The lie that is “individuality”, or: Why people dress that bad
I love commuting. There’s no better place to learn things about mankind than public transportation.
A thing one will recognize, especially in german-speaking countries, for whatever reason, is that wherever you go and whatever people there are, every possible fashion-wise sin will be present. People just don’t know how to dress, it seems. Teenagers look like bums or gay models, twens (what a dumb word) look like millionaires or pro-athletes and then, as the age goes up, people seem to start to wear “whatever is around”, mixing in some just-not-fitting pieces to even mess up a jeans-pullover combo with a hawaiian shirt underneath, socks + slippers, whatever – you name it, someone on the subway will be wearing it.
Now this seems odd in a world of beauty. Advertising, movies, magazines – fashion and fashion designers are everywhere and everybody making it on camera or on a cover is beautiful and well-dressed and rich and everything. With cheap clothing all around one would think that it’s really not as big a deal to at least wear something that matches.
But I, with that superior brain of mine, figured out the root of fashion-evil. All by myself. I rule.
Truth is: Most people don’t dress how the feel like. They don’t put on what they like. They don’t wear clothes that express themselves. Why not? Because they want to be – drum roll – individual! So what do they do, exactly, to be individual?
They dress like other people.
Like George Clooney. Like Brad Pitt. Like Carry Bradshaw. Like Bruce Wayne. Like people that don’t even exist. The don’t dress to express themselves, but to appear to be something they aren’t quite that sure to really be. Teenagers dress like bums because they want to appear as if they wouldn’t care about anything materialistic, about what their parents care about, and under the 40-Euro-Derelict-Fashionline-Worn-Out-Shirt there dangles the newest iPod, filled with the collector’s edition of all the albums of their favorite “we don’t care about anything materialistic or what our parents care about”-Musicians, who most likely don’t have to worry about materialistic things anymore, really.
They dress like gay models because they think it’s what the girls want. And, frankly, many girls do think they want guys that look like gay models (see the death-spiral of people looking like they accidentally fell asleep in the solarium and you would prefer to fundraise for than try to hook up with?). They dress like gay models because they want to be models, and they wouldn’t even mind to pretend they are gay if it would help (sidenote: no offense intended. There’s nothing wrong being gay. Gay people rock. But it’s wrong to pretend you’re gay for the same reasons it’s wrong to pretend to the local highschool you’re the district’s breastcancer-inspector).
They dress like millionaires because they want to live in a 7,5 million squarefoot loft with a rooftop pool a sexy housekeeper and some eight luxury cars down in the two-story parking garage / wine cellar complex. Oh, and because they want others to think they already do so.
They dress like … well, you get the idea, do you? The problem is that there aren’t so many sources for inspiration, so people tend to do one thing: They buy what they see people they admire are wearing. Just they never buy an outfit. They buy that sweater. Those jeans. That bag. Those shoes. And then they end up wearing James Bond’s shoes with Vin Diesel’s shirt in a moment of indecision about either being a millionaire today or a pro athlete, coming up with the solution that being a millionaire pro athlete might be even better. They end up wearing that Carrie Bradshaw Dress, just they aren’t self-conscious women but women who desperately want to seem self-confident, running around with stuff they don’t even feel comfortable in.
I might be wrong about all of this. But who the hell cares? It all comes down to: Most people dress like really bad. And a lot of them think by looking like somebody else they become more individual.
Disclaimer: I do not claim to be any better. I try to buy clothes I think make me look dangerous, offensive and basically an early prison-release. I put on whatever is at hands in the morning and for work I even wear suits. I am weak, too. We all suffer the same. Pity us.