Saturday, April 14, 2012

Fashion? Meh...

I don't get fashion.

Anyone who knows me will tell you it's true. I hate "dressing up", and I hate the whole "dress for success" cult (I've always thought that if you can do the job, it doesn't really matter how you're dressed, as long as everything essential, according to our culture, is covered). And I really hate the idea that there are people who get paid to tell us how we should want to dress.

Give me shirts and jeans, and occasionally a longish, full, swishy skirt, and shoes that will keep my feet cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and I'll be perfectly happy.

The closest I come to really having any desire to pay attention to what I wear is when we're talking SCA (the Society for Creative Anachronism; those of us who like to go out of a weekend and pretend we're living in the Middle Ages). That's fun, although some of those dresses weren't very comfortable, and multiple layers aren't fun in the middle of a San Joaquin Valley summer afternoon.

But, ordinarily, clothes are just boring to me. I appreciate them for their service in covering up the private bits and whatever other body parts I'm not happy with (usually most of them). But I don't like thinking about them, and I don't like shopping for them. Occasionally, I enjoy looking through Vogue magazine, because some of the couture they feature is weird enough, and the photography is good enough, that looking at it is interesting sometimes. Other than that, I really just don't care.

So, why I am I writing about this, if it bores me so?

Well, I got started thinking about the whole issue while I was reading an essay on the Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo in film director John Waters's book of essays, Role Models (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010; 304 pages). I'm enjoying Waters's writing tremendously, but it was tough to get through the thirty-page essay because I couldn't work up much interest in an an anti-fashion fashion designer, whose clothes incorporate features that make them look old, or stained or misshapen on purpose, or in the associated issues that Waters brought up in the course of the essay. It wasn't a bad essay, by any means. It just wasn't interesting to me.

Additionally, from Waters's description, the designer doesn't sound like a very pleasant person. She comes across as dictatorial, and she is quoted early in the essay as saying that the thing that makes her laugh, something she apparently doesn't do very often, is "People falling down" (p. 96).

But then, a lot of designers seem to come off as awfully humorless and not very nice people when you think about it. There was the male designer, for example, whose name I can't remember right now and who I don't care to publicize by name anyway, who criticized singer Adele recently regarding her weight (he thought she was too fat). Most of them seem to design for a size that most women just aren't. They probably do that for men, too, but I don't know anything about the designing of men's clothes, so I can't really say for sure.

Which brings me to what is probably the root cause for my disinterest in fashion. I've never walked in to a store to buy clothes and found anything that will really fit me correctly. Of course, the designers would say that it's my fault because I'm not what you'd call thin. I've got a big butt and breasts that are too big for a B cup but too small for a C cup. I know there are other women who have this shape to their body. I know it.

Not that the designers are interested in acknowledging my shape. If I buy a shirt or dress that fits my top, it's too tight for my hips. If I buy a shirt or dress that fits my hips, it's two or three sizes too big on top. It's just ridiculous. And it's no use saying that I should just make my own. Even if I was a much better seamstress than I am (I make SCA garb when I have to, and then only with lots of help; sewing is something that I don't love to do), garment patterns aren't shaped any differently for the DIY seamstress than they are for store-bought clothing, as far as I've ever been able to tell.

Why would I enjoy shopping for clothes when nothing ever fits, and nothing ever would even if I lost weight, since the first place I lose in in my boobs and the last place I lose in in my hips. Losing weight just makes the problem worse, not better, to be honest. It's just an exercise in frustration all around.

I suppose I could join a nudist colony. I understand that all shapes and sizes of people engage in that sort of thing. And all the best to them, if that's what they want to do. At least, they escape the tyranny of the fashion industry. But, you know, that's just not for me. I'm kind of modest about that sort of thing. When I lived in a dorm that had a communal shower one semester, I took my showers at three in the morning rather than have to get naked in front of other people. I'm not against nudity in principle, but I'm definitely against it for myself.

So, I suppose, since my body grows and shrinks in its own special pattern, and since I have a difficult time losing weight anyway, thanks to stunt dieting when I was in high school that screwed up my metabolism on a permanent basis, I guess I'll just keep dressing in the things that fit me best, although they are not anywhere close to what anyone calls fashionable.

And, most likely, I'll remain pretty much completely uninterested in fashion.

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