Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"You got your fashion in my politics!" "You got your politics in my fashion!"

Thus, this post begins in a similar way to most posts that actually see life on this blog. I go to write about shoes, I end up writing about Snuggies. I went just now to write about the joys of maxi-skirts, then after commenting on a recent What I Wore post, my brain went on a tangent about politics, fashion, personal style, and the inevitability of their mixing.

All Jessica did was put on some menswear and ask us if we felt free to wear whatever we want to!

The resultant conversation ranged widely, from women in menswear to hijabs to men in womenswear to bringing back the tricorne hat. (I'm bringin' tricorne baaaaack! You new-new-romantics don't know how to aaaaaact!)

Quoth your blogmistress in the comments:
Oh, I TOTALLY wear whatever I want. I don't even tone down the flamboyancy it now that I've moved from Indy to Vincennes for a little bit. (And for heaven's sake, my clothes aren't even out-there. People just aren't used to seeing hats with flowers and sashes instead of Nascar logos around here LOL) I am fortunate though, in that my personal style borders on the uberfemme. I barely even own jeans. People raise their eyebrows, and some shallow college students have openly made fun of my duds, but more often I get compliments on my "creativity and guts."

I'm all for women in menswear, men in skirts (Hey, it works in Japan), and I REALLY wish more men stateside were comfortable carrying a satchel, er, man-purse, whatever you want to call it. I'm of the belief that there are some norms that just shouldn't be as they are, and if you never push those boundaries, they're just going to stay right where they are, or even recede.

I totally realized, upon a re-read, that the way I dress reflects my politics pretty much exactly. Loud and proud in my femininity, and mostly unafraid to push against norms that I disagree with. I find myself wondering how common this reflection of politics in personal style is among my contemporaries. (more)

The mingling of style and politic has a long and rich history, with examples as obvious as women eschewing bras as an item of oppression in the 60's to the more obscure and exciting (albeit morbid) trend of women in post-Revolutionary France tying red strings 'round their necks and calling it "a la guillotine." Gallows fashion also extended to the short, shaggy cropped hair of the "a la victime" style. And let's not even get started on the modern-day implications of wearing things like the hijab or keffiyah, or modern ladies still wearing corsetry. In truth, though in more subtle ways than most of these examples, there is a political implication in everything we wear. There are just those people who recognize that they're acting within these implications, and those who don't.

(Supplemental: The Fashion Institute of Technology's "200 Years of Political Fashion" online exhibit.)

Do your clothing choices tell something about your own politics? What styles and/or eras are you most drawn to?

1 comment:

  1. Great post! A lot of food for thought here!