Saturday, March 29, 2014

Fluid Sensuality

    The essential element in attire, the inescapable one, is textiles.  Whether it be cotton denim, ocelot fur, silk crepe or polyester double knit, attire requires them absolutely.  And the chief attraction of textiles, beyond the simple fact of their necessity, is the innate sensual quality they all have.  We love the feel of fabrics. Mobility, color, texture, density and pattern are all players in the game of desire that textiles present us constantly.
    Whether we fully apprehend the deeply sexual aspect of textiles or not doesn't diminish their effect on us.  We like our sheets crisp and cool, our towels densely textural, and our underwear playfully smooth.  This connection has a significant role in why and how attire has become such a powerful factor in our world. Our choices of garments are driven to a massive degree by our initial reaction to the combined factors presented by the fabric from which they are made.
    From the moment we enter a store intent on getting something for ourselves, (with the exception of rigidly controlled situations like buying uniform pants for work, where the only consideration is fit), we scan and reject instantly dozens, if not hundreds of options, wordlessly.
    Once we have narrowed the field to a reasonable level of choice, then we begin the process of sampling for effect on us.  We look for color first, then texture and pattern, then for fit and garment quality last.  If this is observably so, then the subtext is that our primary goal is the fulfillment of a series of interlocked sensual desires.  We want, very nearly above all other considerations, our clothes to appeal to all our senses.  We want to love the color, the weight, the structure, and the pliability of our clothes, often even more than we concern ourselves about proper fit.  Who among us hasn't bought a garment because the color or feel of the fabric outweighed the reality that it was slightly too big or small?
    I know that I own a few shirts that, apart from a somewhat dodgey fit, just plain feel so good that I go to them routinely.   The pure sensual pleasure of having that fabric moving over my skin is delicious, and we have all felt that before, in fact we actively seek it out.
    We also respond instantly and viscerally to patterns, and to the color combinations within them.  Our reactions are complicated, because the balance of colors and the particulars of pattern carry subliminal messages to us. Florals are perceived differently in our minds than geometric designs.
We can get feelings of warmth, lightness, season, and place from the patterns within fabrics, and all of that influences our later decisions, though most of the time we never voice it.
    Then there is texture.  Once we are beguiled by a certain texture we have noted, we really can't help but reaching out and touching it.  And if that experience pleases us, it goes a very long way indeed toward making our final choice. Texture also carries with it myriad subliminals. We can remember our childhood, recall a relationship, and dream of a place we have never been before, all because of the way a fabric feels in our hands.  Sure, we mostly don't let this rise to our conscious mind, but its there, nonetheless, working on us and our decisions.
    So sometime soon let yourself go, and immerse yourself in the fluid sensuality that is fabric.  Its a revelatory, rewarding experience.

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