Day 3: Your Clothes are Your Costume

When I was about eight my mother put me into community theater. I was dramatic as a kid and she thought it would be good for me. I still remember the final show – dressed as a wolf in sheep’s clothing I was supposed to be carted across the stage, in a wagon, by the farmer. Well, my sheep cloak got caught on a wagon wheel while the farmer kept pulling the wagon, which just wrapped the cloak tighter around the wheel and made its strap pull tighter at my throat. After a few moments of being choked the cloak’s strap broke, leaving me a wolf, pretending to be a sheep, but missing my sheep’s clothing.

Your clothes are your costume, your first impression, how you present yourself to the world. How you say “look at me”, or “don’t look at me”. In the play, I was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, in reality, I’m more of a sheep in wolf’s clothing. I never paid much attention to what I was wearing until I took the summer between my sophomore and junior year of college to reinvent myself. I wanted to feel “tougher”, so I started dressing “tougher”. Armed with my Timberland boots, RayBan glasses, and earbuds plugged in I was invincible.

With online shopping, overnight shipping, and sites like Poshmark anyone can reinvent themselves in a matter of mouse clicks. I’ve found that this is a pillar of my shopping problem.If my style starts to sway in one direction I buy up all the pieces needed to create a new puzzle of myself.

Breaking the cycle of “idea -> style change -> shopping -> wardrobe change -> idea” is not going to be a simple feat. Trends change faster than the seasons and, as someone who loves reveling in the newest designs to come out of fashion week, how can we actually keep up? Every fashion show, issue of Vogue, or email advertisement shows me a new potential for myself. They’re selling an image, and I’m buying the clothes.

Deleting apps, canceling subscriptions, and attempting to avoid the temptation is impossible. Learning to live in harmony with it all? Even more impossible. My combat tactic is simple: review my closet, find all the classic pieces I truly love, discard the rest. Black jeans I wear 4x a week? Keep. Sequined crop top I think I wore once in 2014? Toss.

Next time I see a trend I have to have there will be a new question: Does it fit in with who I am? This question may seem vapid, after all, they’re just clothes, but as a society, we have weaponized fashion. Instead of shopping for an image, I’m going to focus on shopping for pieces that fit me. Not the look sold to me, but the style I have created for myself.


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