many of my fellow bloggers have written on their personal style evolution. idhren’s developing sense of style comes with photographic evidence throughout the years and i wish i had a similar stream to share. without a scanner, i’m left with words.
i want to start with some grounding assumptions. first, i cannot describe style evolvement as a quest for an original personal style. that is, my genuinely pomo heart resists descriptions of finding ”true style from within” because i honestly believe that we exist as performative surface without a core being. the style of clothing we select to adorn our body is as much a performative act of identity building as are our choices of company, speech acts and movements. this implies that i consider stories of finally finding personal style narratives of illusion because we never stop – and cannot stop by definition – the performative.
therefore, if someone has a consistent style it means that it is the result of a performative imitating consistency, not that they’ve found their true, self-identical style. i claim all high and mightily that style never is an expression of who we are within, but part of creating that sense of inner self.
from this academic blabberblah it’s easy to move towards haphazard psych-talk. my style has always changed tremendously and often quite abruptly. my long-time friends call me the chameleon for being able to imitate subcultures and immerse myself into them. i’ve done it intentionally at times, but predominantly my blending in has been motivated with a need to belong.
i’ve always felt socially awkward and shy, and for abject-feeling people like myself, there really are only two psychological survival options to choose from: either learn to blend in or create a surface of nonchalance. despite of times of defiance during my late teenage years, my curiosity and need to feel accepted by people favor the former strategy. my desire to fit in has not always succeeded, though, despite my urgent efforts. tough.
stylewise my admiration is lopsided as i tend to be drawn towards strong definitive looks. it translates into loving subcultures and flamboyant designers. my knowledge of fashion is paradoxical since i hardly ever know what is in fashion, but still seem to be able to create looks that are read as fashion-forward. naturally, i fail just as often and i have come to believe it is game of hit-and-miss with me...
my obsessiveness with details has often taken my style from one extreme to the other: i went from banana republic preppy to white afro, huge karl kani sweater and phat farm pants quite fluently. i wore plastic pony one week and dark new wave gear the next. the only style i haven’t experimented with (until lately, that is) is mainstream fashion since i seem to lack the capability to read it properly; style blogs have helped me with creating the leggings-and-dress look i spend many of my days in.
sugar kane’s analysis of her relationship to her style is a great example of the archeology of knowledge into personal fashion. her personal style – if i understand it correctly – is a combination of lasting and loving relationships with certain subcultures and their general aesthetic together with new inspirations provided by fashion designers who echo these subcultures in their design. she can, at least herself, find a unifying visual thread throughout her style life whereas i see the only continuum with the constancy of change.
if one wants to be mean about it, you could say i am extremely prone to external influence. you could perhaps suggest i have no style of my own. you could always go for the claim that i’m wishy-washy and superficial. i would rather think i experiment, test my limits and my abilities and that i am extremely aesthetically inclined.
nevertheless, my chameleon days have apparently come to an end. it may be because of my hair which restricts experimenting with different looks – then again i have altered my hairstyle as often as my other look and, therefore, the explanation must be begging the question.
on the other hand, it may mean that i’m more comfortable in my own skin; i’ve validated my existence otherwise so that i don’t need to reinvent my look in order to relate to people – that is, i trust people to accept me whether or not i look appropriate. it may be a myriad of other reasons, but it somewhat scares me: i don’t find consistency particularly appealing as part of myself, but rather boring, although i admire other people with consistent looks.
it helps to know this journey is by no means over and will go on until i kick the bucket – hopefully dressed fiercely.