Fashion is about us: Peeling back the layers

by Kit Murray

murrayki@mnstate.edu

Now that school has started, we may want to put time and effort into the way we dress and present ourselves each day. Think of how we prepare for an interview with a potential employer and the work that goes into getting ready for it. Not only do we have to mentally prepare beforehand, but we put time into focusing on making sure our clothes are ironed, clean, fitted, and appropriate. The way others perceive us and how we perceive others is a topic I’d like to open up for discussion.

Recently, I’ve noticed that some people have the idea that we are judged solely on what our appearance declares. For example, whether we wear expensive cashmere Ralph Lauren cardigans or cheap leggings from Forever 21 should not change how others see and appreciate who we are as a person. But, sometimes it does. A few of my friends, including myself, enjoy fashion and consider it an important part of our lives. However, we also acknowledge that the way we dress is solely for our happiness and comfort above all else.

Dave Turnball, media production sophomore, had an interesting input as a student studying abroad from Lincoln, England. 

“When someone looks like they take care of their appearance, I’d want to talk to them. If they’re in casual clothes, I wouldn’t think much of it,” he said. “I’ve noticed people here wear a lot of sports gear.  I wouldn’t say it looks amazing, but it makes sense if they’re active.”

It’s easy to get caught up in the material items that our society thrives. Instead, who we are should be defined by how we treat others, how we react to certain situations, and how we hold ourselves accountable.

I asked Emily Adcock, graphic communication senior, how she felt about meeting someone for the first time and what goes through her mind.

“I usually notice people’s body language and how they stand and carry themselves,” she said. “I’m more likely to talk to someone who’s in presentable clothing, rather than, say, pajama bottoms. But if someone has a unique style, that does not deter me from talking to them.”

Realizing every day that the world around us is changing can definitely play a factor in how we perceive others.  It’s in our nature to want to classify, label, and categorize things. However, it’s important to take note of how we communicate with strangers, especially during this busy time of year when we’re meeting new people and networking with so many groups of people. The way we judge them and how open minded we are in these situations can be crucial.

Justifying the way we see the world and those in it is a daunting task that takes time and effort. A few religions have brought light to this. In Buddhism, they teach the idea that there is no soul. Our body is composed of a combination of forces that are constantly changing. This means that, although our body exists, it only constitutes as a vehicle to pursue enlightenment. The way we look at others can tie back to this. It will take practice to not focus on what we see on the outside, but to instead work on uncovering the layers underneath.

“Fashion is not trivial. It’s a huge industry and a big part of our lives. Fashion is about us – how we look and present ourselves, how we can change ourselves and our perceptions. You can dress up to be quite glorious creatures – it’s all a very important part of life.” – Charlotte Rampling.

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