Thursday, August 23, 2007

Camouflage? Bowties? Uh, no.

When I told my mother that my dream job is to be an editor at Vogue magazine, she rolled her eyes and said, "You can do so much more."

And when I told her I was going to write this column, she sighed and said, "Just be sure you make it intelligent."
I think that's a step in the right direction.

I love fashion. There, I said it. I can have a discussion with you about Nietzsche's concept of the ubermensch or the effects of the patriarchal nature of American society on college-age females, and probably even hold a decent conversation in Spanish.

But, as a senior here at Ole Miss, as I embark on my final year of schooling that includes writing a thesis, managing a daily student newspaper, taking 16 hours of class a semester, and somehow making time for a social life, I can think of no better time to come out.

Yes, for years, I have been a closeted fashion freak.

So, in the most public way possible in Oxford, I am revealing myself. I will no longer be ashamed. I love fashion.

I also think I have an eye for it. I have no formal training; I have never taken a fashion merchandising class. But I tend to believe that, really, at its very base, fashion isn't that complicated. It's like one of my dance teachers once told me: "If it looks good, it is good." And I can tell when something looks good. Or doesn't. It's not that hard.

For me, fashion should be two things without fail: fun and fabulous. It can be other things. Bold. Classy. Funky. You name it. But, if it's good, it has to be fun. And it has to be fabulous.

I have rarely seen something I consider fabulous without also thinking it was, on some level, fun. But I see fun without fabulous all the time. And it's rarely good.

To my mother, who I love and respect more than anyone in the world, I would say this: Fashion isn't as shallow as you might think. Done right, it is a reflection of who you are - the things you like to do, how you want to represent yourself among the masses, what you think of yourself.

Yes, fashion, I would argue, can be quite an ontological matter. (Look it up.)

When I critique certain "fashions," as I certainly will, it's not just a critique on the way something looks. It reflects my general dislike or disinterest in what that particular fashion statement represents.

Don't get offended. Or do, if you want. It's just my opinion. We can't all like everything; it's impossible. I don't expect everyone to appreciate everything I wear.

As such, I'm going to start by discussing basic things I hate. And why. First on the list: Crocs. Yeah, those rubber shoes with the holes in them. A prime example of why liking and disliking fashion is deeper than just saying, "I don't like them because they're ugly."

I have no intention of wading into a river to possibly catch a fish or a snake or something of the like - ever. Sure, I like nature. I go to the Grove, like, every other weekend. Also, I don't have a garden to tend. And neither do you, overweight middle-aged man in the mall wearing a Led Zeppelin T-shirt, baggy carpenter jeans and Crocs. Neither do you. Also, they're fugly.

Next on the list: camouflage. Another great example. I hate hunting. I have no desire to hunt anything - ever. No turkey, no deer, no doves. Who hunts doves? My ex-boyfriend, that's who.

Camouflaged clothing belongs in the woods, or Iraq or Afghanistan. Maybe Pakistan if Barack Obama gets his way, but not when you are walking around the Square. I have strange pyromaniac urges when I see someone wearing camouflage and then I look around and see no woods. Or sand dunes. Possibly even no trees at all.

Stop it. Stop it with the camouflage. And I can't forget-it, too, is fugly.

Last but not least: bowties. I know, I know. I'm striking at a crucial preppy vein here in Oxford. If I had a dollar for every time I saw a dude wearing a bowtie in the Grove pre-football game, I would be flipping rich. (Thus fitting right in!)

You don't look cool. You look like an ass. Especially the ones with polka-dots or stripes or something equally atrocious. True, it's a time-honored tradition and I'm sure your daddy bought you that bowtie and taught you how to tie it. How sweet. My daddy is in the military; he wears camouflage on a regular basis. I hope I've made my point?

Next week: Stuff I love. It can't all be negative. Until then, majorly yours.
(P.S. Yes, I know how to pronounce "haute.")

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