Monday, October 23, 2006

Do you define yourself by what you wear?

I have come to think of clothing as an art form mostly* unconnected to the appearance of the person serving as the dress form inside it. This is very liberating as a personal dressing philosophy. If I'm showered and comfortable in what I'm wearing I certainly don't worry about the fashionability of the hem length. (Or how bright my newly-dyed t-shirt is.) I buy colors when they're in fashion, to wear during the long droughts when there aren't any colors I like.

And, because I notice clothing, I often compliment women on what they're wearing, whatever the size or shape of the woman inside. It could be their oldest sweater which is a great color (often I find they say that the garment I've noticed is old — I figure that means it's a favorite). I try to avoid personal comments, except maybe "It's a great color on you".

Often the piece I notice will be a large shirt in a great fabric. Super. I like them myself. And when dresses were showing up more and more, and I was working outside and wearing jeans and a uniform shirt, I was very happy to see everybody's options expanding.

Is this just California? One day I noticed in the hardware store, within half an hour, a lady in an ankle length dress, one in a flared black mini with striped tights, one in jeans and tatoos and muscles and a midriff-baring top, and a guy in jeans, a muted lime tunic, & peace symbol pendant. I love the freedom of expression available.

And notice that each of those send a different message to the viewer. The thing I realized years ago, after hearing that a friend had not gotten into medical school because she wouldn't wear a skirt to the interview, is that it's all costume. We can choose what message we send, and choose it differently each day. It does not define us, unless we let it.

*mostly unconnected to the appearance of the person serving as the dress form inside it Mostly because given my choice I'll prefer something which is cut to be flattering and easy to move in and well-fitted for comfort. And a color that when I was paler made me look like a dead fish-belly (like orange or black) did not make me comfortable.

This dress was drawn from a vintage pattern or dress that Erin showed over at Dressaday, with the large pattern to look like a hand-painted design.

The colors of this design are way outside my original comfort range, and I love them together. The color theory teacher was right; it's possible to use any colors and make them look good.

(These were my comments on "You don't have to be pretty", 10-19, at Dressaday.) More later.

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