Wednesday, September 14, 2016

What's All the Excitement?

    A week or so back I was with my BF and his nephew on our way to dinner and we passed a hip new clothing store which had a sandwich board outside on the sidewalk.  The text on it read, "Life is too short to wear boring clothes."  I looking in the shop windows and what did I see?  I saw rack after rack of utterly uninspired, you can find similar stuff anywhere clothing.  I made me start wondering about what the term exciting clothing might mean, and how it would shift for each of us.
    Of course there are many people out there for whom the idea of exciting clothes makes them shudder.  Lots of folks, particularly those who try to avoid fashion as much as possible, would actively eschew anything deemed exciting.  On the other side of this though, are those for whom exciting is almost not good enough. No level of drama and extremity is too much, no brilliance of color or clash of pattern takes it too far.
    For most of us, however, we chart a middle course.  We want the things we have to wear to have a certain aspect of individuality, and to inspire feelings in us of confidence, sexiness, and personal strength.  Though this is true, we want that to happen within the fairly narrow confines of accepted social rules and regulations.  So, we watch others for cues.  We look at magazines and wander through shops for ideas about what is considered acceptable. 
    It becomes a kind of chicken and egg situation.  Which thing happens first?  Does the desire for clothing that only slightly pushes boundaries inform and affect the manufacturing industry?  Or is it the industry that is deciding for us what becomes us most?  Of course the cycle is so tightly bound together that you could never really determine accurately which happens first. In fact I think the truth of it is that they occur together.
    There is another aspect to this as well.  The growing level of casualness in our society is directly affecting the type of apparel made.  Clothing that is simpler in structure and easier in motion appears in greater quantity all the time.  What makes this somewhat problematic is that, though simple clothing need not be dull, designers and manufacturers are driven largely by the need to keep costs down and profits up, so what happens is the level of inspiration drops, delivering to the racks of stores everywhere endless miles of bland and forgettable garments.
    Since it's in their best interest to do so, we get shown these things, and they are touted as being exciting.  They show us beautiful young people smiling and doing interesting things wearing these clothes, and since we want our lives to be like theirs, we buy.
    But to be honest, there is no reason beyond profit margin that we don't get better out of the industry.  We can and should demand more of them, more creativity, more range, and more quality.  Ultimately we the consumers control how this all plays out.  If we choose not to purchase, the items produced will shift to address that until we are finding the things we actually need and want in our lives.  So, if you feel like clothing out there is not exciting enough, make your opinion heard in how you assemble your apparel.  Choose wisely, choose less, choose better quality.

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