Fashion Truisms, from a podcast that aired during Civil Discourse Now. Borne of experience, observation and conversation. Most concepts appear in my HuffPost articles
- When in Doubt, Wear Black: Dismiss color “must-haves” as nothing more than marketing ploys, for the fashion industry is ALL about creating perceived need. No other color is ever another color’s “new” color. Designers and manufacturer, prone to the same basic errors in judgement and technicalities as any business, can at times overstock and will subsequently try to create need to use up product. Aesthetically speaking as personable fashion statement: colors can be tricky as wearables literally do reflect upon the wearer and vice versa – not every color works with every feature, skin/eye color. Black, however, does look good on everyone and is universally slenderizing for its visually recessive qualities, which imparts therefore a timelessness and elevated statement of style. Black also allows for the simplest garments, i.e. T-shirt or pair of pants, to embrace a sleeker, therefore slicker look via non-color.
- Dress Creatively: This takes the focus off cost, for creative dressing allows for the high and low price tags, which helps in the avoidance of slavish, cost-based “taste”-creation. Creativity also allows for a more lighthearted approach to one’s look, which keeps elements of fun and color (both of the visual spectrum and psychological spryness) in the creation of one’s presentation of self to the world at large. This helps minimize and/or eliminate uniformity or uniform wearing, which as personal reflection is self-stunting on many levels (see Emperor’s New Clothes).
- TTH: Trying Too Hard. Don’t do it. Underdress rather than overdress. Simpler minds will see the garishness and take one less seriously in the same manner in which a child regards a dressed-up storybook character, while the more observant, discerning ones will wonder what is being compensated for and spend time trying to discern it. Their interest, which you might assume is in you, is not that at all; rather it is these others buying time with you in order to decipher why it is you are trying too hard – high-functioning entertainment at your expense. Moreover, the coolest people out there, whose sums of deed and product are the greatest, will dress with the least care and in the simplest way, for thinking of what to wear is beneath them, tedious and a hindrance. Additionally, they no longer need to rely on dressing to impress anyone, nor do their followers require it of them. Disdain, not admiration, coming from others occurs when TTH due to over-compensation results in an utter lack of KIR (see below). Additionally, over-much skin exposure and nudity must be included here: While one need not be offended by nudity per se, be it on a beach or as an artistic manifestation where there is some logic for the exposure, too much skin/body part reveal reeks of TTH and once again calls into question motive, wisdom and intellect. The notion of leaving something to the imagination not only heightens sexual appeal but also intellectual appeal, for the face, overall form and the mind of the wearer (his/her ability to attract via discourse and demeanor) can then and will be noticed and acknowledged. Ditto on elective cosmetic surgery – how it really looks and what it really accomplishes, and for whom.
- Bratwurst or Brat Effect: Never squeeze any body part into a smaller size wearable than what is comfortable or smooth fitting or complimentary. Tight fit does not slenderize; tight fit only accentuates size, not diminishes it and is suggestive of poverty (both financial and intellectual) and poor judgment. TMI: too much information when body parts are unduly and unattractively spotlighted via outlining and/or unfortunate protrusion. Ditto on age: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should: In this day and age where good health and healthy weight maintenance diminish age-based differentiation where wearables are concerned, let the beauty of wisdom and elegance of choice be reflected in suitable style choices. Cougarism falls victim as age combined with agenda collide in ongoing attempts to deceive via faux youth, contrived vampiness, coupled with the insecurity that one’s grace cannot suffice as viable source for sexual attractiveness. Also ties in with TTH.
- Shoes Are the 5th Food Group: A healthy diet must always include a steady diet of these, just like fruits and vegetables. But, as with foods, choose healthy, choose wisely. Make sure they fit so you are comfortable, or at least not in pain; make sure you can walk in them. To hobble along in ridiculously designed and constructed shoes is to look like a fool. I have been to the most dressed up events and seen women gimp along, and in their pathetic gait the whole look is completely lost, leaving one to wonder at their motives, wisdom and/or intelligence.
- Emperor’s New Clothes: Never bow to this slavishness. If it doesn’t reflect you, and especially if you don’t like it, don’t buy or wear it, even if “everyone else” seems to be, but most especially if the “everyone else” are distant, non-connected celebrity types. Trend shirt-tailing is not only dishonest to self, it results in wasteful spending (the amassing of unworn, incompatible wearables) and diminishes one’s self-esteem because it is self-defeating as it is not based on honesty. Adherence to emperor’s new clothes also stifles one’s ability to express a real self due to a falsely imposed style’s negative influence on the personality of the everyman wearer. This issue is also rampant in the public dining and for-profit art worlds.
- Logoitis: Never bow to logo addiction. One only burdens self with the perceived obligation to broadcast via costly and superficial money markers. It is the equivalent in fashion as would be a room clad in dollar-sign wallpaper. If logoed wearables are that recognizable and dominant in one’s look, it crosses over into giving off an impression that moves quickly into the realm of knock-off suspicion, akin to TTH. In the end, logoitis is not the impressing of high income or style upon others via tell-tale markers; it is providing free advertising to the manufacturer. Tantamount to the pseudo-individualism as purported by the masses of uniformly and predictably tattooed individuals, who are not only broadcasting self, but are doing so via permanent and historically primitive statements of self (see Emperor’s new Clothes), which can only indicate suggestions of a stagnant psyche.
- KIR: Keep It Real. Be true to yourself in terms of correctly reflecting your real self in your look. It also mandates, if you can’t afford the real thing, don’t buy the knock-off. One’s head to toe look is like an equation: If something is off or inconsistent, or when one is relying on knock offs to attain an elevated sum, one will fall short, for those you are trying to fool will know the difference, if not immediately by the fake item itself, by the accompanying elements which will not be commensurate: behaviorally via demeanor, knowledge/background/experience or physically via cost/quality/lack thereof. The only conclusion to be drawn will come at direct cost of the desired attempted whole. Likewise, if you are true to yourself in terms of personal taste and knowing what really looks good on you, your wardrobe over time will build organically and you will find items complementing or matching each other to the extent that you will be able to create new + old looks, which builds on # 2 (Dress Creatively) by combining not only high- and low-cost but also old and new looks, which is both resourceful, economical and more evolved creatively.
- Complimentary Conundrum: The greatest – not the best – compliment is peer unkindness, for it is almost always envy or jealousy. This conundrum is heightened in our everyday thanks to pervasive, addictive social media where false compliments are benevolently doled out to those who fish for them via broadcasting of self, often under the guise of personal branding or false modesty, resulting in faux ego building of self and by others. The CC is also a means to rationalize inexplicable negative interactions and a way to help survive the unkindness of others through a wisdom, for red-diamond rare are the human gems who can truly be happy for another’s happiness and supportive of another’s successes, accomplishments or acquisitions. Look into yourself and find the source within to be able to be happy for another. The complement of CC is Copycatting: When someone copies you in looks or deed, or goes out and acquires the same item you possess, envy is by definition eliminated, making it a mostly constructive solution and therefore more acceptable, so long as it does not cross lines of personal space and respect of individuality and does not impinge on the originating individual’s expression and goals.