Why do we make the fashion choices we do? Whatever the case, designers cater to our every whim.
Sure we are told to dress for ourselves, but the truth is there is a psychological process in play every time we open our closets, flip through a magazine, or walk into Barneys.
That psychological process is just as important a factor in a design house as creativity. Designers make a conscious decision to cater to our specific underlying desires.
1. RECAPTURING THE ESSENCE OF YOUTH
Youth is associated with a carefree lifestyle, a better (and more fertile) body, and a more vigorous sexuality.
Lines presented by Luella Bartley and Alexander Wang make us feel like we can still enjoy the casual and the quirky. Taking chances has nothing to do with age. Be bold in your choices. Take some Urban Outfitters pieces and mix them with Rick Owens.
2. APPRECIATION FROM OUR FASHIONABLE PEERS
This psychosis is most common among true fashion aficionados. We want fashionable people to notice us.
This may come in the form of wearing standout pieces from the season that only a certain kind of person would recognize and identify. It may mean dressing in editorial theme on certains days of the week, for example ‘Thursday is jet setter Americana, a la Michael Kors’.
Most often this means supporting labels that are not commercial, the up and coming young designers and lines that are covered in only the chicest of publications, such as Numero, V, 10, and Pop.
This is a full time process. Fashion is so fast and ever-changing that in only a couple of of years something once hip and underground has permeated the mainstream. Remember when Proenza was cool because not everyone owned it? If impressing others is your primary motivation, enjoy your Rodarte and Thakoon while its still a little edgy, before the designers have a line at Target.
However, it is important not to abandon logic altogether. Sometimes things are only seen in Numero on Catherine McNeil for good reason.
3. ATTENTION FROM THE OPPOSITE SEX
There is a certain stigma among the fashion elite for dressing to sexually attract. We tend to look down on women for wanting to be wanted, who deliberately try to achive that through their clothes. But it is possible to attain this goal and still be chic.
Remember that sex has long been a primary factor of fashion, catapulted into new territory in the 80’s by Gianni, Thierry Mugler, Herve Leger and Alaia. The later years brought us Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana and Tom Ford.
With few exceptions, sex is now a part of a collection rather than a part of a designer’s identity. Anyone can have a sex driven line but the new generation of houses seem to not want their entire brand associated with sexuality. This makes it easier for us. There was a time when wearing a certain designer meant you were “that girl”, but now that stigma has lessened.
4. CELEBRITY OBSESSION AND EMULATION
Celebrity. The very nature of it consumes our attention and makes us revere complete strangers.
Dressing like a celebrity is the most minor offense in celebrity fixation. Admiring the style (or stylist) of a celebrity is inevitable. They are everywhere and when we look for inspiration its commonplace to pull up images of our favorite celebrity darlings. We find identifying features on our “personal icons” and we emulate within our budget.
Kate Bosworth’s printed dresses and signature bags, Ashley Olsen’s’ scarily large accessories, Chloe Sevigny’s super short skirts and platform shoes.
Designers such as Derek Lam, Narciso Rodriguez and Chloe appeal to our casual Hollywood aesthetic with every collection. This is why magazines are refusing to put models on covers, and this is why the most important front rows of fashion week are movie starlets and Top 40 chart toppers.
5. LIVING OUT THE FANTASY OF ANOTHER PERSONALITY
Then there are the rebels, those of us who dress for the purpose of standing out, breaking from the status quo. And what better vehicle than fashion to act out our biggest fantasies?
What else allows you to present any image to the world you want? Isn’t this extreme style at the root of our love of fashion anyway? The platform to speak silently, the canvas on which to create any kind of art on any given day. This isn’t an abandonment of one’s true personality – it is artful recreation.
You are supposed to be motivated when it comes to fashion. You are supposed to be inspired.
Photos courtesy of the Fashion Spot forums.