Fashionably Confused

Let’s talk about fashion, or more specifically, the way the high fashion culture flies completely over my head.

Don’t get me wrong; I love clothes. I love shopping, mixing and matching. I love the way a white cardigan can complement any dress or the way an accessory can make or break an outfit. I have more shoes than can fit in my closet and it takes four days to do my laundry.

But my wardrobe is the product of years of acquisition. One of my favorite tops is this cute little blouse I’ve had since I was a junior in high school. I have another top I wear all the time and I’ve literally had since I was 12 years old. So my clothes are kind of recycled, but I make them work. And I’m not just saying this. One of my best guy friends told me over the Thanksgiving break that I’m always dressed to the nines.

And I love clothes that are versatile. I recently bought this sweater from Walmart (I make no apologies for that) and I absolutely LOVE it because I can wrap and tie it a million different ways so it never looks like the same top or the same sweater. I’m not high maintenance with my clothes. I’m creative.

Which is why girls who toss their wardrobe out every fashion season completely baffles me. Even if something isn’t technically “in fashion” you can always reuse it. That’s why people who buy vintage can always make something work. Looking good isn’t about staying in fashion; it’s about creativity and confidence.

The subject of this blogpost came about when I was trolling around on a peer’s blog. It was a really well-kept and professional-looking. Overall I was impressed, except for one thing: its content. It was a beauty blog with fashion and makeup tips and millions of pictures of rail-thin models with cooky makeup and “couture” sweaters that made them look like yetis. There was one blogpost about how to make some weird peacock-inspired eye makeup more wearable. And granted, it was a really good tip, but seriously. There was even a blogpost about Chanel lipstick. (What’s with that, anyway? Lipstick is lipstick. Can you tell just by looking at someone’s lips that she’s using expensive, designer lipstick? If you can, I am of the severe opinion that you should get a life.)

And ignoring the fact that I don’t really like wearing lipstick (it dries out my lips and I was in band for nine years, so wearing it was kind of pointless because I just had to wipe it off anyway lest it smeared all over my mouthpiece), the blog only reinforced the idea that I must be doing the whole “girl” thing wrong. I am surrounded by so many girls everyday that have perfectly coordinated outfits, impeccable makeup and gorgeous hair that doesn’t move an inch. I am literally lucky if I have more than an hour to get ready to leave the house in the morning. The only event that I put any sort of effort into looking girly for is Mass, and even then that usually just entails brushing my hair, shaving my legs and wearing a pair of jeans I didn’t wear the night before. And if I’m feeling particularly jaunty that Sunday, I’ll swipe on some mascara.

Granted, being all girly is fun every once in a while. For example, I spent my entire summer hanging out with a bunch of boys and one girl. Pretty much every weekend we would get drunk and wreak havoc in our town to Top 40 soundtracks like we were going to live forever. It was a great life, believe me, and I love being one of the boys, but sometimes a girl just wants to feel like a girl, you dig? So one week Katie — the only other girl in our group — and I were determined to look and feel like girls for that weekend. We told the boys that we’d been hanging out with that summer that we were going to go clubbing and we were going to drag them with us. In preparation, Katie and I drove out to Independence, Mo., which is two hours away because it’s the closest city with a decent mall, and we shopped for the perfect clubbing outfits. The night of, Katie came over three hours before we went out to dinner so we could get ready. And seriously, I looked hot. My hair was done, my legs were shaved, my eyebrows were threaded and my clothes were fantastic. We never actually made it to the clubs, but nonetheless I felt great because I looked great.

It’s just…that required so much effort. Makeup, hair, clothes. Preparation for that night took three hours because I had to take a shower, shave my legs, thread my eyebrows, do my hair, do my makeup and paint my nails. And don’t get me wrong, that night was lots of fun. But doing that every single day? Forget it.

So I’m kind of oscillating between two different reactions to that fashion blog. Sometimes I feel a little insecure because sometimes I don’t think that I’m a good enough girl — like I’m not watching enough fashion television, I don’t own enough shoes or I don’t do my hair enough. I’d venture to guess it’s like how a man doesn’t feel manly enough if he’s not interested in sports or if he doesn’t look like he might be on steroids.

But most of the times, I feel like these girls should put down the eyelash curler, pull their faces away from the mirror and read a book or something, because if you can distinguish the difference between regular and designer lipstick, imagine what you can do when you put that effort into something useful.

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