Why do I look like this? “Just Because” by Jane’s Addiction
Job 31:15 Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb? (Side note: Once upon a time I wrote a book called Good Girl’s Guide to Life After High school which devoted an entire chapter to this scripture and a religious perspective of ‘fashion’. But that happened a lifetime ago.)
Story and Pictures:
If I had a nickel for every time some one said “Only you could pull that off” to me I would swim like Scrooge McDuck in my piles of money.
Wth does that even mean? It takes everything in my power not to whip back at them,
“So what you’re saying is, ‘Only you would be willing to look that insane.’ or did you mean ‘I cannot believe someone would put that on their body, I sure as hell wouldn’t’?”
Any way you slice it, “Only You Could Pull That Off” is a backhanded compliment. They’re not saying you look fabulous. They’re acknowledging that you are dressed differently than how they would ever “dare” to dress because wearing what you’re wearing would make them feel like an idiot. Hey Nor, what you’re wearing would make ME look like a freak, but because you ARE a freak it looks ok on you.
And around and around we go.
And to “Only You Could Pull That Off” I say, “Yep. It’s called not caring what other people think about you. You should totally try it some time.”
Fashion is a strange animal. To me fashion is wearable modern art. It’s mixing things together in an unexpected way that adds up into something artistic. When I get dressed in the morning I do not get dressed for anyone other than myself. I don’t dress for shock value. I don’t dress for attention. The only outside influence I DO consider is whether or not what I’m wearing will be perceived as disrespectful to whomever I might see. Other than that, I wear whatever the hell I feel like wearing.
My particular aesthetic is influenced by punk culture, a little bit of goth, some avant gaurde stuffy stuff and function. What I wear often reflects the way I’m feeling, as I think is the case for many of us. My requirements are that I cover my shoulders to nearly my knees in accordance with my religious commitments. It took a long time for me to figure out how to dress like “myself” using those parameters – I felt for a long time stifled and forced to dress in a more boring way, and I did that for a few years. But it just didn’t take. Normal doesn’t look normal on me. It looks weird and kind of sad.
Take Lululemon, for example. Those workout clothes are adorable. Everybody who wears them looks great, almost great enough to not require getting dressed in real clothes at all. Even the fattest ass looks great in Lulu. So one day I trekked in there and bought myself head-to-toe adorable Lululemon. I was so excited to put it on and rock it to kindergarten pickup. As soon as I got it home I put it on and looked in the mirror. I looked stupid. I looked like I was “trying-to-and-can’t”. I looked like a Lululemon poser. Back to the store it went, then I took that $230 and bought a whole new wardrobe at my favorite thrift stores. I don’t know why I felt so silly in that unequivocally attractive workout gear. I threw on my black t-shirt, sparkly leggings and combat boots and was good to go. Ahhh. Normal.
Fashion formula for kinda boring.
Sometimes people ask me if my style is a result of my divorce, or an attempt at reinvention, or some way to obnoxiously prove myself. It’s not. I have always been fashion-weird and I’m kind of ambivalent about it. I feel comfortable so I don’t really think about how it’s interpreted by others. Occasionally when I’m out with my girl friends who dress adorably and more traditionally I am aware of looking different, but it doesn’t really matter. The other day I wore exercisey-type clothes and a friend of mine stopped me and said, “I hardly recognized you!”
I have discovered that when you dress off-center the general public makes assumptions about you and you have to be doubly on your toes. For example, if my kid is doing something moderately questionable and a stranger’s judgment passes over their face it is invariably doubled when they see what I look like. Like a parent who looks like me would OBVIOUSLY have little hellions for children. That annoys me to no end. At the same time I DO like it when I’m given opportunities to demonstrate that fashion is just a side note for me. The other day when I was teaching the women’s class at my church I intro’d with explaining that my hair and style is just my theory of beauty and not a comment or rebellion against anything in particular. When I look in the mirror it makes me happy to see colors and contrast, soft and punk, infantile and sophisticated. That out of the way, I was able to get on with teaching without the distraction. It’s just appearance, you know. It doesn’t really matter.
The things I look at online and the fashion I’m drawn to in magazines inspire me, and not just in a “oh, she’s wearing mint, I shall buy something mint” kind of way. I think we all get fashion ideas from other people or magazines, the ones I look at are just apparently different (not better or worse) from the ones most people consume. The fashion choices I make make sense to me, to the aesthetic I appreciate. If you look at my Pinterest style board you’ll see what catches my attention as interesting fashion choices.
Here are some inspirations and interpretations for your amusement. Please bear in mind that I HATE posing for pictures and that the majority of these were taken by my five-year-old. Explained in this way I hope that you kind of “get” my fashion choices.
It feels good to wear a tutu. You should try it.
Hoodie, cotton candy hair, black lipstick.
Do you have any idea how comfortable I am in this outfit?
Gothic Game of Thrones meets Workaholics? I say yes!
Beetlejuice meets Bitchin’ Barbie and Zac Posen. Makes sense to me.
When I was in high school my dad brought me home a pair of Docs from London. I had them for three days and then he accidentally THREW THEM AWAY. I have never recovered and I cannot stop buying boots, mostly Docs. And the leggings? I originally called them my rocket pants but was corrected. They are shuttle pants.
Audrey Kitching inspired by Frida Khalo with teal blue hair. Goes with the Sex Pistols shirt. Perfecto.
There’s just something so easy about punk clothes. The more you wear them the better they feel, wear them every day if you want. Zero pretense.
Grungy pinkhairdon’tcare paired with ethereal material. Reminds me of Courtney Love and grunge princess slip dresses.
Fluffy fur coat, little bit of sparkles, and romantic pastel colors. And the Unabomber in the background. (like that, Pet Name?)
And then just a few more things that I think about when I’m getting dressed. If I had to sum up my taste in three pictures it would be these:
How much I want to be wearing each of these outfits.
Sandy. Tell me about it, stud.
aaaaaaannnnd this Cotton Candy Monster.
Maybe I never grew out of tutus and sparkly things. So what? Fashion does not reflect character nor intelligence nor even class.
So the next time somebody says to me, “Only you can pull that off” I think I might respond, “What does it take to pull something off? Why don’t you have whatever that is?”