Okay, so, a little about me to give this blog some context. I have no background in fashion beyond a personal obsession with magazines, celebrities, and anything on E!. I am a fashion observer. I’m not even a particularly trendy dresser. I work in downtown Chicago and live in the suburbs. Most of my observations take place watching celebrity gossip shows, looking at fashion and celebrity blogs, and, primarily, from walking the streets of Chicago.
I have always been interested in how what we wear communicates and resembles our personality, whether unconscious or contrived. By day, I work at an investment bank to pay the bills. By night I am either teaching Composition to college freshmen, or taking a class towards my PhD in Popular Culture Studies. My BA and MA are in English literature. However, I decided I liked reading books, not writing about them. So now I am furthering my education on a topic that has always intrigued me, and has given me several conflicting perspectives on fashion culture.
“Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” –Coco Channel
Coco Chanel has devoted her life and legacy to fashion as artistic expression. She is known to have provided women with fashion that embodies independence, success, personality, style, and confidence (wikipedia.org).
“Large estates, large houses, large establishments, only make slaves of their possessors. . . . It is so hard to be content with simplicity!” –Henry David Thoreau
Thoreau is not talking about fashion specifically, but he does present another point of view on the larger cultural idea. Others in this vein of though believe industries like the fashion industry deceitfully cheat people out of the happiness it appears to be providing, and impedes the development of true individual identity by substituting gratification for conscious decisions (Adorno, 108 “The Culture Industry Reconsidered).
I am not sure where I fall in this discussion, or where my posts will fall. Most likely I have a little of both attitudes. I am less interested in my own thoughts, as I am about your thoughts. How much of what we wear portrays personality traits? Our economic class? A world view? Our politics? Do we code these things, or do they code us?