Don’t you love fashion tradition? It’s that idea that somewhere there is a council, maybe even fashion police who will tell the average Jane what to wear and when to wear it. Kind of crazy if you ask me. As an INTJ who loves a well-turned out look, I’d be in serious trouble if there were an actual fashion police, as I’ve held onto styles that are way out of date for no other reason than the outfit still fits. I still like it, and, people don’t laugh too hard when I wear it in public. I say all of that to say this — waiting to wear the color white until after Memorial Day is the kind of silly fashion rule that makes the fashion world seem self-serving. In truth, this maxim was a result of elites wanting to discriminate against those with new money, versus those with old money, through arbitrary rules of fashion intended to highlight the perceived crassness of the new money (especially during the Victorian era). You would think that such us vs. them fashion rules no longer exist, but they do. Silicon Valley has a dress code, so does the “IT” Instagram girl. And yet, isn’t fashion supposed to be an individual expression of identity? The jury is still out on that one.
NOT ABOUT FASHION AT ALL
These musings come as I return from Hong Kong after my first quarter in what is considered one of the top fashion marketing programs in the world. I learned a lot. My head still hurts from the amount of knowledge the school tried to stuff into my brain over a 3 month period. I am still processing, still reflecting, still developing an idea of which insights I want to hold onto from this time; yet mostly, I’m exhausted.
Although I blog on topics of fashion and psychology, I didn’t want to go to school to learn rules about when to wear white. My goal was, and is, to bridge my linear way of thinking with the creative tension that sits, always, at the back of my mind. My system mindset is challenged by the creatives lack of rules, and yet, I embrace rules with the view of reshaping them as a way to create a better system. Surely there are intersecting boundaries between the two.
Ultimately, I think that by embracing the creative side of my nature, I have opened myself up to challenges that are more difficult than I ever imagined. What comes with that is a constant feeling of discomfort. I miss the rules that were so much a part of the technology world. I wonder if trading algorithms for fashion rules is foolhardy and shallow. A world where petty rules like: Don’t wear white before Memorial Day, guide not only what we wear, but also what is available for us to wear. The title of this post is Spring Fashion Whites; but if you’re looking for hard-line fashion rules, you won’t find them here. Most of us have grown up with the belief that white clothing is better in hot conditions because white reflects heat. That’s not the whole story. As outlined in this post on color, different colors absorbs different amounts of light. That light transforms into heat, or thermal energy. Because black absorbs all the light waves, it is warmer, however, black, and other dark colors, offer more protection from UV rays, so is better at preventing the absorption of radiation that could lead to skin cancer. If you want to wear dark colors on a hot day, make sure they are loose and flowing, which will provide a cooling effect. If you want to wear white, make sure that you also wear sunscreen all over your body to prevent the increased penetration of UV rays. Look for this outfit on Thursday with different styling.
Oh, For Fashion’s Sake!