Friday, February 19, 2010

Somehow, after work today, I found myself perusing a whole string of fashion blogs--for what seems like hours. I'd like to say that I was simply observing to gain an objective perspective on the current state of the insanity they call couture. But, frankly, I'm a red-blooded, nineteen year-old female who - despite her attempts at fighting consumerism- often caves. The temptation to be current is a strong one, blended with my natural interest in all things design. I may also have a morbid fascination with watching the distorted figures who've purposely become nothing more than clothes-hangers. I used to sneak Vogue until I realized it was turning me into a monster who hated her own legs.
Mark Twain wrote two short stories entitled (though I paraphrase, I believe the actual titles are longer) "Adam's Diary" and "Eve's Diary." Adam's journal is comprised mostly of the things he accomplished in any given day, straight-forward and utilitarian. Eve spends five pages in raptures over the sight of a waterfall. Girls are total suckers for pretty things; it seems to be hardwired into our DNA. I don't think I was a particularly girly-girl, but I have fond memories of dress-up, tea sets, dollhouses, and a slew of other fluff. Now, Eric and I are renting a house on the farm and my first thought in reference to it had something to do with paint and throw pillows.
I don't mean to say that the impulse to decorate oneself and one's home is an evil one, just the action of following that impulse to its extreme end. Humans in general are more than willing to have anything and everything sold to them, but girls are the much easier targets for the splashy ad campaigns these marketing geniuses throw at them. The fashion industry would have us believe that clothes, and the money we spend on them, make or break us. Pantene and Garnier Fructis bombard us with images of all the variety we can have and still be beautiful: Blonde, straight, shiny. Brown, straight, shiny. Red, straight shiny. Did I miss anything?
This is nothing new. We see (and seem to have always seen) ourselves as human cupcakes, to wear whatever sprinkles are in style and squish ourselves into various shapes a la mode. And why do we do it? Certainly not for the men around us, speaking from experience, I know my husband would be content if I never changed the contents of my closet and wore my hair down everyday. No, we do it for each other. We do it to one-up our fellow females. Pretty is not enough, we all strive for prettier and prettiest.

Now let me bombard you.

Do we wear the styles or do they run all over us?

Question time.
(Answer any or all or just tell me what you think of this whole subject, in the minutest detail)
  1. What is the difference, if any, between being beautiful and being fashionable?
  2. Is the concept of couture useful or destructive?
  3. Why do you wear the clothes you do? Are they for function or to make a statement?
  4. When does decoration of oneself or one's belongings become vanity?
  5. How do you define vanity?

I plan to do a follow-up blog on this one, so some feedback would be beyond awesome.


  1. I think women dress for themselves. Isn't it all about 'feeling' good? Well, based on most people, their feelings come from the input of others. So, yes, you're right women dress for other women.

    But why would couture be bad? I don't get it.

    I never thought of people as cupcakes...

  2. I'll respond here, but I find the response system on blogspot to be so confusing...

    Couture, in my own opinion, is one of the furthest extensions of vanity. Spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a piece of clothing in an attempt to raise one's social standing or approval rating just strikes me as a little extreme. Also, some (but not all) of the designers behind these trends are so aware of human greed, vanity, lust, etc. that they have ceased to consider any of those conditions sin, but merely a means of attaining profit. They masquerade as artists, but constantly attempt to appeal to the darkest side of human nature.

    But I am more than happy to be proven wrong!

    ....and the cupcake analogy is getting mixed reviews on my other blog, but I'll stick by it. =P

  3. I would have to say couture is an art. And it doesn't have to be dark. I think one could argue all arts are an indulgence, however I think as Christians we need to re-claim or claim some arts ourselves. A couture gown, hand sewn and intricately planned and shaped can be a beautiful reflection of goodness... Is it normally? No. And in other news, that cat woman on your blog scares me to no end.