My love of dressing-up comes with the disappointed resignation that my appearance is that of someone who hasn’t seen sunlight for about twenty years. Luckily, I discovered that fashion is a great way to hide those unfortunate genetic imperfections that your parents kindly bestowed on you. I used to think of my clothing as a suit of armour against a world which really doesn’t look kindly on those of us less blessed with beauty. Now however, it’s more like a Game of Thrones style war banner: I’m going to give you hell, and you should be able to see that before you even engage with me.
Unfortunately, somewhere along this road to great dress sense, I lost my way and this became a massive fashion snob who takes great care to point out my necklace was sold to me in a tiny bazaar at a car boot sale by a mystical wanderer who promised me no one in the world had the same.
In hindsight, I’ve made a lot of mistakes when it comes to presenting myself aesthetically. So I decided to write a list of all the things I wish someone had told me a couple years ago, and that I wish I could tell people now:
1) A bargain is only a bargain if you wear it: spending £20 on something you wear all the time is better than £2 on an item you haven’t worn once.
2) Understand the difference between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation. For instance Urban Outfitters recently offended by appropriating the name Navajo, referring to a nation of Native Americans, in their racially demeaning clothing line without any credit to the Navajo people. What is not fine is taking something significant in a religious or cultural way and using it out of context and with no consideration of its history or importance. While I don’t really get a say in this because it is not my culture that is being appropriated I urge you, for instance, to stop wearing bindis unless you are actually of that religion, and please listen to what those who have issues with our use of their culture before you incorporate it into your fashion.
3) You are not superior because you pay more for clothes
4) You are not superior because you pay less for clothes
5) You are not superior because you shop designer
6) You are not superior because you shop second-hand
7) You are under no obligation to dress for anybody but yourself; you can wear whatever you like.
8) On the flip side: do not let anyone force you into dressing like an individual if you like following the crowd. Much like popular music, people gravitate towards certain trends and the desire to conform in fashion is natural and acceptable.
9) There is no such thing as “on-trend”. I am reading a magazine right now that says floral is the catwalk rule this season, but turn over the page and it turns out metallic are ruling the runways. Nobody really knows; the only thing certain is that flares are out.
10) Crossing dressing is the future, but not in the way that you think. I simply mean check the boys section if you are looking for shirts, jackets or t-shirts; they are often cheaper and offer an even wider choice. T-shirts can be made more feminine by adjusting the neckline and sleeves. Extra fun can be had by scaring the life out of boys when they spot they are wearing the same jumper as you, and fumble desperately for the label to prove to their mates they bought it from a male clothing line.
11) Boys, if you are well dressed, I am 100% more likely to forgive your haircut
12) Be prepared to be judged on your clothing, because the expression “don’t judge a book by its cover” is the most ridiculous phrase: that’s what the cover is there for.
13) This doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, by paying attention to someone’s clothes you can strike up conversation that could lead to a friendship, or at least a good label recommendation.
14) You are no less feminine for not caring about clothes: it is not a prerequisite for womanhood to enjoy shopping anymore then it is necessary to like sports to be a man.
15) Fuck sizes. Just…fuck ‘em. It’s a proven scientific fact that 0.000001% of the global population are what the fashion industry deems an acceptable size, and even if you are that skinny you probably won’t have those mythically perfect proportions that can, quite frankly, suck my balls.
Basically, if anyone laughs at you or gives you shit for how you dress, you have my permission on spit on their shoes, and strangle them with their own shirt. I was co-head of my technical theatre club in school, so I have authority. Print this out and use it in any courtroom of your choice.