Thursday, March 13, 2008

Fashion Risk

Today an interesting topic emerged among my roommates and I. Risk.

I really don’t know how the debate all started but somehow we ended up pseudo-arguing about whether Bacne was risky or not. It was as if we were competing on who was the riskiest out of us all, because no matter what risky always sounds way more exciting than boring and safe. Along the way, a comment was thrown to me, something along the lines of, “Oh, but I’m definitely riskier than you.” I weaved in and out of listening for the next few minutes, but suddenly my mind stopped. I reversed back. Stopped. And took a closer look at that comment again. A thought slowly started to form. (My mind usually works faster than that. Like way faster. Imagine the speed of light. But faster. I know your physics teachers all told you it’s the fastest speed, but apparently they forgot to include Lala’s mind power into the mix)

Am I really that non-risky? Will I be forever known as that safe, boring Asian girl?

For a while now, I’ve realized self-perception and other’s people’s perception of you are often quite different. For instance, in high school, my perception of myself was normal, average, and quiet. However, I was surprised when all my friends thought I was weird in high school. Really now? Dang, I must have been born with the weird gene because if I was weird back then, then I must be really weird now. Self-perception is often formed from what you want to see yourself as. But ironically, I didn’t want to see myself as the average nerd girl in high school. I wanted to be different in an artsy-cool way but was too afraid and my self-consciousness always pulled me back into my “safe” shell. And now I’m facing another contradictory perception about risk.

What does risk mean anyways? Does it mean flashing a truck driver? Cheating on a final exam? Running around naked in public? Jumping off a cliff?

If risk means any of these things, than I am definitely not risky. And I would be happy being non-risky. But there is one thing that I will not let my non-riskiness influence me on. And that is fashion.

Perhaps why I was so curiously bothered by that comment was because I think I am rather risky when it comes to fashion and style relative to the people I am surrounded by. Or I self-perceive myself to be anyways. For me, the ultimate insult is to call my fashion sense safe and boring because somehow I translate that to my personality. If I wear to express myself then you are implying that I am safe and boring. Boring is death to me. Like death on a stick.

I may be the wackiest dresser in my suburban neighborhood but when compared to those trendy Euro kids or Japanese cosplayers, they win hands down. It’s all about relativity. Ever since starting college, I encouraged myself to take more risks every morning when choosing what to wear. I took little steps to break out of my comfort zone. I wasn’t forcing myself but I was positively reinforcing my desire to self express through fashion. And that is what I think is so important about taking fashion risks. It’s not about taking risks for the sake of taking risks because that to me just seems like you’re a big mess of attention-seeker. Rather, it’s about taking risks that peel off the layers of your self-consciousness and allow you to open up as an individual.

However, tonight I’ve come to the conclusion, that in the end, it doesn’t really matter what other people think because risky will always be a personal subjective matter. Dressing in total avant-garde may be totally normal for one girl but may be risky for another. Really, taking risks is a personal exploration in defining yourself.

A little list in making fashion risks:
  • Wear something that you are automatically gravitated towards. This is often a very easy thing to do because if you like you it’s probably because it resonates with your personality or what you’re trying to express. For example, if you see a cocktail hat that you absolute love but are too afraid to wear it because people don’t wear cocktail hats to school, you should take a fashion risk because it’s for your own personal benefit.
  • Don’t hesitate. Just do. Second guessing yourself is a killer. Looking in the mirror over and over again seeing if what you’re wearing will be too different is just going to make you run back into your normal t-shirt and jeans.
  • Look for inspiration. It’s everywhere. Just open your eyes and you will find it. Incorporate that into the way you dress.
  • Start slow. Taking one risk at a time makes you less self conscious than taking it in all together.
  • Be happy with your risks. Don’t wear those funky shoes if you hate them. Wear them because you are happy when walking in them or you smile when you look down on your toes and see your funkadelic shoes.
  • Think with your ♥ instead of your mind.
  • And if you want to wear a swan dress, I say go for it!! I personally loved Bjork's swan dress. I'm still waiting to find one like it or just waiting for the time to make one. I feel a summer project coming on.

So there goes my sad attempt at giving fashion advice.

Lately, I’ve been feeling stuck and in a runt so I need to be taking some of my own advice. If I were a graph I would be declining right now. Help guys! I need new fashion risks!

Actually. I need to sleep.


Jillian said...

WOW love this post! you give some great tips on taking a fashion risk!

and you are FAR from boring! you take more risks than i could ever i dont have enough confidence in my look like you, you're my inspiration as far as fashion risk taking is concerned!

love this post!

N/OutofFashion said...

If you are boring...then God!

At my Uni, if you were a skirt you are risky.


leah said...

Some powerful words there! You're style doesn't strike me as boring in the slightest.

I know what you mean about feeling like you're in a rut. Mine is a giant rut at the moment. As you said, it's all a matter of perception & self-discovery

Sonea said...

So very true!

Sarah said...

I feel empowered already!
ps. you're not boring

a side order of style said...

i`m definitely going to agree on the go with what you gravitate towards. that never fails me, especially when i`m thrifting. i always end up with really great stuff, & it`s like - wow. :)
i should print this off & give it to my sister, b/c she is definitely too scared to try anything new.

The Clothes Horse said...

Good luck with the risks. I think risks are different for everyone. Some people find risk in eating new foods, others in wearing new clothes, it's different for each person--its pushing past our fears that makes us.

AlicePleasance said...

I agree, it's all about relativity...

Karima said...

great post, and very encouraging! so well expressed, i will quote you on my blog...

Karima said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anna Pope said...

I think you are very far from boring when it comes to fashion! You're quirky and fun and so so stylish, why do you think I check your blog everyday? :D

I have to agree that when it comes to taking fashion related risks everything is relative. For example, in my country the word risky still sort of applies to anything that is quirky even if it looks good. In my group of friends, my best friend and I are considered risky even if, to us, we look normal. Fun or (I kind of hate this word) fashionable, but not risky.

Also, I totally agree with your advice, esp the one about being happy with the risk your taking cause that's probably the most important thing of all.

(Sorry for the rambling long comment, but your post really got the ol' neurons working :P)

Isabel said...

Awesome! I love how you aren't afraid to take fashion risks AND how your mind power is faster than the speed of light!

Isa said...

you are amazing. amazing.
you really express what I´m thinking. don´t hesitate, just do.
save is.. save. taking a risk is exciting, even if you chose that it wasn´t for you in the end.

MissLala said...

Gracious u are one cool chick. I had qualms to wear my new pale yellow big cateye frames to work tomorrow-but hey,we need to take fashion risks don't we?Thanks and now i shall brave tomorrow with my oh so cool glasses!

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