After reading this post at Quirky Explosion and leaving an obnoxiously long comment for Lexy to swamp through, I noticed that I have way too many big thoughts swirling around in my head about blogging and the fashion industry. So here they are in bullet form, because this is not my writing blog and I cannot be bothered to revise this more than once:
  • Yes, the fashion industry is currently selling us this ideal of “skinny white kids in expensive gear.” And yes, fashion as an art form is about “the whole world… fat, skinny, wrinkled and shiny.”

  • Yes, most of what we see tells us that “Fashion is skinny, beauty is white, and cash is culture.”

  • But I think the fashion industry operates on the Unattainable Ideal. That’s the appeal. If something trickles all the way down to the masses, it suddenly becomes unappealing because it’s ubiquitous, easy to access, no longer obtainable by a select few. FOR EXAMPLE. Everybody’s favorite Asian man you want to be best friends with and stuff in your pocket for safekeeping Alexander Wang sends his bad-ass, sexy-as-hell models down the runway in disintegrating tank tops and tailored sweatpants. A couple months later, bastardized and trashier versions of A. Wang are being sold in department stores and have been adopted as the uniform du jour of high school girls everywhere. You see a middle-aged woman in orthopedic sandals finger the hem of a particularly offensive A. Wang-inspired top hanging on a mannequin, and your wardrobe dies a sad little death as you mentally pack your Wangwear into storage boxes.

  • So right now, being a skinny white kid who can afford expensive gear is really hard to do. First of all, you have to be white. That’s a toughie, guys. I for one have already failed on that account. Second of all, you have a limited amount of time in which to be fashionable before you become too saggy. Third of all, you are much better off if you are skinny, because you will look like the hip kids who party hard and drink cheap beer and enjoy recreational drugs and are trust fund babies. Lastly, you should be a trust fund baby. If you aren’t, you should act like one, and pretend to not be rich by buying expensive things that look like you dug them out of a thrift store – because that’s the anti-epitome of cool. (The epitome of uncool – when shopping at a thrift store becomes financially necessary.)

  • I think this is why style blogs have any kind of following – because people of color, and people who are fat, or too skinny, or short, or who don’t have statuesque faces, or people who can’t afford designer clothes get to see someone who looks like them working with what they have and rocking it, and thinking maybe, maybe, I can do that.

  • I think fashion is about whatever the dominant culture deems worthy. And I think that this is usually done by taking whatever is uncool at the moment and hawking it as the cool thing. In this way, fashion is awesome because it’s sort of about reclaiming what’s become undesirable (but at the same time, it’s not really reclaiming if you take back what wasn’t yours to start with. For example. Grunge fashion was based on what grunge musical artists were wearing, which was actually just them being apathetic about clothing.)

  • I HAVE OBVIOUSLY TAKEN TOO MANY HUMANITIES AND LIBERAL ARTS COURSES (please, shut up my bleeding liberal heart and angry minority self-righteousness), because this reminds me of how wealthy white Americans used to go to Chinatown when they were “slumming it,” because it was exciting! Chinatown was weird and full of these exotic, bizarre-looking people and products, and it was a little bit scary, but scary in limited amounts is thrilling!

  • Fashion as an art form is color/body/cash-blind. But that’s not what most of us get to see. We’re not industry insiders. Most of us. We don’t get spoon-fed the creative process and the workmanship and sketches and fabric swatches. No-o-o, we get a few runway shows and a lot of ads that tell us to be waif-ish and white and young and sexy.

  • I think a lot of fashion is about appearing unattainable, inimitable, and those of us who can’t do it with money try to do it with creativity, with how we put what we have together. (Which is not to say that style and money are mutually exclusive. Just look at Sea of Shoes. Jane has a crazy good eye for styling what she has. And then look at Another Day To Dress Up. Different budgets, but both pack a huge punch. Style has little to do with what you can buy. It doesn’t even necessarily have to do with all the stuff you have. SERIOUSLY, look at Karl Lagerfeld in his goddamn uniform and tell me that man doesn’t have style. OH HEY it's like what Dumbledore said. "It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities," aka "It is your choices of what to spend money on and the way you work with your available sartorial options, Harry, that show your stylistic worth, far more than your ability to spend money.")

  • Why is fashion a largely youthful pursuit? Why are the models we see these fresh-faced young things? Has aging ever been desirable or fashionable? Is it just that American culture is the most recently dominant one, and that American culture values youth (Change! Innovation! Mobility! Opportunity!), unlike, say, the kind of Chinese culture I’m familiar with that values the elderly (Respect! Wisdom! Filial piety!)?

  • Even immersing myself in the blogosphere turns me off to certain things – like when I see a blogger with fantastic style wearing something, I feel like I want it, it’ll make the perfect addition to my wardrobe, et cetera, whatever – and then two weeks later, the whole blogosphere is wearing it. And while if I bought, say, a headband from ban.do or a Norwegian Wood harness, I’d look 89237523 times cooler than the people I interact with in real life, I would still find it really boring because I’ve seen it all over the blogosphere already.

  • Maybe this makes me one of those people who tries really hard to be unlike everyone else because I am afraid that I am not actually original (and I’m not original).

  • But I mean, what’s original anymore? Not everything original is artistically, creatively good. Not everything unoriginal is bad. (I LOVE JUSTIN BIEBER. DON’T RESPOND TO THAT.)

  • On a sort of unrelated note, I read a lot of “how to blog” blogs, and virtually none of their advice applies to style bloggers. Okay, it applies to fashion bloggers, maybe, because they’re writing about stuff that, like, happens, but personal style bloggers are blogging to inspire or have an outlet or have people to ping ideas off of (or maybe just to keep track of what you wear, if you’re like me). All those How-To-Blog blogs say to produce content that has value. If you’re a personal style blogger, your value is in what you wear more than in what you write (I think). I stay subscribed to blogs when people have killer style that gives me ideas about what I can do with my own closet. That’s why I don’t really follow blogs like fashion toast or childhood flames anymore. Because I don’t want to look like Rumi or Camille, even though they look AIOWFEUFDIOMAZING. Confession: I don't feel particularly drawn to their style, but Song of the Exile and Kendi Everyday are in my reader because I like the way they write. Now that's embarrassing.

  • Everyone says fashion is cyclical, but I think it just has to do with which generation is in their teens/twenties at the moment, and how quickly/how much of that generation is grasping for childhood because they’re afraid to grow up. Just look My Life Is Average. I love reading MLIA, but these kids so desperately need to grow up. Maybe I have tumblr blinders, but according to my dashboard, some of the most popular tumblogs are crazy for the 90s. Because that was childhood for the generation coming of age right now. Luckily for me, right now, I’m in fashion! Which is why the 90s are coming back. Doc Martens? Florals? McQ’s grunge? Ringing any bells? I think every time something comes back, it’s either a reaction (maxis in response to minis, colors in response to neutrals) or some sort of grasping.

  • I philosophize too much about clothes. I should just put on a burlap sack and call it a day. Or adopt a uniform. For me, fashion is still something I look at and think about and can't indulge in. Clothes are my magic. Clothes are a really easy way to look like someone you're not. I guess it's part of the whole theater kid thing about becoming someone else. (I am not exaggerating. In high school, one of my friends and I came up with a deck of index cards with personalities written on them, complete with what they would wear, eat, say, and feel, and we were going to each draw one every few days and try out that person. I am a strange human. I have indulgent friends.)
Have a picture of FINN HUDSON hello there adorable.

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