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The insanity of fashion conformity

 

As summer has officially faded into the colder weather of autumn, I assumed the days of Nike shorts, comically large T-shirts and polos would be only a memory of yesterday.

This has not been the case.  

In fact, the Nike shorts live on via leggings.

While I am certainly not anti-casual clothing and not against Nike shorts, I am, however, an advocate of individuality (and common sense).

This is just one example of “fashion conformity.” Fashion, in and of itself, is already a type of conformism.  

Why?  

Well, in order to be considered fashion, a look, a garment or a stylistic choice must be deemed fashionable.

Who gets to decide this — what is fashionable? 

While certain fashion heavyweights play a role in this decision, the ultimate decision is left to the public. In this, some rather ridiculous trends and ideas can come to pass.

As I was surfing the Web recently for inspiration for this column, I came across the Prada website (which I must say, nevertheless, is an inspiring and prolific mainstay of Italian fashion).  

What I discovered literally caused me to gasp.  

Of course, everyone knows Prada is an expensive brand — a luxury — but what I discovered shocked me: a keychain priced at $180. No, this keychain was not solid gold or encased in diamonds. It was simply a keychain: a skull with the word “Prada” on a small charm.

How can a company charge $180 for a keychain?  

The answer: people are willing to pay for it. People know the brand and conform to the idea of owning a piece of such an Italian “luxury.”

Society, hence, deems it an acceptable purchase.

This is nonsensical.

Why do we choose to wear miniscule shorts in frigid weather or spend nearly $200 on a charm? The answer is clear and glaring: we do so because we are insecure.

Such decisions are influenced by peers, the media and the personal resolution to not make rational, individualistic choices. 

We cling to the idea of acceptance — or the avoidance of being marked as unusual or against the norm.

In short, we often choose to abide by the pressures of social conventionality, and this leads us to make ridiculous selections — pairing Ugg boots with shorts or wearing neon with camouflage — which we would otherwise not make.  

I am certainly shamefaced in my occasional conformity to these ludicrous fashion folkways.  

I am guilty of donning Crocs in public. Yikes!

Transient, often preposterous trends referred to as fads inspire some rather strange ideas.  

Who can recall the pet rocks of the ‘70s or Popples (do a Web search if you can not; they are creepy) of the ‘80s?  

Such pop trends are not confined to behavior; they bleed into the fashion world, evidenced in overly distressed jeans, the most painful of neon shades, shoes that resemble Swiss cheese and a host of other fads I do not have the space to mention.  

And, believe me, these are not the strangest: Take a gander on TrendHunter.com if you are interested.

I refuse to give up hope for societal common sense.  

One day we will comprehend that shorts are for the summer and ridiculously expensive keychains are for “never.” 

Even so, let us face it; sometimes it is fun to be a tad inane, to take a risk. Just do not overdo it. Do not be led to give up your identity, fashion and otherwise, to the whims of an ever-changing public mindset. I refuse to allow others to dictate what is best for me; what fabrics/patterns are “unacceptable”; what is too much color; or the all-encompassing “you cannot wear that.”

Do not allow others to dictate for you.

Be bold. Be an individual. Do not buy the keychain.