Why Fashion Doesn’t Suck!

(not that I’m gonna start brushing my hair of matching my shoes to my shirts any time soon)

Having pussied out of writing a post yesterday, I thought I should change things up a bit on this fine Redux Week by taking an old post and updating it, not by furthering the argument presented, but flipping it entirely, arguing the opposite in some sort of weirdly one-sided time-frakkery, having a discussion that Past James can’t hope to defend himself against. Because he is dead. So without delay, here’s the updated, and inverted, version of my old post Why Fashion Sucks.

I still stand by my old criticisms – that it’s expensive, a passive form of self-expression, and ‘beauty’ is fast becoming an objective trait rather than a subjective judgement – but I feel I didn’t give the valid counter-arguments, that I now appreciate to a greater extent, their due weight. For instance, it is, ultimately, a form of self-expression; I honestly didn’t realise this until the last few weeks, when I watched an old Vlogbrothers video in which Hank made the point that we can express ourselves through our clothes – I’d always seen it as an exercise in conformity, to fit into the world around us as part of the increasingly objective definition of beauty. But if I choose to wear a Bad Religion shirt over a Stephenvlog shirt on any particular day, that’s a decision affecting my looks and nothing else, so I can’t really sit here and claim to be totally disinterested in fashion, as a means of reflecting ideas and beliefs through the medium of t-shirts.

Indeed, I create characters – anyone from literary figures to Sims – and spend as much time clothing their bodies as I do crafting their personalities; the point here is that if fictional characters exist as representations of ideas (which I think they do), their appearances and their mindsets are equally useful to the writer in determining those – by extension, if a real-life person is a realisation of ideas and concepts (which I reckon we are), my clothes are as much an indicator of those concepts as the ideas I silently and individually nurture in my head.

I’d argued last time that clothes are also superficial, and by extension temporary, but I then blasted tattoos for being unremovable, and too permanent: now that I possess a number of shirts with confrontational messages on them – the Bad Religion Crossbuster isn’t something I’d wear around the UCL Christian Union, and the Anti-Flag F*ck Police Brutality shirt would probably be a bit much unless I was at a punk gig – I’m realising that I don’t want to be a pushy liberal twat all the time; there are days where I want a nice, ‘OMG I get that reference’ response to my YuGiOh Abridged shirt.

I still don’t care too much about fashion, or my appearance; some days I think it’d be nice to have pink hair, or those cool fishnet gloves alternative singers wear, or a Courage My Love tanktop, but most days I don’t, and such things would impede my ability to play football or run for a bus at the drop of a hat, which is still the most important factor to me in choosing an outfit. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only factor; sure, I wear t-shirts and tracksuits all the time, but there is a decision-making process behind the grey trackies with black stripes, or the grey trackies with bright green stripes, that I now realise doesn’t mean I’m a total rejecter of fashion. As long as it’s cheap, and practical enough to play a sport in, I’ll wear it, and happily engage in a discussion about which Nike running top goes with which pair of leggings. And this probably means I’m caught between sucking it up and actually appreciating fashion, and wearing a straight-up burlap sack with arm-holes, but I don’t care; fashion is annoying, but it certainly doesn’t outright suck.

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