By: Guinevere Santaguida
I’m a firm believer in the concept of fashion as a language. Fashion is a way to communicate to the world who we are. It is important to first be able to answer the question: Who am I? Am I simply the sum of my actions? Am I the sum of my emotions and desires? Am I my beliefs? Now, I can by no means tell you who you are, but I can give a brief overview of the faculties that make up a person, which we should take in to consideration when making fashion choices.
Human beings are complex creatures, with physical, intellectual and social dimensions – to name a few. Certain ways of thinking about people might contradict this notion, but people are so much more than a culmination of actions or beliefs. When asking a group of young people “Who are you?” it is not difficult to realize that the answer is BIG. In my experience, their responses are diverse and range from, things they love, to thoughts and experiences they have had, and choices they’ve made. But what does this mean when it comes to making choices that are authentic to who we are?
The philosophy of making choices is very interesting. When one brings up choice, a natural subject to follow is freedom. When the concept of dressing in a way that is very revealing is brought up, as in this article, the discussion quickly moves to choices and possible, unfair limitations on freedom. Some might argue that dressing in a way that shows a little more skin is a manifestation of freedom, and telling someone otherwise is limiting their freedom. I believe there is another way to look at it.
When you dress in a revealing way, you’re presenting and emphasizing only one aspect of your person; your body. Dressing that way does not diminish how much of a person you are, but it does not accurately represent you as a full person in all of the beautiful things that make you, you. I was reading an article that was published by a magazine on Snapchat, and was giving examples of things in movies that are accurate in real life. One of the things, was that to be taken seriously in some environments you have to ‘cover up a bit more’. This got me thinking, this media source has accepted that there is are certain aspects of personhood that are hidden or lost when we show more of our bodies: our intellect, our talents, our story. No one can see into our hearts, no one can know who you really are, unless you tell them. One way we should be telling people is through our dress – our clothing should remind people that there is more to us than meets the eye, because there is!
I want to point out that this is not a standard that only applies to women, men have standards of dress applied to them at the gym, at work, and in other context. A man who wears short shorts to court or a job interview may like what he is wearing but it will draw everyone’s attention away from his professional capacity and focus it on his poor judgement. The difference today is that girls and women are encouraged to wear revealing clothes through media and marketing – and men are not. We need to ask questions about what and who is driving our choices before stopping the conversation.
Despite the fact that this idea is counter-cultural, seemingly unpopular and perhaps radically different from what we hear online and from pop culture, I think it worth thinking about. Perhaps we don’t think about it this way often, but “when you’re wearing clothes that are ‘see through’ we cannot see YOU!”