Why Are We So Obsessed With Fashion?
Here's a disclaimer at the outset of the article.
Regarding the question of our title, we aren't suggesting you are obsessed with fashion. You very well may be, but the we of the title refers to general speak, those people in the world who can be considered fashionistas; those devoted followers of fashion. And let's face it, they are often in the majority! So, while this article will refer to we and us, and other such words, it may not be relevant to you. That being said, if you recognise any of these signs in your life, then you probably are completely fashion obsessed, so you may want to question your behaviour as we discuss the issue in this article.
Why are we so obsessed with fashion?
It begins at school; those sensitive years when you are trying to fit in. Looking back at your generation, there will be fads that came and went, and like many of us, you may have worn outfits to stay in trend with whatever was the 'in-thing.' From the shoes you wore to the plastic eyelashes you fixed to your eyelids, you may have done whatever was necessary to be in with the 'in-crowd.' Because if you didn't? If you chose to go your own way with your fashion style? Then you may have been subjected to teasing or merciless bullying. Turning up to school with mismatched socks or 'uncool' shoes that your mom bought you were surefire ways to provoke ridicule from your peers. And the same thing continues today, as you will notice when you look at the teenage girls up and down your local high street. So, looking back, it is clear that the need to be fashionable begins in our most formative of years.
Of course, some schools have countered this problem. While there is diversity within the custom sport jerseys they choose when setting themselves apart for competitive sports leagues, most schools set a standard within a school uniform that offers little room for fashion and personal choice. Even those plastic eyelashes or trendy hair extensions are considered a no-no. The same may have been true when you were at school, and the same is true today. In an effort to counter bullying and peer pressure, action is being taken by our school's governing bodies. But even so, the attempts to stay fashionable happen outside of the school gates, where teachers have no say in what is worn. Whether it is hanging out with friends at the shopping mall, or by going to a party or other social event, following fashion is still a part of (nearly) every girl's identity. And for some, that continues into adulthood.
But where does fashion come from?
Who dictates what we should and shouldn't wear? These trends have to come from somewhere, so who are these trendsetters? In many cases, it begins with what we see in the media. Those pop culture icons who grace magazine pages and online celebrity sites. From Lady Gaga to the Kardashians, we gain inspiration from those people that we are more than a little obsessed with. We may never get to be a celebrity ourselves, but with that 'I'll have what she's having' mentality (thanks Meg Ryan), we can get a piece of celeb razzle-dazzle by wearing the clothes they wear. Then there are the models who set foot on the catwalk during fashion season, raising the bar for what can be considered the 'next big thing.' And like the suckers we are, we buy into these clothes. While we could go for cheap knock-offs, many of us still choose the big name brands that celebs and models are paid to endorse.
What's the big deal?
As adults, we are still falling prey to those issues we had as children and teenagers. We are still obsessed with our body image, and sense of identity. Regardless of fashion, consider why so many people opt for botox and chest implants. Consider why so many people opt for the latest dietary fads. It's because society and the media have taught us what beauty is. You need to be slim. You need to have this and that to appear normal. You need to wear this fashion to be accepted. You need to look like the people you see on tv. We don't, of course, but we fall into these traps by believing what we see and hear. Body-shaming shouldn't be a thing anymore, but it is. We don't need to have plastic surgery to remain beautiful, but we do. We don't need to wear high-end fashion to look good, but we still max out our credit cards. It's the fear of being judged. We are afraid that men will reject us. We are worried that our feminine peers will mock us. We are insecure, sensitive, and have low self-esteem. Therefore, we continue to look the part to fit in. We accept the standards that society sets us. And we hurt ourselves, financially, physically and emotionally, in the process.
Is following fashion always a bad thing?
Here's the thing. Some fashion looks good. You may be obsessed with fashion, not because you want to fit in, and not because you want to hide your insecurities. You may not give two hoots about what Kim Kardashian is wearing. You buy into the latest fashion because it pleases you. And if that's the case, that's fair. It's a healthy approach to take; wearing the latest trends because you want to for the right reasons. If you're a fashionista, we aren't passing judgement on you. Fashion can be fun, attractive, and desirable. If you wear it because you can, and because you want to, regardless of opinion, that's fine, provided you have the spending power to do so. So no, following fashion isn't always a bad thing, so don't feel guilty or insecure by our suggestions. But please, wear it for the right reasons.
What can we take from all of this?
Regardless of why we buy into the latest fashion, surely there has to be a limit. Considering the cost involved, we shouldn't be obsessed with every fashion trend that hits our stores. We shouldn't let other people sway us either. Why look the same as everybody else anyway? Surely forming our own dress style is better than conforming to others. We are unique, after all, so why not celebrate this fact? It's also time to say 'no' to those who judge us for how we look. So what if we don't fit into the smallest dress sizes. Beauty should come from within, and not from the eye of the beholder. This obsession with fashion, no matter where it comes from, has to be curtailed. We don't have to let it define us. And so it comes down to this…
In this instance, we are talking about you and not them. Are you obsessed with fashion? If so, why? Why are you so obsessed with fashion? Is it good for you? Only you can be the judge of that. But for better or for worse, don't let it define your life.
In the end, it's about personal choice. We should do what pleases us, and not others. While we may have to adhere to cultural sensibilities, we can still define an identity of our own. Follow fashion by all means, or don't! It's up to you. No obsession is good for us, so know your limits and follow a path that is good for you, regardless of what they think. Thanks for reading!