When I was in college, I got scolded by a guy for not caring enough about my clothes. He took it upon himself to tell me that I’d be so much prettier if I’d just put on a dress once in a while. He was an acquaintance, not a friend, and he felt it was important to let me know that my lack of interest in fashion was affecting his perception of me. And potentially the perceptions of others. I did not care enough about fashion.
The receptionist at my old job was an older gal and famously grumpy. She was one of those people whose compliments always felt backhanded and acidic. She made a point of commenting whenever I wore something she perceived to be new – items that, nine times out of ten, I’d had for years but not yet worn to the office. When I told her I was writing a book, she lit up. When I told her what it was about, she pulled a grimace. I cared too much about fashion.
Originally posted 2013-09-26 06:04:47.
Most messages that pertain to beauty describe a fixed point. Beautiful is a goal, a set of characteristics that must be held up and striven for, a way of being that is reserved for a select few. Beautiful is something that can be achieved with ferocious dedication to exercise, generous investment in cosmetics, and meticulous attention to grooming. Beautiful is precious, difficult, and extremely narrow. In these messages, beauty is distant, foreign, tantalizing, and other. It is a destination at which we may never arrive, but which we must always be scrambling toward.
Originally posted 2013-01-25 06:23:45.
My impression is that many highly-visible style experts – the ones with TV shows and books and magazine columns – either choose to or are forced to adopt an attitude of judgment. Since viewers and readers seem to find it endlessly amusing when a stylist chuckles under her breath at some garment, outfit, or sartorial choice, the stylists keep it up. They poke fun, they skewer, they judge.
That’s not how I roll.
Over the years, I have worked to refine my messages about style to be as open and accepting as possible. I want all to feel welcome here and none to feel excluded. And I truly, truly want anyone who reads this blog to come away with these messages: Style is for everyone, style is empowering, and there is no one right way to look good.
Originally posted 2012-03-14 06:09:55.