Fashion: Are You Socially Inferior?

" ...the rich and nouveau riche displayed their wealth through an iconography of signs and symbols that enhanced their body image in the eyes of those that saw themselves as socially inferior." 

-Pauline Weston Thomas, British Textile and Design Instructor


I quoted this sentence because of its strength on describing how people can be feeling that they are inferior in the their social life, within the fashion sphere. Something we might need to highlight is the 'those that saw themselves as socially inferior'.

Yes, psychologically, everything is based on your own mind, even in fashion. People around  you wear something fancy,  intriguing and your-so-called glamorous stuffs -designers' fancy clothes, shoes, jeweleries, you name it. So modern. 

The very facts make you feel like you cannot reach anything the same. You stay low in fashion and self esteem because you think you are not as fancy as they are. Thus, you neglect them, being ignorance, and feeling betrayed by fashion. Mindset? Viewpoint? Or whatever.

That's the function of fashion in the very beginning. Fashion is mostly used as class stratification, signs of your social position, or even your role in your social sphere (whether you want to act as a man or woman, poor or rich, wealthy businessman or 'productive' labor). That's fashion. 

Syahrini (left), Indonesian singer. In this pic, I personally think she is a bit overdressed. But no one shouldn't judge her when it comes to freedom of expression, since it definitely boosts her self confidence. But in fashion, she will be critisized, of course. Her Hermes also a sign of class stratification. (Pic: her instagram)

 Yet, everything has changed now. What you think of fashion as social signs is no longer that applicable in reality. Now fashion (to me) is a sign of freedom, any kind of freedom, even freedom of speech. Fashion is a sign and symbol of people's unspoken words. You can be a queer at a moment and others call you edgy. Whilst you can be glamorous and people call you overdressed right in front of your face.

Nicole Richie. One of truly fashion icons. She looks good in simple way, yet she can be stunning in this punk-inspired kind of look. She never loses this appellation as fashion icon, for she has that requirement: high level of versatility. (Pic: justjared.com)

 Now fashion is a dynamic world you cannot deny. The look of fashion as social sign or class stratification can only be given to those who have narrow mind. Fashion comes back to character. You choose what you want to wear because you choose who you want to be and represent at that day. You can show everyone your versatility -not stagnant and calling yourself very conscious about your style. You don't give anything to say to people who say you are lack of fashion sense. 

Fashion. It's only a matter of how you think of it. Some say clothes (and their friends) should be used in terms of necessity, means you need to wear something because you simply need it. Therefore, they only use jeans and tee for God's sake. Some other might think that fashion is about showing of, so they put layered necklace, millions of pearls, and 21 pieces of ring everyday. 

Fashion can also be a culture things. Tribes in Asia have their own definition of beauty, and it inevitably implies how they express body image. In Indonesia, we have a tribe which describe beautiful woman when their teeth shaped triangle -yes, look like shark teeth. Well, watch National Geographic for more, maybe?


Punk. They never declare themselves as a fashion statement, yet they were  theme for the latest Met Gala. People look down but they standstill. Fashion is not fashion at all, after all. (pic: theynotlive.com)

Or a street culture. A culture where you can find people dressing up for freedom of expression. Layered pants, oversized stuffs, studs, fancy heels, boots, you name it. Their freedom means monster expression for Tom Blanks. Yes, monster. He said 'it creates monsters, it doesn't create Gods'.

You see the point? Today is not a day you urge to feel inferior. Fashion nowadays have become a sphere where there is no wrong and right. Even they exist, you just need to keep your chin up and get along with life. Nothing to be worry about. This is not a day when you think they're popular because they're so fancy. It is all about which way you choose to be. People will judge, by the way. Class stratification is only determined by the price now. It is not style. It is not character, a thing which is most important.

Like a supreme quote of fashion,

You can buy fashion, you can't buy style

or this

"People respond well to those that are sure of what they want"
-Anna Wintour, VOGUE editor-in chief 

So from now on, try to be you in fashion. No need to feel inferior. Express more!


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