several months back, i stumbled across a rant on someone's fashion/personal style blog which dogged on the personal style choices of others, vehemently dagging other fashion bloggers out for the clothes they choose to wear, particularly if they leaned toward the "hipster" or "trendy" side (she in fact was a bit more conservative, if you need context). the blogger began her diatribe by claiming not to be judgmental whatsoever, but then did an immediate about-face and wrote paragraphs and paragraphs full of seething descriptions of that which she found utterly distasteful.
from what i could discern after slogging through the aforementioned post, her disgust stemmed from the fact that such hated styles differed from what she personally favored. truthfully, she was like any of us: just your average style blogger with more ire than thoughtful arguments to back up her rants.
i leave the identity of the blogger mentioned above as anonymous, because sadly, she's not alone...she could be one of so many these days. negativity is the latest fashion trend, at least in some style circles.
reading the rants of the hate-spewing style blogger brought up a long list of questions:
why so much ire? why so much hate? why is there so much nastiness? does it make people feel good to be mean? what is so threatening, or horrible about other people's style choices, especially if they what some might consider "wrong"? why is there this grinding need to hurt and judge others? where does this negativity come from? is there a better way to approach that which we do not like without irrationally ripping it to pieces? why is so much energy being fed into negativity?
where does this negativity come from? is it coming from a place of self-consciousness, of a need to prop oneself up? is this negativity a competitive thing?
what follows are a series of random thoughts i had after posing those questions...aka, here's how i see it, aka...my fashion philosophy, and why i think it's important to negate the negativity:
there is no need to force others to live up to your standards of dress. we all have different likes, dislikes, needs, priorities and lifestyles. i cannot be made to measure up to your standards, just as i would never force you to measure up to mine.
difference is good. imperfection is good...it gives us something to learn from and strive for. i'm not perfect, and neither are you. and it's really, really okay.
i personally work hard to champion the glamourous, sleek, or minimalist mavens and the wild, experimental, hyperactive fashion experimentalists with equal vigor. my heart and mind are palpably warmed by seeing people looking good, looking like themselves, whatever their aesthetic. i believe that there is inherent beauty in all styles, all manners and modes of dressing. some may not be my cup o' tea, but that's just dandy. life's too short to be nasty...being nice feels better to me.
i think it is also important to champion those who TRY, but don't get it quite "right," and in my mind and sometimes vocally, i am giving those individuals a hearty, honest pat on the back for making an effort. HELLO! THEY TRIED. i am big believer in making an effort...any effort, as long as said effort was earnest. the act of trying is in and of itself is a victory, for those who try, and the world at large! trying and failing is better than not trying at all. they can smile and laugh and learn from their misteps, and so can we.
again, again, again: no human being is perfect...and thus, the need for lashing out and judging others is really unnecessary. as the old adage goes, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones...
style, in my mind, is NOT an US versus THEM affair, it is not a competition wherein one fashion camp "wins". no one aesthetic is inherently "better" than another. there is something out there to suit each individual on the planet. nothing is truly inherently "wrong", or inherently "right". such judgements cannot be made about something as subjective as style. it may not be for you, but not being for you does not make it "wrong". it just doesn't. period.
the beauty of fashion in these early years of the 21st century is that it is incredibly diverse...you can wear what you want to wear, and be whom you want to be, depending on the context. you (and everyone else) have the freedom and the right to be who you want to be, and to express yourself in the way that you see fit. don't abide anyone who endeavors to tell you any different.
this world is so full of nastiness, of negativity. do we really, honestly need more?
negativity for negativity's sake only benefits the ego of the one spewing the negativity, and it is potentially hurtful for the target. even if expressed over bits and bytes, it can still sting...it is very real.
baseless, hurtful, biting negativity keeps people from pushing and trying with their clothing choices and can stifle their attempts to express their personal style. negativity can beget fear. fear is the mind killer, the personality killer. fear stops people from trying and expressing. as a result, they want to avoid the negativity, and often times sink into medocrity and sometimes plainess in an effort to avoid that negativity. people who have been the target of baseless negative feedback may subsequently be loathe to try again with fashion, to stretch their limits, and may give up on themselves and getting dressed altogether.
i think that act of giving up is incredibly sad...and even more sad, it might have been precipitated by the negative words of others. it's really tragic...and unnecessary. people can be nasty, but you don't have to listen.
when one person stretches, they stretch their own mind, and often, the minds of others. these people may just be the ones who move style forward...because they took a risk and put themselves out there, put something together in a way that pleased them. maybe, just maybe, they hit upon an innovation, and it reverberates through our culture, igniting a new trend. the thought of that very phenomenon is beautiful to me. not everyone who tries succeeds, but damn, the ones who do deserve adoration, not nastiness.
people who push boundaries (ones of their own creation or instilled by the culture at large), who simply TRY, who cultivate confidence and creativity and who are unafraid to fail, people who remain true to themselves and open to the world and everything it offers, even if its not their "aesthetic"...those people are truly my fashion heroes.
while i don't abide baseless, aimless negativity or nastiness, i do in fact support intelligent discussion and i do believe that constructive criticism about style has it's place (particularly and primarily when it is asked for). we all have our opinions, and we're welcome to them, but there are tactful ways of expressing those opinions, especially if they could be perceived as negative. such tact takes sensitivity and skill...such tact should be cultivated amongst the stylish, should they want to be taken seriously.
it's for these reasons and more i am against lists of rules for dressing...i wouldn't want to impose them on others, just as i wouldn't want them to be imposed upon me. i am the one who makes my own rules for myself.
you will rarely never see me make too many cutting declarations about that which is "in" or "out" in my own blog. the idea of doing such literally makes me cringe...and i cringe when i see such in magazines or elsewhere. i have opinions...sure! but i don't want to fill my mind, life, and by extension, my blog with lists of (alleged) lameness. what's out today will soon be back tomorrow. writing anything fashionable off, ANYTHING, seems a laughable prospect to me. i might not like it today, but might love it tomorrow. fashion is fickle, and so am i. listening to my own whims, tastes, and desires to me seems a better bet in a fast fashion world. the world is spinning, and knowing who i am and what i like aesthetically become the relative constants that keep me stylistically grounded.
kindness and positivity begets kindness and positivity. put positivity into the world, and it will come back to you in spades.
what say you? intelligent discussion welcomed. :)