March 4, 2011

Fashion is... Self-Expression

What you wear and how you wear it is a way to express your individuality, to show the world who you are. It is a visual form of your personality, of your thoughts and believes. 


Dress can affiliate the wearer to a particular social group. This started years ago when ancient civilizations and cultures from Africa, Asia, and the Americas practiced forms of adornment  such as body piercing, tattooing, body painting, and the wearing of animal skins and feathers to express individuality, affiliation, and status. 

Likewise, since the 1940s, youth culture groups of the West have influenced the generations and helped individuals to associate themselves with like-minded people. Each group had its particular values, musical taste,and dress code. Easily recognized are the teds, the punks, the goths, the mods, the skinheads, the b-boys and flygirls, etc.  

Dress can also help to signify symbolic recognition. This could be religious or occupational. Within both,differentials are often found to help define and segregate rank and authority. Think about the royalties who wear heavily adorned garments and jewels on formal or state occasions in order to display their status to the society. 

Many societies and cultures traditionally wear symbolic dress to mark important occasions such as marriages and deaths. It's interesting that in the European and American cultures it is common for a bride to wear white as a symbol of purity and virginity, while in many Asian cultures a bride is heavily adorned, wearing bright colors, usually red, as a sign of celebration. In contrast, white is the color of mourning, worn by widows for ages.


One of the most obvious examples for symbolic dress that shows rang, authority and power, both within society and within an organizations, is the uniform. It is a form of occupational dress, worn by institutions such as the police, the army, the emergency rescue crowd, etc. The uniform expresses the wearer's affiliation to an organization and helps him to stand out in a crowd.

Fashion and dress can also help define gender and sexuality. The term "androgyny" relates to gender ambiguity and the mixing of feminine and masculine characteristics. In the 1920s and the 1930s. community of lesbians in Paris dressed in masculine attire to openly advocate their sexuality. In the 1970s, the gay liberation movement took a similar approach, although rather more radical and less subtle, to express their sexuality. They experimented publicly with make-up and drag.
By the 1980s this tendency had spread into a mean stream culture. Male rock and pop stars such as David Bowie and Boy George crossed gender lines by adopting big hair and heavy eye make-up, while singer Annie Lennox wore severe, cropped haircut and masculine-looking suits. 

In 1965 Yves Saint Laurent made one of the most significant innovations in the fashion history so far. He took inspiration by the lesbian cross-dressing in Paris and the contemporary trend toward androgynous dressing among young men and women, and created the female tuxedo, which he called Le Smoking. By feminizing the basic shapes of the male wardrobe, Mr. Saint Laurent set new standards in fashion. He not only adapted the male tuxedo for women, but also safari jackets, brass-buttoned pea jackets, and flying suits.


Ones more: Fashion is not superficial. It is who you are. So be brave. Express yourself. Wear what you want to wear and don't be afraid what people might say. Be a trend setter not a trend follower and one day you may enter fashion history as the person who changed fashion forever.    

XoXo
Plami

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