Who are you in the latest fashion stakes?
Who are you in the latest fashion stakes?
A recent article from the press offering tips on how to ‘Win Round One’ in this year's fashion stakes, got me thinking. It launched with a claim that it is always better and more fashionable to look ‘interesting’ – to look as if we have led a fascinating life – rather than look merely beautiful or glamorous. Was this perhaps a bid to broaden the parameters of what we hold to be beautiful and fashionable? Could this be a unifying step towards realising the potential beauty in all women? Then followed the advice: ‘How to look interesting (when you’re not)’.
All this was beginning to look very ‘interesting’ . . . especially the assumption that there are vast hordes of readers out there that are definitely ‘not interesting’, who will be dying to consume whatever helpful advice is being offered in the hopes of ‘making the fashion grade’ or ‘becoming someone who counts as interesting’.
I was interested to find out what the article actually thought was ‘interesting’ . . . and it turns out to be people who have written brilliant books and songs or who have changed the course of fashion and culture. Really?
I immediately thought of the 70-year-old farmer down the road who still works full-time on the land and can glance at the sky and tell the weather as accurately as any TV forecast. Was she uninteresting because she hasn’t written a brilliant book or changed the course of fashion or culture?
But even this example falls into the trap of giving credence to the widely-held belief that what we can ‘do’ or how we dress, is what makes us interesting – the specifics of what we can ‘do’, what our talents are, becoming the benchmark by which we are valued and found interesting.
In the past it has been the ‘class’ or ‘caste’ our family belonged to that played a huge determining factor in our success and how interesting we were perceived to be. We may be somewhat freer of this now, but, in a world where you are ushered into the spotlight because of a stand-out ‘talent’ or ‘look’, and an ability to survive the cut-and-thrust of whatever field or industry you are in, isn’t it the case that a system geared-to and championing a ‘talent’ or a ‘look’ is just a caste system in another guise? Just another way designed to separate people – holding up some as successful and interesting and others as not, keeping us on edge and in competition, keeping us at odds with each other and ourselves?
Who is the authority that calls the shots, that declares what is considered interesting and fashionable this year and why do we believe them?
In the case above, it is a fashion writer for a famous newspaper. In her view what makes a person look ‘interesting’ is: Wearing polo necks; sporting sunglasses; wearing something that doesn't ‘go’ with the rest of your outfit – something ‘outré’ like a bulky pendant; doing something a bit grotesque with your makeup; and casually tossing obviously fake fur around your shoulders. Ending with the tongue-in-cheek disclaimer, which nevertheless stays entrenched within the paradigm: '. . . none of the above fashion points may save you. You could just be dull'. Interesting!
What if the ‘interesting factor’ were something that belonged to every single human being when connected to their innate essence, a held and deeply known quality in presence that resides within the being of all, well before they ‘do’ anything, well before they speak, well before they activate their ‘talent’?
Remember that feeling of lying in the long grass when you were a kid and experiencing reality in rich chunks of being that almost felt timeless? Life could be infinitely interesting ... and not a polo neck in sight.
It is our relationship to ourselves first, our re-connecting to and re-feeling the loveliness, the stuff we are actually made of, before we add the ersatz layers of sunglasses, fake fur, and bulky pendant – and before we add the layers of ‘not good enough’ ‘not smart enough’ ‘not interesting enough’ – that can turn the table on where the power lies and what is considered ‘interesting’.
Our intimate and beautiful connection and relationship with ourselves (or not), the recognition that we are tangibly amazing and loving beings, is what determines the nature of our relationship with others and the outside world – we are all constantly in relation with ourselves and the wider world and we can choose to bring ourselves, our power, to the world rather than unquestioningly accepting what the world is determined to bring upon us. What we bring is the all-important factor.
We could be influencing anything from the fashion world to immigration policy – from the inside-out, instead of letting ourselves be fashioned from the outside in.
This could be the big trend for this year – be an interesting, fashionable fake and fraud or, be yourself, and ‘interesting’ will not be a word amazing enough to describe who you are.
... And you can still wear a polo-neck if you love that warmth for your neck – they are predicted to peak in fashion later this year!