Fashion is the ultimate tyrant. It dictates what we wear, how we wear it and when we wear it. More often than not, first impressions are based upon clothing choices, which means fashion also influences the way we interact with people, social perception and attitude. Fashion pioneer Coco Chanel once said, “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”
We all need to be comfortable with what we wear. After all, first impressions count, and we want our appearance to be consistent with the image we wish to project. How can we do this without enslaving ourselves to fashion? Trends are doomed to look ridiculous with the benefit of hindsight, as the annals of history will attest. Knowing this, the question poses itself: is it better to be a trendsetter, or a fashion follower?
As humans, we are eternally plagued by the desire to both stand out and fit in. While the issue is mostly a matter of personal preference, people tend to appreciate individuals who express a unique style. Sadly, an article of clothing’s individuality is immediately revoked once its design has been made into a trend. Fashion is constantly changing and that, ironically, is the only constant thing about it. What was on the cover of Vogue yesterday becomes obsolete tomorrow.
Like other arts, fashion is a medium for expression and creativity. It possesses qualities of escapism. In addition to being one of the defining traits of one’s identity, fashion enables one to derive confidence by keeping up with the latest trends. Confidence is usually determined by how a person perceives himself or herself rather than how other people perceive that person. At this point, it’s safe to say that the fashion industry has revolutionized more than just our dressing standards.
Whether we like it or not, fashion is an integral part of our lives. Although relatively superficial, its impact is beyond our imagination. We all harbor an innate desire to look good and, consequently, feel good. Following the latest trends not only fulfills that desire; it nurtures it. Materialism has become an affliction of the developed world, and everyone is infected (some more than others).
Does this mean we are all slaves to fashion? I know I am; but I’ve chosen my own fashion. I suppose that makes me a slave to the right fashion? As much as it helps to take fashion advice from blogs, websites and stylists, you might get advice that does not reflect the person in you. Acknowledge popular trends, but only pick the little pieces that you can translate into something you call your own. When you want to add a fashionable piece to your wardrobe, do it because you genuinely like the item, not because it’s trendy. As more wise words from Chanel advise, “Fashion changes, but style endures.”