Monday, February 1, 2010

No One Is A Fashion Know-All

I have considered Fashion as a philosophy of Life. And Philosophy is a big word to me. It deals with existentialism, knowledge, language, values and it thrives on such a broad spectrum that as long as you know how to justify, everything becomes some form of philosophy or another. Fashion is an expression of freedom, a form of inner knowledge to the insiders, speaks a language of its own to people who understand and like it or not, your clothes speak for who you are. Maybe not all of it but by a good measure.

I especially like posts which correlates clothes and fashion with thoughts -- linking them to the surroundings, harmonizing them with culture, tempering two wildly diverse natures into one, not unlike something like this. A good example would be the way how Rebecca Bloomfield (Confessions of a Shopaholic) gained popularity with "The Girl in the Green Scarf" column in Successful Savings -- being able to strike up a similarity between fashion and investment. I've never been a dismal dresser. Sloppy yes but never in a dismal way. You'll never go wrong with basics. You'll never manage to look wrong in a plain black tee with a good cut and a pair of fitting jeans and I'm waiting for someone to prove me wrong. You might look common but no, never wrong. And sometimes, being wrong might just turn out .. unexpectedly right. You only have to look at Anna Piaggi to know. I know how you might beg to differ and proclaim that Fashion can never be wrong since it's a right to express. But tell me honestly, have you never looked at anyone walking along the streets and think to yourself "Gee, it's so wrong!". I know I have and I am ashamed of it. Since I wouldn't be caught dead wearing it doesn't mean that others with more courage than I have shouldn't. And that is what fashion unbiasness is about.

Who came up with what's right in the world to wear anyway?

Anna Piaggi by The Sartorialist

This year, I have tried a little more actively to dress up. In the past and even for the most part of now, I would never bother to dress up much if it's only for work. If I'm going out with friends after or attending some party, that's a different story. Being in a job that allows maximum creativity and flexibility with no requirement of powersuits in the least (but draws the line at shorts), I am very lucky and should rightfully be capitalizing that right to its maximum potential. But I have not. If I know that I am going to meet very few people, I'll not turn up in my best. I'll probably just lug on whatever I see first in the mountain of clothes. I still don't think it's wrong because this method of dressing applies to possibly more than half the population living in Singapore.

People like my mother had told me repeatedly since young that it is nice to be able to dress well but it is unnecessary to if one doesn't have the means. As long as the clothes are kept clean and tidy with no holes, we should never be ashamed to appear in them. I have always scoffed at the idea (not in my mother's face of course unless I feel a desire to be whipped) but now that I am blogging about it, I think my mother is a more exemplary example of being more fashion unbiased than I am. Or maybe she is truly wise because Albert Einstein said the same.

If most of us are ashamed of shabby clothes and shoddy furniture, let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas and shoddy philosophies.... It would be a sad situation if the wrapper were better than the meat wrapped inside it.

I suppose that I do know inwardly that clothes do not make a flawed person more beautiful except externally just like how a beautiful face is only a pleasure to the eyes and a repulse to the soul should it come along with a mean spirit. But I've never been confident enough without appearing excessive because "just around the corner in every woman's mind - is a lovely dress, a wonderful suit, or entire costume which will make an enchanting new creature of her". Most people silently attest to the fact that fat people let themselves go even if they do not spell it out for the fear of being labelled 'insensitive'. Yet I could see it in their eyes. And the fact that most fat people appear dowdy, unfashionable and slightly greasy strengthened that belief. You might be enraged at my generalization but I am not another stick-thin creature who rants but does not understand. I belong to the world of fat. But god knows I've struggled hard in order not to be another statistic to the mounting perception. The country I live in is also not very forgiving to the plus-sized. We have few alternatives to allow ourselves to dress properly, much less to wear them well. We have to shy away from the shiny windows of shopping centres and trawl the lesser known areas that sell clothes that fit and usually these clothes are meant for the aged and have no style to speak of. There are no pleats, cinched waists, form-fitting cuts, cute skirts, appropriate details, delicate tulle to speak of. Fat Fashion is synonymous to a tablecloth with a a hole for the head and two holes for the arms. I find it insulting that we are treated with less dignity so because of this pride, I cannot possibly let myself go. In recent years, we have been a lot better in this part of the world. At least, we are starting to see Dorothy Perkins which runs up to Size 20 and Topshop and Miss Selfridge which brought up their sizes from 14 to 16. Then there is New Look. Little independent stores start to carry passably fashionable items so we are in a much better shape than what would have been 5 years ago except that Dorothy Perkins, Topshop, Miss Selfridge, New Look all hail from UK and could be expensive for those who do not earn nearly enough.

Now and then, I think I'll add in my blog some cost-saving fashion ideas for the horizontally-challenged tested by yours truly because even though we're fat, we should not be taken lightly. We should be allowed to live well and present our best to who we are trying to impress.

People seldom notice old clothes if you wear a big smile. -- Lee Mildon

Let's start first by accessorizing with a big smile!

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posted by The Merry Traveller at


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