I'm in an airport today. My flight will board soon, probably within 30 minutes, and I'm more tired than I'd like to be. Perhaps I'll try to sleep a little bit on the plane. I'm hoping to get this word vomit done in the next half an hour or so, so that I don't have to continue on the plane. (Update: I did not) Alright, let's do this.
I've been thinking about fasion lately. It's not something that I've traditionally been very good at, but I really think I should put some effort into getting better. Even aside from the potential social benefits of dressing nicer, I think it has a lot of personal advantages. Feeling more confident, being able to express yourself or tell a story with your clothing, tailoring your outfit to the occasion.
How do I currently approach fashion? Mostly, entirely practically. My clothing is, currently, almost entirely dictated by weather. What that means is this: I always wear some kind of pants (often jeans) and a basic t-shirt. Socks too, under my sneakers. In warm weather, I'll just go out wearing this, switching out the t-shirt every day, mostly at random, to keep things fresh. Important concepts like color or clothing cohesion never really come into the picture.
In cold weather, it's very similar. Pants, socks, t-shirt. The difference is I'll wear a hoodie on top, and a jacket on top of that when it's very cold. Typically, because I usually stick with the same type of hoodie, jacket, and pants, I almost always wear the same kind of outfit. This certainly makes it easy for me to get ready in the morning, but the lack of variety gets repetitive eventually.
Even if I have to dress up a little the basic formula doesn't change much. I'll throw on a shirt with a collar, maybe replace the hoodie with a button down. I think this is especially unfortunate, as formal outfits have some of the most interesting pieces in my opinion.
Alright, now I have two questions for myself. Why do I care about dressing nicely, and what am I going to do about it?
The answer to the first isn't as obvious to me as it maybe should be. There are a lot of advantages to simple clothing. It takes me about 5 minutes to get ready in the morning, my packing list for a week of travel can fit in a modest backpack, and I save a lot of money from being undiscerning. Plus, the inherent flexibility of my hoodie + jacket system means that with the same base clothing I can typically go out without worrying about the weather any time of the year.
What is compelling me to change my system? Well, for one, I've been seeing well dressed people online and spending more time with them in person. There really is a different level of sophistication and dignity that a nice outfit brings to an occasion. I almost see it like a ritual of sorts, or a form of self-care. You do these things simply because they are cool and they make you feel good.
There are some issues I anticipate as well when it comes to trying different types clothing. I particularly like the look of long coats and trench coats, but my experience tells me they can make it difficult to access your pockets which is annoying since I use my phone frequently to navigate. Some glasses look really cool but even wearing glasses with a clear lenses makes my vision feel a little bit distorted. And when it comes to shoes, I don't know if I could ever part with my beloved sneakers; I just like the freedom of movement they provide me a little too much.
Despite all of these issues, I'd like to experiment with expanding my clothing repertoire. I'm sure they can all be dealt with if I put my mind to it.
Alright, so what am I going to actually do? There are a lot of practical concerns which make it difficult to dress nicely. Firstly I am very tall and very slender, so sizing is always an issue. There's the fact that I already have a lot of exisiting clothes so it's hard to persuade myself to spend on new ones. Much more importantly, there's the fact that I don't really know what to search for.
I think there's a tradeoff when it comes to generality vs. specificity of clothing. Succinctly, the more general your clothes are they less fancy/interesting they seem to be. A t-shirt and jeans is, in my opinion, one of the most standard outfits and therefore is not extremely interesting to wear. That's not to say that it looks bad, but I've found that it does get boring.
On the other hand, take a wedding dress. Hundreds of dollars, and so specific that you only wear it once in your life, but that laser focus is what gives it its power and mystique. Having a really nice long jacket that you can only wear in the Fall, from October to November, makes much more of a statement that having a really nice hoodie that you wear every day of the year. A leather bikers jacket can only be worn on some specific contexts, but it makes it all the more powerful when you do bring it out.
I think some of the people I know who have the most distinctive styles have many of these unique pieces that they can always mix and match. As for me, I feel like I should probably start by picking items that are distinct and unlike anything I already have. Unfortunately, it seems like there's no way to amass a collection of interesting pieces without investing a lot of time into the whole project. I wish there was an easier way, but I suspect any shortcuts will ultimately be less fulfilling.
Wow, that was a whole lot of words to say not very much. In my defense I am pretty tired right now. Maybe this will all make more sense after a nap.