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Thursday, September 16, 2010

MoHos and Their Clothes: An Excursion into Fashion

Recent discussions with Chedner and Romulus have in one way or another been cloting related.  Another friend has requested a series on fashion (although that was many months ago).  I’ll take a stab at that in this ongoing series.

Hopefully, I don’t make too many enemies. 

As I’ve shared before, I’m a fan of cultural analysis and feel as Derrida that “Everything is a text.”  Today, I’ll delve a bit into what your clothes say about you, taking a few stores into account along with a personal anecdote or two. 

I’ll get this out of the way, first: given the choice of free clothes at any store for life (save the truly high end stores one finds in truly high end places other than Utah), I would have to go with:

Express

express-clothing

Removing the hot model from the picture, what is the statement made by these clothes?  That is the implicit and unavoidable thought I have as I’m making calls on fashion.  Again, unavoidable as someone who plans to analyze culture for a living.

Before I answer that question, I think it’s important I address part of my fashion history.  Six years ago, I was considered borderline obese for my height.  I was reasonably intelligent, but I thought it was necessary to focus on my other strengths because focus on one’s outward appearance is, by definition, superficial.

This is one of the secondary conflicts of The Devil Wears Prada.  Andy (played by Anne Hathaway) arrives semi-frumpy to work at a magazine ruled by fashionista Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep).  As she grows confident in herself, her fashion changes and in the end, she fuses together a new, more confident identity through altering (not completely) her sense of fashion.

image

A very similar thing happened to me in, of all places, Brazil.  My first missionary companion berated me for my ties, shoes, and belts not matching.  He also made occasional jabs at my weight.  However, a month into our companionship, I was down forty pounds. 

In the second year of my mission, my favorite companion of all sat me down and told me that the very next day off we had, we were going to go to the store and buy me a new outfit.  One that fit my smaller waist size as well as the more confident personality emerging as a result of my Brazilian encounter.  Something changed in me the moment I saw the contours of my body feeling at home in a pair of jeans that actually fit.

express dress shirtsClothing in that moment began to communicate and accentuate the confidence within.  That was a moment in life in which I felt sharing what was on the inside was finally an option.  I had something to offer the world.  

I suppose the image I have of Express is the closest match to what I feel I offer the world.  

Co-workers often throw out words like “classy” and “vibrant” to compliment my sense of style—one inspired by the bright, defining colors and lean, angular dimensions of Express. 

My Express Pick:  dress shirts.

 

End, Part 1.

7 comments:

Ryan said...

So you found your inner fashionista in Brazil? On a mission? WOW!

Q said...

I used to work at express and besides smart-ass t-shirts, is the predominant staple of my wardrobe.

Lloyd said...

I enjoyed reading the posts on your blog. I would like to invite you to come on over to my blog and check it out. God bless, Lloyd

Jack said...

Great post! Only gays and girls shop for "outfits". Guys just grab for what they can, and hope for the best.

robert said...

I think Scott's blog the Sartorialist
is one of the most interesting fashion sites there is. I have learned so much from his eye particularly about bespoke men's tailoring and how to dress as an older man. I really want to wear saris but I'm waiting a few more years. Of course if a guy is really hot, I prefer no fashion at all :)

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Dad Primal said...

I could so use help in the fashion arena! I'm probably about ready to lose my gay card over it. I have a female friend who works in fashion who accuses me of trying to make drab popular. I made it to Brazil and back without the change you experienced. I suppose it's never too late.

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