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February 24, 2019 11:56 pmComments are Disabled

I went shopping today with a panel of experts, otherwise known as three friends I roped into the activity, in an attempt to up my fashion game. This was one of my New Year’s resolutions, probably one of the hardest ones I have this year.

Like popular culture, fashion is something I have never, ever understood. For years, it has stood in my consciousness as an impenetrable monolith of designers, labels, runway shows, styles, subcultures, celebrities and Instagram influencers. “Who are you wearing?” is about as interesting to me a question as “What is the mixture ratio of liquid rocket propellant?” and whose answer is about as meaningful.

For starters, I passionately, stubbornly believe that a person should not be judged on what they wear; rather, they should be judged on who they are and what they can do. To invest my personal time into contributing to this collective, global deception is loathsome to me, selling out to a set of values I just don’t adhere to.

I also have learned, sometimes painfully, that I have no awareness of ‘what looks good’ on myself or anyone else, and how, historically, I have never understood how what I’m wearing influences how other people see and interact with me. This compounds my disdain for having to play this game with the injury of, whether I like it or not, having been impacted in my social and professional opportunities in the past, probably in ways I may not have even noticed.

However, eventually social norms have a way of forcing you to adhere to them, and fashion is one of those things that will own you if you don’t step up first to take control. This is why I decided to prioritize it in the first place, because I recognized that whether or not I like it, my life will become easier if I participate in this global farce. It’s what other people want to see, even if it doesn’t matter much to me. In that way participating in fashion culture is much like holding farts in public.

So, I’ve been dragged into adopting the principles of fashion kicking and screaming, and I appreciate my many friends who have patiently helped me pick out outfits, gone through my closet to pile up clothes for donation, and in one case, thrown out a pair of old shoes (“Literally no one should ever have to wear these” is an exact quote).

It is hard for me to sport clothes I don’t understand or even like, because society says it looks good. It makes me self-conscious, and every minute I’m wearing the latest short-sleeve casual button-down from Bonobos I’ll be dying a little more on the inside, like so many who have sold out before me. But I do it, and will continue to do it more, because not doing it, for reasons I will never understand, seems to offend people. See you on the runway.

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