Friday, 23 November 2012

Passion in Fashion

Alexi Lubomirski for Harper's Bazaar

Forgive the long preamble: I'm studying The House of Bernarda Alba (or La Casa de Bernarda Alba in its original form) by Frederico Garcia Lorca at the moment - it's a play centering around a mother and her five unmarried daughters in a claustrophobic Spanish town. It's known as 'a tragedy of the women of Spain', in which the women are oppressed by the patriarchal society. This is represented buy the fact that these women are kept contained inside their mother's house, all of them dressed in black against the white background, making everything strikingly monochromatic. As soon as any of them try to break out from this, for instance when the youngest sister wears a green dress, the others inform on her or enforce the tyranny of the household. While the play was written prior to the Spanish civil war, there are certainly strong indications that this was a statement about the oppression of the fascist movement. However, I think that by using the green dress as a symbol of rebellion and freedom, Lorca was referencing a universal idea. Controlling what people wear is often a symbol for the control of all their other rights to do, think, and say as they please.

Photo by me
What I'm trying to say here is that in both fiction and reality, being told what to wear is a form of control - after all, what are school uniforms for? So when we have the opportunity to break free of these constraints, should we not take full advantage of that chance? I for one think that since we live in a free society, it makes sense to dress as passionately and individually as we think.  I'm not saying we should do a Dello Russo and wear the craziest creations and colours we can find, I just think that if you follow all trends with no thought to how much you actually like the look, you won't be passionate about what you're wearing, and that's kind of sad.

Anna Dello Russo
A while back, I was in Australia feeling homesick and powerless as the London riots were happening back home. I did the only thing I could, and used this blog as a platform for my thoughts. I couldn't understand why people were tearing apart their own city in an act of rebellion without a cause, when there are so many more effective and less destructive ways of protesting. And one of these is through fashion. So that's one way to put passion into what you're wearing; support a cause you believe in. Personally, I'm after a No More Page 3 T-shirt right now, because that's something I feel strongly about.

Photo from the No More Page 3 Tumblr
But what I'm really saying here is that the ways you can express yourself through fashion are endless. You can use it to reference your favourite TV shows, books and films using anything from charms subtly inspired by the stories to all-out fan T-shirts. You can reflect your mood by wearing bright colours when you're feeling good, or even  use it to improve your mood by dressing fabulously when you're having a bad day. Practicality always comes into outfits, but if you know what kind of clothes you love, you can make choices of raincoats, sunhats, flat shoes etc. that don't compromise the excitement you feel about getting dressed.

Of course, for those of us with a limited income, it can often feel like it's easy to get excited about those gorgeous, unattainable items which we can never afford, while things within our price-range tend to be a bit boring. Well, if that's the way you feel, try going a while without buying anything new. I haven't been purchasing much lately, and I think it's actually helped me to feel excited about even the most basic new piece. I think there is a major problem with our consumerist society in that we are so used to having new things that the excitement wears off and it's difficult to stay passionate about any new clothes for a long time, leading us to just buy more and more. Going cold turkey for a month or so is a great way to rediscover the pure and simple joy of buying something special. Plus, you'll have saved a load of money so might be able to invest in something you've been lusting after for ages - much better than a quick fix of whatever's on sale!

Save up for an investment piece instead of just buying anything - form The Coveteur

That's all for now. Just remember: fashion is about enjoying yourself and being enthusiastic about what you're wearing. If you're just following the lead of a fashion trend you're not really that into, then surely the way you wear your clothes will be different, because people will be able to tell that you aren't confident in your style. Have fun and stay passionate about fashion!
David Dunan for Blanco


ReluctantFemme said...

As someone who spent a lot of time dismissing fashion as frivolous, it's been really eye opening for me to come across people like yourself who really do treat fashion as another art form, a medium for self expression. It's quite fascinating.

Unknown said...

Found your blog through IFB and I love what you have to say here.
I went to a private school growing up and we had a very strict dresscode (now they have uniforms). It was hard to express yourself through the limitations the dresscode imposed on you.
Love that you're thinking outside the box and congrats on the IFB Links ala Mode!


Unknown said...

Congratulations for making it into this week Links a la mode!! Great post!
❤ xoxo ❤

Devon - InformedStyle said...

Love the post - the LALM selection is very well deserved.

Makes me want to re-examine what my clothing choices are - are they really saying what I want them to say? Must make sure I've got my self-expression on.