Friday, April 3, 2009

What I'm excited about right now

This month Charade, a blog that intends to help women like myself enjoy a "fabulous lifestyle on a student budget" (amen to that), will be posting a series of articles with advice on how to achieve your dream style. Yesterday the first of the series, entitled Dream Style Series: Why Bother?, was posted -- and it's brilliant. My favorite passage:

let’s look at it logically: what other elements of your life do you leave merely to chance, or ‘make up as you go along’? Your education? Hell no. Your career? Uh-uh. Your relationships? They take work. Well, isn’t your appearance, in many ways, central to all of these? Doesn’t your style deserve a bit of special attention all of its own, especially if you want it to work in your favour? Don’t simply shrug it off as vanity as, although it can lean that way, I’m not advocating excess, I just think your personality deserves a little artistic representation.

Yes, exactly. I go to a liberal arts college in Ohio, and most of my classmates tend toward sweatpants or jeans, the depressingly prolific and predictable Uggs and flip-flops, and there are Northfaces and pearls, and quilted Vera Wang, or more recently those (absurdly popular and shockingly bland) Longchamp bags, as far as the eye can see. When I walk into a classroom looking like this,

vest, Urban Outfitters; blouse, vintage; ribbon, presents; earrings, don't remember

or like this (though maybe not in that position, exactly... excuse my limited technologies, please),

gold bamboo hoops, goldmine vintage in boulder, CO; plaid blouse, Urban Outfitters; enormous teardrop pearl necklace, Second Time Around in burlington, VT; skinny jeans, Express; beloved cowboy boots, Oak Tree Farms, via teh internets

I tend to get some strange looks. For years this has inhibited my personal style, as conservative as it may be to some. But in the past year or so I have trained myself to either ignore these glances or consider them complimentary, and stride with confidence past their uncomprehending scorn. I see no reason why I should be made to feel a fool for putting effort into the way I look. There are scores of Facebook groups bashing people for 'dressing up' to go to lecture, as if it's rude or extravagant, but I wish these sartorially-impaired people would see the flip-side of this issue: imagine you are a professor, a highly intellectual professional with the life goal of imparting your knowledge on the younger generations and helping in the formation of creative, critical, productive minds, and your pupils show up to class in enormous sweatpants and Crocs and their hair all over the place with one of those elastic headbands.... How could you not feel that you had been disrespected? Especially in a small setting like ours: a total student body of under 2,000, the usual class size being well under 30 people. And how can these people carry themselves this way on a daily basis? How can you maintain a feeling of confidence and maturity when day-to-day they are essentially wearing pajamas and presenting to the world the sloppiest, most irreverent side of themselves? And how on earth will they transition into the 'real' world, the professional world, where the way you present yourself is imperative?

Well, there's my (admittedly elitist) rant for the day. Anyway, today is a lovely, sunny, Saturday (after a rainy, frenzied, Friday), hooray!


[edit] p.s. Also very excited to read my first ever issue of paper (the March issue) right... now.

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