Friday, April 21, 2006

fashioning a philosophy on fashion

Firstly, I would like to mention a story that I read in The Art of Happiness by the Dali Lama on how he resists material temptation. He is in a store with bountiful, colorful, attractive items, be it food or clothing and (to adopt the very apt tag line of the grocery store Garden of Eden) there is temptation in every aisle. Something interests him, he approaches it, holds it in his hand and pauses for a moment and asks himself, "do i REALLY need it" and usually the answer is "no". He puts it down and moves on.

So, my first idea on fashion is that it is intensely frivolous and only the weak are hypnotized by its useless offerings. Most things are not needed and there are more important things to spend money and energy on.

BUT THEN why will a new raincoat from banana republic make me feel better after a terrible day, it shouldn't, but it does, maybe it is because I am weak. Maybe I know that only the weak give in to material goods because I am a weak myself. BUT when I have a great day and am feeling strong I have also been known to reward myself with clothing or shoes or jewelry.

and it feels good...period.

Which brings me to my next point, can you be a woman in our society, especially in Manhattan and be treated with respect if you are chronically dressed terribly. I think not. Which is why wearing nice things makes you feel nice, because you are also being treated nicely by others, it is a classic feedback mechanism.

On the topic of shoes. Lets not even mention comfort, because face it you know when you are wearing shoes for comfort, or wearing them for style and even though I have resisted this and toiled, tossed and turned... never the twain shall meet. or practically never.

On the corner of my block there is a bodega and during the warm months of the year about 10 to 15 Hispanic men stand outside drinking coronas and playing the radio. It is impossible to walk by unnoticed if you are a woman. BUT it is possible to cause less of a stir guessed it...your shoes are flat. I always knew that heels were traditionally sexy, but this is such an obvious display of how men react to them. Now keep in mind these particular men love to react, they wait on that corner all day waiting to react to something, so it is not totally a diverse cross-section of men. Nevertheless, i have noticed that if i am wearing a loose dress, that is not traditionally sexy, but heels, inevitably a cat call will be heard on high.

So what is it about high heels, are they sexy because they elongate the legs? is that it? I have this theory, that is truly uncomfortable and terrible to think of but here goes: Are women more vulnerable if they are in heels, as in can they be pushed over and taken advantage of easier? as i said truly terrible, but i am sort of looking at it from a purely biological point of view i suppose. Males wanting to spread their genes at all costs.

But with all the above said i cannot say that i have struggled free from this noose made of twisted clothes and jewelry all hanging from one beautiful Italian green pump hooked to a rafter above. i think the opposite is true.

In fact I think the reason why i have given this so much thought is because i am drawn to clothing and appreciate fabrics and colors tremendously. i almost started to cry once in the basement of abc carpet and home because i was surrounded with such an amazing display of luxurious fabrics. my maternal grandmother worked for saks 5th avenue as a dress maker and my mother and her side of the family have a certain reverence for quality craftsmanship in fabrics and clothing. I feel the same, but dont totally have the income to live up to this legacy.

another is this, fashion evolves. Every season it is different. that is a coincidence because i also am evolving. with each new spring i must have at least 5 different ideas than i did last year at this why not show it. Wanting to dress exactly the same year after year shows that you are in some way rigid in thoughts, actions and ideas.

so open up your closet and open up your mind!

I cannot separate myself from this clothing driven culture entirely and I dont think I really want to. Maybe the cloak of fashion fueled guilt is really what I have to shed. Nothing bad is going on when I buy clothes, it is just me taking care of myself.

No comments:

Post a Comment