Tuesday, September 07, 2004

I feel pretty… Oh so pretty!

I just went clothes shopping for the first time in many years. I’ve lost a bit of weight and I’m swimming in most of my old, raggedy clothes now. I had an item I could return for store credit, so I figured now was the time. Being quite budget-conscious, I kept pretty low expectations. But I found some great sales and ended up buying more than I intended.

The thing I hate about clothes shopping is that there seems to be a necessary narcissistic component. (Well, for me at least. Maybe if I had really low self-esteem it wouldn’t be that way.) But it consists of trying on different outfits in front of a mirror and seeing what you look best in. There is something Platonic about that I think. As though I have some perfect form that I am trying to mimic. It would be one thing if it were a strictly mechanical process of determining best form for fit from an aesthetic perspective. But the whole self-expression aspect comes into it. Which really frustrates me to no end. How am I supposed to express my personality through the layers of 1. only buying what is on sale. 2. only being able to afford certain stores. 3. only getting to choose from an assortment of options that some business executive at Nordstrom Rack decided they should buy from some fashion designers who have no desire to let me express my personality through their clothes. ? Wait, that started as a question, right? Yeah.

The fashion industry is so bizarre. I have no clue how it works. You see the crazy Halloween-worthy outfits paraded about at fashion shows. But you never see anything like that at Target or J.C. Penny’s. You have these fashion designers who would consider themselves artists. Yet it seems like the best they can do to evoke emotion with their work is to use previous fashion trends. Oh gee. Look, a wide collar. That totally makes me think of the seventies. Oooo. Little, thin tennis shoes with wide stripes. Yeah. Good job fashion designer. I’m impressed. ... I can’t express myself by referencing the 70’s. Why is this my only option? Oh wait, it’s not. I could also go to…

Hot Topic! This place is sheer insanity. The theme is teenage angst and rebellion. They sell bongs, black lights, Wicca paraphernalia, CDs, and some clothes. They stock “Gothic Beauty” magazine. They are SO underground. No wait. They are in every mall in America. They are packed with Jr. High kids buying striped socks to put on their hands. My problem is that I love their aesthetic. But I don’t think I can stand the thought of wearing their homogenized uniqueness. I don’t want to look the same as all those ‘creative’ kids in the goth crowd. So as usual, I’m trapped in mediocrity. I got some nice shirts with the stupid long 70’s collars. The one item I got that I feel expresses me the most is a shirt that says, “My mommy says I’m special!” Because she does.

And then I gotta ask myself: Am I supposed to express myself through what I wear? Expressing oneself seems to be a common goal for people of my generation. But what does that mean? Is my ‘self’ really so important that I should spend energy communicating its’ attributes? As one who wishes to express Christ before myself, I am compelled to say no. But regardless, I still have to buy clothes and wear them. So does God care what I where? In as far as our appearance is a reflection of our hearts, I suppose He does. But it would be the root issue that He cares about. If I dress in a prideful, disrespectful, lewd, or slovenly manner, I can use that observation to inspect my heart and find out why. I found that when I was shopping I was wanting to ‘feel pretty again’. I imagine that’s a common feeling among fresh divorcees. I don’t know if it’s good or bad or neither.

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