Updated: May 19
“I love clothes!”, I replied when a friend of mine asked me why I was all dressed up while going out for a casual dinner. “But, why?”, she asked. To be honest, I never gave it much thought up until that point. It got me thinking about why we wear what we wear. Why do we go for THIS dress and not THAT one? Why do we lean towards specific colors or silhouettes? Why do we hold on to specific accessories that we never wear? Do our careers define our wardrobe? Is it our upbringing or is it influencers? I realized there are many answers, here are some that apply to me:
We all have favorite clothes that make us feel good and secure. In my case, I love wearing my late father's sweaters and t-shirts when I'm at home as wearing them takes me back to happier times and makes me feel warm and safe. The type of clothes we wear is a result of our subconscious preferences for certain styles or aesthetics--so it's no surprise that these traits get passed down through generations like mannerisms due to how deeply ingrained they become in your personality over time! On the one hand, I love fashion because I enjoy being able to connect to my roots by exploring the literal fabric of my family history and culture - my mother's beautiful and vibrant sarees, kurtas, and pashminas. On the other hand, clothing choices could also reflect the polar opposite of how we were raised which in my case was extremely visible during my rebellious teen angst years when the only color I looked to add in my closet was something darker than black! I am glad to inform you that I have now finally found a perfect balance of both worlds!
The world is a marketplace of temptations. The thrill of finding a new style is exciting, but it's not likely that we will buy anything right away because it's not "my style". Once we see the clothes on others and pass by billboards advertising the style - our initial reaction to those styles becomes diluted as more and more encounters occur that make us think "Hey, you know what? Maybe I could pull it off!" We follow people online who we think are similar to us, or perhaps we follow them for aspirational reasons - whatever the reason brands know how to use it to their advantage. After more than two decades of following trends and fashionistas randomly and spending money left and right while still waking up “with nothing to wear”, I decided to refine my feed by following bloggers that created content or suggested brands that were somewhat similar to 1) my personal style, 2) my physique, 3) felt minimal effort and 4) educated me on sustainable and ethical fashion. The world is still a marketplace of temptations, but now I am a little more conscious of what I invest in and support.
The clothing style one wears says a lot about them, but there are even more layers of meaning. The clothes we wear reveal our social status and politics in addition to how religious or spiritual individuals identify themselves with certain cultures around the world. Over the past years, fashion has gained wider meaning. It has been used to make a political and environmental impact on the world we find ourselves in. Sustainable fashion has taken the front seat, challenging even the most well-renowned fashion houses. The aim is to live in harmony with nature, unlike fast-fashion clothing which uses scarce resources like water or cotton farmland for production instead of supporting creative artisans who make clothes out of natural fibers such as hemp. Fashion can be a powerful tool in the fight against climate change- making it possible for people to wear clothes that produce less greenhouse gas emissions, offer greater recycled content, and have been designed with sustainable materials like bamboo or organic cotton - all without sacrificing comfort!
So, why do I love clothes? I guess to me it means I get to experiment with my style, express my creativity or simply engage myself in setting the tone for a particular setting, mindset, or role. Sure, getting a compliment from someone on a look you’ve put together is nice, but what’s nicer is the gratification of knowing I like what I see, and that I feel good and guilt-free about what I’m wearing. Clothes are much more than just a way to show up, it's an expression of how we feel and what our values are. It is a universal language that transcends all boundaries and can tell us a lot about the people around us, including ourselves.