Winter Fashion Week in NYC, the Met Gala in May and the museum's current exhibit - Heavenly Bodies, Fashion and the Catholic Imagination - have had me thinking a lot about what it means to get dressed. How do we present ourselves to the world? Do we just throw something on? Do we purposefully create an outfit, mindful of style? How does the way we present ourselves through clothing and accessories reflect how we feel on an emotional level?
What is your connection to fashion? Does fashion matter to you? Do you pay attention to trends? Is it an art form? Do you have fun with it? Does your age come into play when making decisions about what to wear?
I know a 94 year old woman who insists on lipstick and jewelry whenever she goes out in public. Her connection to fashion is rooted in her upbringing. Southern women of a certain age maintain an outward persona that is dignified and elegant.
My personal connection to fashion is complicated. My mother, a professional woman, was always impeccably dressed. She was masterful at adding unique accessories to classic outfits. Large, chunky rings, statement necklaces and bracelets, matching shoes and bag against the backdrop of a simple, classic wool romper. Her taste was eclectic and classic at the same time. She collected one of a kind accessories, often handmade by artists.
While I admired (and still do) my mother's fashion aesthetic, I could never pull it off myself. It's complicated because my mother's style was legitimized by the culture at large, especially in NYC in the 60's and 70's. She shopped at Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, Bonwitt Teller and Henri Bendel. MY personal style (more bohemian), my personality (more artsy), and my body type (fat) made wearing these classic styles practically impossible.
My mother tried desperately to find clothes that would flatter me in these elite, upscale shops, but alas - it wasn't gonna happen. So I grew up with the belief that fashion wasn't for me.
But today it feels as though things are changing. We're seeing more age, fashion and body diversity on television in shows like This Is Us, Criminal Minds, Grace and Frankie.
Movie stars and personalities like Melissa McCarthy, Queen Latifah and Kelly Clarkson are showing the world that beauty and fashion are not limited to size two women between the ages of 19 and 30.
Instagram stars like ArtfulCityStyle and TheAgelessRebellion are redefining beauty, age and fashion.
Rocking your own style and owning it is becoming more and more acceptable. Or maybe I'm just starting to get comfortable in my own skin.
In the end, I guess we should all just wear what we love.
Are you wearing your true colors?