Too Cool

Posted by Jill Chivers in My Story

Snood wearer


Welcome and greetings from a brisk 6 degrees in Melbourne. We’re up to blog #64 and in a recent weekend magazine piece, the fashion editor was talking about fashion trends. It struck me as being a particularly fascinating and perhaps over-looked perspective about this thing called fashion. She was talking about the early-adopters of fashion trends and how they are often too cool for school.

Here’s what Rachel Wells from The Age had to say in this piece:

Take it away, Rachel: “It occurred to me recently that people are often ostracised just as much for being [too] fashionable as they are for being unfashionable….. it seems people are equally amused by those who jump on the latest fashion craze as they are by those trapped in some kind of fashion time warp. This only really struck me the other morning when I caught myself chuckling at a young guy on his way to the tram stop wearing a pair of black leggings, a tailored sports jacket complete with a hood and an over sized woollen snood. He was the most “on trend” guy I’d seen in weeks, yet there I was giggling like a school girl”.

Snood – but only if it’s over sized. The photo to the right was as close as I could find that might be what Ms Wells encountered at the tram stop. Note the oversize snood. I didn’t even know what a snood was until I Googled it last night. Let alone know that they come in sizes up to “over-sized”. One would imagine a “regular” would be sufficient, right? Clearly not.

I was so relieved to read this piece. I’ve mused before about my view of those extravagant haute coutre fashion shows and what their real purpose surely must be. I’ve scratched my head at fashion merchandising, wondering about what’s in and why. I have wondered why we are collectively manhandled by the fashion world into striving to constantly be “in fashion” which translates to constantly be “in consumption”. Does it ever become too much?

Clearly, the answer is yes. Not only does it translate into over sized snoodling, which can’t be good for you on a constant basis. But it translates into over sized credit card bills as well. Combined together, this has got to be deadly.

Meaning…. In all my musing on this blog, one thing I have never questioned is that clothes mean something. Clothes don’t mean everything, sure, but they mean more than nothing. Why else is Australia having a debate right now, at the highest political levels, about the wearing of the burqa? Both the Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard (at the time of writing), and the leader of the opposition, Tony Abbott, were last night on the documentary granddaddy of them all, Four Corners, both commenting on the “burqa issue”.

Laughing and pointing. No thanks. Back to Ms Wells of The Age. She says that she doesn’t want to be laughed at behind her back or pointed at in public for being so fashion forward that she looks like she may be off to a steam punk costume party. Many, including my good self, would relate to that (so few of us these days actually enjoy being the object of abject ridicule – where has our fighting spirit gone?).

Fashionable? Or is that ridiculous? I can’t quite tell…..So, where does the line between being fashionable end and being ridiculous start? I wonder if being fashionable is achievable, it’s so elusive and capricious…. Trying to be constantly in fashion is like being inside a tornado – you never know which way and when the wind will turn, and if you’ll end up with a flatbed truck landing on top of you. Metaphorically speaking, of course. I’m fairly certain that constantly being in fashion is not desirable. It’s just the wrong thing to be striving for.

Expression… or delusion…And where is the line between self-expression and self-delusion (accompanied by bleatings of baaaabaaa, in a sheep-like fashion)? I want to be me, just not a ridiculous version of me (if I’m going to be ridiculous, clothes should not be the reason for it – there are much funner ways to be absurd). I want to be current, but not so “bang on trend” I look ludicrous or so keen to be fashionable that all identity is lost. An oversize snood may very well cover up more than just the lower part of your face.

I want my clothes to express and inform who I am – they shouldn’t dictate or confine. I mean, isn’t that the happy purpose of clothes?

As I puzzle on this, and the temperature climbs to a staggering 9 degrees Celsius here on this glorious Melbourne morning, I’m sure of one thing. Well, two things. My home address and phone number. And an oversize woollen snood is probably not going to be part of my future. Right?

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