Wednesday, January 21, 2015

rosetta stoned

In my five years of writing a whole lot about absolutely nothing, I've discovered that it is really easy to like things. A fashion blogger's default emotion is 'loading justification..." -- She is always generating a reason to like something she owns or sees or is offered. And generating a reason to dislike something she can't have. And then when she has it, she generates a reason why she was wrong, another reason why she likes it now, another reason why you should want it too. 

Fashion blogging has never been about sustainability: it blossom/s/ed from the novelty of apparel, not the usefulness of it. But given the technocentrism of the past several decades, "aesthetic delight" is not a good enough reason to fund an endeavor with labor and time. An urgency to imbue 'the love of things' with practical meaning surfaced and consequently, liking anything has become a performance with purpose: a gallant charade to foreshadow necessary identity. Liking things is an exercise in the creation of the self. It is the motion of "style."

While affirming the self and strengthening a sense of personal power, "style" also engenders a motivation to justify. Because we socially agree that our style is a picture of us, we internalize that it is about us. And we are driven to explain every choice (this hat over that headband, these heels instead of those flats) because we want each outfit to seem like it accurately describes our selfhood. The trouble is, we don't actually get to choose our style. Capitalism does. So we end up devising extremely personalized, qualic reasons for purchases and outfits and makeup routines after the decision has already been made for us. Everything happens afterwards. And it happens in defense of an invisible economic force.

The fashion blog is a platform for these justifications. It soothes the author, who is better able to veil her material exploitation in the rhetoric of "I'm just doing my job," and it soothes the consumer, who is able to use whatever reasons generated by the author for the service of rationalizing her own surfeit desires. But perhaps the most potent function of a fashion blog is its propagation of the idea that style is "purpose-serving." Utility, or at least the image of it, transforms frivolity into function. We conclude that fashion must be practical. It must communicate a message. Otherwise... it's a vain mess of ego and resource deprivation. Or better, or worse. 

The problem with framing style as "purpose-serving" is the possibility that we might include material self-expression in our constitution of subsistence. Material self-expression has nothing to do with subsistence. It is a luxury. Yes, it serves a purpose. But not a purpose that pertains at all to maintaining survival. We tend to reference utility to prevent the threat of deprivation. The more you need something, the easier it is to persuade someone out of taking it away. So by describing material style as a useful tool, our excess is protected under the clause of pragmatism. And as we all know, pragmatism and love of beauty are what make humans civilized. Material style is very well guarded by the rhetoric of postindustrialism, and consequently... all the ugliness that accompanies excess is insulated. 

There's a downside to the admission that style is frivolous, too. But I've already filled up half the page with my errant drivel and accomplished what I set out to do: appear to justify blogging about my outfit by including useful thoughts. HA.

Choies mod moto jacket, Yes Style harem pants, Missguided canvas sneakers

Everything is infinite,



  1. nice look dear :)


  2. you always make me think so much and challenge the way i feel about things. please never stop writing your toughts down, your mind is so valuable.
    you rock bebe <3