What our clothes say

So I was standing in line at the grocery store the other day, catching up on my required reading about the latest in the on going train wreck that is Paris Hiltons life, who’s had a melt down now, who was over weight, and which celebrity’s marriage is on the rocks, when I happened to take notice of the guy in line in front of me.

There’s this young guy. He’s unshaven, wearing baggy pants, with his underwear hanging out. He’s got a wife beater tank top Tshirt on, a woolen cap, and has several gold chains around his neck. He’s got a sullen expression on his face, and he’s “whatever” to any question the people he is with put to him. This guy is so totally trying to be Eminiem that’s it silly. But he quite misses the point of how ridiculous he is. To him, wearing all this apparel is an expression of nonconformity. He’s being ‘out side the lines’, ‘true to himself, and fuck you if you don’t like it’.

Yet, he completely doesn’t realize that effectively by wearing all this stuff to not-conform, he’s completely conforming to the group that he subscribes to. He wants to be viewed as some kind of ‘bad boy’ so he wears what the bad boys are wearing. He’s not being himself, he’s trying to be them. He might as well be wearing a uniform, which in one way he is. But he completely doesn’t see this, or rather, he does but won’t recognize it, which is where the sullen behavior comes from I suspect.

And it’s not just this lot of winners that subscribe to this idea. Goths, who revel in their ‘non conformist’ garb are totally part of a little group that has a strict dress code. The little Britney-ites enjoy their hip hugging jeans and bare midrifs. Some girls are all about short skirts and tight tops because they imagin? they have something to display. Back in my day it was all Rockers and Mods during the school years, and then it was the Miami Vice pastels and jackets… an idea I stayed well away from, thankfully.

What we choose to wear reveal so much about us, even when we don’t want it to. For my part, what I wear reveals “I want something comfortable, I don’t try to impress anyone, I really don’t need to conform to any groups idea’s about what to wear, and I guess I have to wear something because I can’t go around naked. Beyond that, I don’t care”. My wife constantly despairs of my dress sense, because mainly I don’t have any. It’s a matter of supreme unimportance to me. And what I wear day to day signifies that.

Other people have to be trendy, to keep up with what’s current, which reveals that they consider what other people think about them more important than what they think about themselves.

Some people, as has been mentioned, conform to a particular group and therefore use their dress code, showing a lack of thinking for themselves, or a strong sense of group identity (or some degree of both). Either way, it tells a lot about you.

The one thing I find interesting about it all is the reaction people have to being shown pictures of themselves, 10 years on. 99% of these people who need to be gothic or ‘hood’ tend to look at them and go “Oh my god! What WAS I thinking?”. And they are right. What the hell ARE they thinking??

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