Feeling Fashionable

By definition, fashion is now and new. The oxford dictionary defines fashion as, “A popular trend, especially in styles of dress and ornament or manners of behavior.”

The latest NikeLab shoes are more likely to be seen as “in fashion” than say a mint condition Nokia flip-top cell phone, or a fifteen year-old Chanel handbag. But who could say those old items are not more likely, at the same time, to be more reliable, unique, practical and even more emotional satisfying? Could those ‘old’ fashion articles actually be more fashionable for individuals who feel emotionally invested in them?

What does it mean to wear something emotional satisfying? How do we choose garments to better express who we are and how we feel, rather than garments that are purportedly trending by fashion forecasters, bloggers and magazines?

We think about this question every morning when we get dressed. In an ongoing exploration, we’re developing our own methods for making fashion decisions. Below we’re proposing three ways to wear what you mean.

1. Start with your own unfeigned values and align with brands that reflect those values.

Shirt by Kapital constructed from recycled garments

In a world where fast fashion models dominate the apparel market, designers with ethical designs are going against the mold. Finding brands that align with what’s important to you can be emotionally rewarding. Through a little research you can find a brand to support a wide range of values from questioning culture norms via Comme des Garçons, whose French name means ‘Like Boys’, valuing craftsmanship via Yohji Yamamoto who is a respectable master tailor, or a deep affirmation of sustainability via Kapital whose garments are made by returned clothes.

2. Counteract anxiety with what you wear.

Amelia Earhart

In ‘The Secret Emotional Life of Clothes,’ an episode from the podcast Invisibilia, 8-year-old Franny is afraid of flying. However, after wearing a leather jacket, an aviator hat and aviator goggles and jeans, boots and an aviator scarf — just like Amelia Earhart, Franny finds the confidence she needs for take-off. When asked by the interviewer what would happen if she were put in an plane wearing her retro aviator outfit, Franny answers, “I’d feel like a pro.”

By dressing like someone we trust or admire, we might be able to transform into more brave versions of ourselves. Discovering the transformative power of fashion could allow us feel like a pro.

3. Express inner emotions organically and spontaneously.

Insecurity Jacket from AMERIKANAH

In an interview with Racked, one of Vox Media’s websites, Steph Krasnoff, the co-owner of New York City boutique, American Two Shot says:

“I guess there’s something cool about understanding yourself and your feelings, and literally wearing them on your sleeve. It may not be ‘cool’ to be sad, but it’s cool to be yourself.”

Fashion can also be a tool of our own to express and discuss dark or difficult feelings in a lighthearted way, instead of hiding or compensating for those feelings. After all, we are human and none of us could be confident in every moment of our lives. Maybe admitting that to each other more often can help take relieve some pressure!

At Matter-Mind Studio, we love to dig into the emotional content of contemporary culture. And we would love to meet and chat with like-minded people — write us with questions, thoughts or comments. Cheers!