Tuesday, July 26, 2016

What Are We About?

    What are we about? What are we doing here?  What is it that this whole massive, seemingly incomprehensible language I choose to call Attire really for?
    Are we merely trying to find an appropriate mate?  That is surely a strong part of it.  Are we trying to define our position in the dominant culture?  Of course we are.  Are we trying to forward ourselves within that culture.  Yes, indeed we are.  Are we trying to access something we cannot define that exists outside of words?  Yes, we certainly are.  Those various reasons for what we do lay at the heart of what Attire does for us, and means to us.
    This post is mostly for those of you who are new to this blog, and to what I am about here.  This fantastically complex, multilayered language we have created, built over the entire history of human experience, is one of the most comprehensive symbolic communication sources we have to hand.  Yet, we demean, diminish, and deride it as trivial.  We call it fashion and place it outside of ourselves.  We call it style and make it something other than us. But every minute of every day, whether we think on it at all or not, this huge edifice of symbols and cues informs and affects our life.  It changes how we see others, and how others see us, constantly.
    Am I suggesting that everyone go out an buy a whole lot of new clothes right off the racks of major designers so you can be au courant with current styles? Hells to the no. What I am suggesting is that you think seriously about what it is you choose to present to the world. Is that presentation truly you,  or is it some fantasy you think others will approve of?
    If we are to understand Attire as a language form we must look inside ourselves. That's a scary prospect for most of us, I know. Few of us are comfortable with extensive introspection.  And some of the looking about in our own nooks and crannies is less than appealing.  It's a frightening idea to try and see ourselves for true, but it's a major player in what Attire is about. We need to know ourselves if we are to succeed in the world in any expression of that word, (or honestly, in any other realm).  Attire tells everyone who looks at you what you are about.  If you wish to tell the truth, then do so, and you will be happier for it.  For those who approach you will understand what and who they are seeing, right off, and less will need to be defined later.  If you wish to present a fantasy, then do so, but you will have to deal with the consequences, when people discover your truth later.  If you use the Attire language with thought and conviction, you can achieve much, but there will be a cost rendered.  Own this, no one likes to be lied to when it comes to the essential nature of a person they have regard for.

   So, Attire is vital to understanding what it is that we are doing, and how it can move us forward.  Could we be as effective a series of societies without Attire? Of course we could.  I would however suggest that we would have found something else, equally as variable and subtle to take it's place.
    The clothes we clap our backs, the shoes on our feet, the way we cut our hair, how much we work out,  and the make up we may or may not use all contribute to what those who see us each day think they know about us.  Their knowledge is surely incomplete, and doubtlessly inaccurate to some extent. My point, the point is this: never forget for a moment that what you present to the public world is a story that they are reading.  It is up to you to decide whether that story is to your benefit, or to your bane.  That might sound selfish. It is, to one degree.  It is also about survival, and prosperation.
    We can convince ourselves that we care nothing for what others think. We can try all we might to believe that is so. When it comes to it, we care profoundly, even if it is about a tiny group of intimates.  And for that small cluster of folk who we believe understand us, would we take ourselves deliberately outside of their understanding by changing our apparel in a way they could not comprehend?  Likely not.  We do not easily relinquish that tribe we have become part of.
    End of the day, it's still about tribalism.

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