Will society ever really put aside its outdated ideas as they relate to one’s personal fashion identity?
This is a question that I’ve long struggled with. I’ve always wanted to understand why the people in my life dressed the way they did, and if it was simply a way of honoring those they looked up to, or if they feel obligated to conform to their social circle, rather than being true to themselves and allowing their extraordinary brand of character to illuminate.
I have come to accept at this stage of my life, that what we feel most assured wearing, is a direct result of our environmental conditioning.
Remarkably enough for me, between the ages of six and twelve, it seemed very clear to me what my true fashion identity was, as a consequence of observing my mother make clothing for a steady flow of women that would come to our house to have the custom-made frocks designed and constructed for their special occasions.
I treasure those memories filled with vivid prints, elaborately textured fabrics, boldly jeweled buttons and feathered and fur trims that complemented a never-ending parade of smiling faces who stood before the fitting room mirror.
Everyone seemed so delighted in anticipation of what they perceived to be, their very own uniquely customized ensemble. As I watched both men and women trying on their garments, gender was never part of my thought process. My only focus was the joy and excitement beaming from the individual in that moment.
Isn’t that what clothing is all about… the feeling that you get when you wear a garment that fully releases your Spirit Of Fashion? Seeing the ultimate you, the strength and confidence that you feel, the bliss and gratification you receive out of those intimate experiences.
Maybe it was naïve of me to presume that those individuals were truly unrestrained in the clothing choices that they were making. The fabrications, colors, trimmings and even the styles were a close, if not an exact reflection of their social circles and standards of dressing. These selections, that they subconsciously understood to be familiar and easily appreciated, granted the wearer the security of knowing that they had “Got it Right.”
The question to myself is, what does “Got it Right” really mean when it comes to fashion? Is it that you feel comfortable and satisfied with yourself regardless of how others perceive you, by relinquishing the myths and stereotypes of what we have come to know as feminine and masculine, allowing a man to wear a dress if it makes him fulfilled or a female to adorn in ways traditionally reserved for men?
Who gets to make that decision, is it the individual or society; Will we continue to allow ourselves to be trained away from our uniqueness and personal relationship with fashion in order to gain acceptance of others?
I believe that it’s our God given right to be open and honest with who we are. But it also takes real effort to get to know ourselves and to get to know what fashion means to us as an individual. I also believe that this can only be achieved through deliberate and sincere displays of acceptance and appreciation of others, which will not only allow us to be freer in our own self-expression, but will also embolden those who have not yet found the courage to fully embrace their unique “Spirit Of Fashion”
Author: Perry White