30 December 2010
Day 278: At Home
There is a whole section devoted to dress for the Dressing Room Chapter and how fashion has not only been ridiculous but lead to serious illnesses and even death. My fiance does not get fashion. He is not capable of snappy dressing on his own and is only just presentable when his mother and I help him dress up (some of this is due to inability to afford nice clothes/not enough effort put into thrift store shopping). At one point I was talking to him about what care of dress expresses to potential employers and how a very outdated suit or dressing habits would send the wrong signals. His response was to get flustered and say in a raised voice, "Well that's just stupid."
Well, yes. It is stupid. Fashion is a completely arbitrary set of rules, usually dictated by people of wealth or power, or at the very least publicity whoredom. On the other hand, dressing allows us to express ourselves in a certain way. Without fashion, that expression would actually have less meaning. There are different fashions for different subsets of people, and by donning one over another we tell people, "I am more comfortable associating myself with this than with that." Of course it also means that people will judge us positively or negatively based on how we are dressed and their associations of other people wearing those clothes. For instance, I still have a very hard time taking anyone seriously who wears baggy jeans anywhere below their waist. Also, low rise jeans are tacky, no one wants to see your ass crack/thong combo.
Basically, as ridiculous and unnecessary as fashion seems, it does have its place in our society. And of course there are ways around the dictates of fashion by buying clothes that have classical lines. If people are careful with their dress clothes purchases, they should be able to wear the same suit for at least 10 years before it needs replacing, and that's really only because in 10 years your body shape will change enough that at the very least the suit ought to be taken in for an alteration. In the meantime, you may need to buy a new tie or dress shirt to keep up with current trends in collars/buttons/colors/decollete.
However, looking good is always in fashion, and if you and your friends think you look good in something, by all means keep wearing it. And I do recommend getting the opinion of honest friends, because we all form attachments to clothes and just because you think it looks good, doesn't mean that your friends aren't going to gasp in shock and horror for wearing that terrible shoulder-padded sequined number to the New Year's Eve Party.
My review can be found on Goodreads.
LibsNote: This ARC was received from a publishers booth at ALA 2010.
EditorNote: Fashion is still stupid. :P