Thursday, August 14, 2014

Matchy Matchy Matching!

    Its a very curious thing, our desire to look as much like one another as we can, now and again.  We invest a fair amount of energy into it, and will sometimes go to extremes to achieve it.  Of course there is the desire to copy famous folk, or characters from stories or films or television.  But in this case, I am addressing our sometime desire to look like each other.
    We have all seen, or perhaps been, those who are coupled, and dress alike from time to time.  In Hawaii, I saw more than one vacationing family dressed in matching aloha shirts from Hilo Hattie.  And we've all witnessed groups of like minded folk who by association seem to dress alike, all wearing versions of the same hair, and clothes.
     So first we have a sweet desire of those who are in close relationship to express visually the connection that they share to each other.  Sometimes, when it isn't carried to extremes, its really pretty adorable.  A young couple who wear similar tee shirts, or an older one that echos pattern in each other's clothes.  This can seem charming to us, giving us a colorful cue to the level of their commitment to each other.
    Other times, this same thing can exceed the sweet, and get to another level entirely, where we begin to infer negatives connected to the identical nature of the ensembles.  The correlation is that the more completely the clothes are copied, the less we feel comfortable in viewing them.  We begin to question their rationale, and the real quality of the very loudly stated relationship.
    Next there are those who by association that is not familial or sexual, choose to manifest their connection through dress.  This phenomenon is most often seen in teen aged people, who, as yet unsure of their position in the world, will cling together in very obvious ways, aping hairstyles, clothing and mannerisms to a high level.  Films like "Heathers" and "Clueless" lampoon this very condition.
    And then there is the imposed version of matching attire.  That family portrait with everyone in identical Xmas sweaters, or the vacation shot of the whole brood in the same swimwear or shirt, lives for all of us, either as a part of our own life or as a witnessed experience.  In this case the connection is entirely an artificial one. Since not everyone would of a certainty be on board with the idea.  Surely the small children would have no say in the matter. But it is a sartorial shout to the world, that this is a family unit that cannot be divided under any circumstances.  And again, seeing such a grouping, we do question the truth of that bellowed claim, as we often question someone who demands that we believe their oft repeated statements.
    Closing, Attire can be and is used to foster connections between us. It creates a visual bridge that others can see.  But when we build that bridge too heavily to seems to become a fortress instead of a bridge.  The clothing becomes a wall that shuts out interlopers, and closes off real communication. So unless we desire to keep others away, we need to be cautious about just how closely we copy the others in our circle.  Too much sameness says, "Stay Away".

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