Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fashion's Most Needed Accessory: Confidence

We’re nearing the end of a decade, a time when fashion trends transcend, alter, and explode with options. This year, stores seem to be vomiting out styles from all eras but our own. Perhaps because we are so post-modern we do not need to have our own “look”; we can deconstruct and re-imagine old fads into fresh styles. I’m not complaining. I am only curious. For example, how does someone who purposefully wears Save By the Bell-inspired looks come off chic as opposed to some total nerdette sporting similar early 90’s-esque clothes? How can one person in shoulder pads look so dated when someone else with comparable fluff in the puffs look hip? Is it a matter of accessories? Makeup? Shoes? Hair? All of the above? Possibly. What really sells a look though, what really makes an outfit is confidence. A person can not pull of leggings without confidence. Sequins? Don’t even bother if you don’t have the pizzazz to go with them. Ruffles, feathers, lace? You better put on your badass face, because you’re not getting out the door without some pure self-assurance.

That’s the deal with the post-modern age. All the options of previous decades with no systematic reasoning for layers, combination or colors. You get to decide. That’s why it becomes important to care more about how you carry yourself than what covers your body. You can pull off any look if you believe in it. If it makes you feel beautiful or sexy or comfortable or whatever you want to feel that day. We should celebrate this regurgitation—this line-up of decades of fashion hits and misses—this neoliberal explosion—this total and utter style confusion--because after this is there anywhere left to go?

If every trend that has ever happened has now come back. If we can pretty much wear whatever we want and say it’s the latest fad, then are we at a stopping point in design? Can clothing be taken any further—or do we have to completely reconceptualize what it means? Does it mean anything, especially now that anything goes?

It’s like we have all the styles without any breakthroughs in thought or conceptions of the world. We are just stirring around the ideas we’ve been swimming through for the past century. Just like we’re mixing plaid grunge with 50’s pearls; Free love bell bottoms with cocaine cut-off sweatshirts; we can pull the looks off, but do they take us anywhere new?

Where do we need to go?

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