much more or less stylish I am than they are. I can present myself in such a way that I invite compassion or illicit lust. I can make people afraid of me, or I can put them at their ease. In other words, through my style I can manipulate others to see me the way I wish to be seen.

As I travel my small collection of clothes grows more and more faded, stretched and worn. I am bored by them and I crave the stimulation and excitement of something new, of seeing admiration in someone else's eyes. So I ask myself why my self-worth and identity is so tied up with style and I see that here is yet another burdensome attachment that does not serve me.

But as I let it go I remember something I once read somewhere: "Enjoy everything, need nothing." And when it comes to style I think this applies very well!

1 comment:

Julian said...

Great little article, and I like how you are honest in saying that we manipulate by deciding what to wear. Thanks for your honesty, and thanks for reminding us that letting go also includes fashion, as well as, 'things'