we’re telling YOU not to be a fashion pansie (jk guyz, ~~~*b who u wanna b***~)
at the age of 21 i have finally started to dress for myself. what do i mean by this? well, i’ve let go of the term “flattering”, a manufactured concept, when it comes to the clothing that i buy, the outfits that i put together.
it occurred to me a while ago that as women, if we follow the rules of “what looks good”, we are essentially trapped to one specific look; we are told early on to wear heels for those short legs, to belt that dress so we can accentuate our “good features” (as if the rest are bad?), or to let it hang to hide those “problem areas”.
i personally got sick of only dressing for what might look flattering on the type of body that i have. i would look longingly at tunics and baggy bohemian dresses, which would “do nothing for me”, at high waisted pants that would “inevitably” give me a long bottom (viva la harry potter!!!!!), and at the idea of wearing flats with things, which would “cut my legs off”. i have an hourglass shape, which means that i have always been told to wear things that are tight to my torso, that show off my little waist, to hide my curvy hips and, because i’m only 5’5, to not wear flats unless i’m willing to eat only raisins and be stick thin. i also have large enough breasts that i was always made to feel that i should be wearing things that show them off, to flaunt them, but not “give it all away” (because men want to be able to fantasize about you and not have you ruin their fun by putting it all on display, right?).
i realized that i had been missing out on expressing myself because i was so tied up in the idea of “looking good”. but it isn’t looking good that i am trying to avoid, it is understanding who i am looking good for. if we listen to the fashion industry, we are pretty much dressing entirely for the male gaze; we are dressing ourselves in accordance to how our bodies look flattering to the opposite sex, so men will find us visually appealing. for many people this is not a problem, and that is wunderbar!! many girls love to attract the male gaze, and as females we should support that, but personally, a male gaze is not what i am interested in; instead, i am interested in using fashion for what it should be about: self expression, exploration, and empowerment, even if that means that my body might be lost once in a while to an olsen-twin-like bag lady look.
it’s a sad thing but it has been a little bit tough to entirely forget about the engrained notions of “what looks good”. when i get dressed every morning, wearing exactly what i want to be wearing, and what i feel good wearing, i sometimes still have a small doubt in the back of my mind that is screaming “does this look good?”. but then i remind myself that i put it on for a reason, because it somehow symbolizes who i am, and that it doesn’t really matter to me if people think it looks good or not, because i don’t want to follow the masses. i also remember that whenever i see a girl walking down the street in a wild outfit that is reeking of pride and self expression, i commend her, so maybe, just maybe, people are doing the same for me and all the other girls who dress for themselves?
i might feel safe in a vertical narrowly-striped, three-quarter sleeve, long-t0-accentuate-my-long-torso, tight-for-my-tits shirt from the GAP because that is what i have been told will look good on my body, but if i wore that i wouldn’t be being myself, and that would feel much worse than someone lifting an eyebrow at my strange, “unflattering” outfit.