Fashion never meant much to me, but in the recent years I’ve of course wondered about it a bit more. What does it mean to others? How much of it is looks, how much is something else? And how important is a personal style, or how can you develop yours?
For many years I used to wear mainly black and dark grays, sometimes also some darker blue shades. With those colors and classic, simple, low maintenance clothes it was easy to maintain a wardrobe that would work for all occasions and fit in two suitcases when moving. Shoes… well, a bit more variety. All the shoes I had back then too had to have a good walkability in them, rather than just looks. As I always walked and/or used public transport, and never was a driver.
So what has changed since those years? Of course looks sort of matter even less. On the same time, they matter. I’ve realized I can and should use some elements of fashion or style to communicate. Even if it means little to me, the others can enjoy looking at it. Ok, a confession: I read in a book a few years ago that women dress primarily to impress other women. That sounded quite odd to me, as I don’t care what other ladies think about my fashionability. I dressed to be comfortable, and if with someone that I really like, I would ask him what would look good on me. Ta-da – and I look good on the eyes or hands of the person I want to look good to. So that evolved then to trying to also look curious to other people. T-shirts (I’ve loved t-shirts with geeky prints for many years now) that have something funny, to dresses and leggings and adventures to more fashionable items too.
On the same time I’ve realized how big an issue touch and textures (and color) has always been to me. There were many many years I did not even own a pair of jeans because I don’t like the way they feel on the skin. And while I love t-shirts with geeky prints, I hate the feel of thick t-shirt material, especially the seams. I used to never wear shirts where my arms would be bare, because I could never be comfortable with them showing. I just was more comfortable with them covered. I love and used to love long sleeves, especially those that continue past wrist and have a built-in thumb hole. I used to hate skirts and dresses as those seemed all too female to my liking. Now I’ve learned to wear some of both, again the touch and feel of fabric matters a lot. I have a few pairs of jeans, including some with a nice ripped texture (that my cat loves to claw), and as one of the other new areas of interest, sports clothes. Those tend to be comfortable, soft, absorb sweat (practical in a hot climate). And a lot of new colors, mixed and matched much more freely than before.
The worst case scenario of combining colors in an outfit is looking like I’d have got dressed up in the dark. Since that has technically been the case since high school, I’ll gladly take that risk. Just make sure the clothes are fresh, not too full of cat fur or coffee or Korean food or red wine stains, and play the rest on color blindness. Use an app or whatever it takes, just don’t mix black and blue (a mortal sin at least in Italy). I’ve discovered a few clothing stores where the materials are soft and pleasant to wear, and where the colors are nicely labeled too. Ageless style, soft (I know I already mentioned but it just plays such a big role) to touch, materials that don’t feel rough or restricting, and that allow many styles to mix and match. It kind of works. On the same time I wonder what kind of things and details are fashionable these days, and how much do the sensory aspects or colors matter to others. Do others avoid some (or most) clothing because the fabric feels uncomfortable? How about avoiding items of clothing or footwear because they leave parts uncovered or touch you in the wrong spots?
I’ve only ever owned one pair of shoes that have a classic stiletto type heel. Those are really difficult to walk with, especially when sight it not one’s primary sense. So shoes are always comfortable, easy to put on, and ideally something I can run with. Comfort. And for while home or night-time, wool socks are the best invention ever.
I usually pick two or three outfit options for the next day, after checking the weather forecast. That way in the morning I’ll just decide what I’m most in the mood for. I usually remember what color my clothes are, and try to guess if they match. Using enough grays and blacks is still a way to bind it together. Tomorrow one option will be a dress (can’t decide which one), but a second and possibly a third option are still open in my mind. Some days it’s a lot harder to decide.