A closet of one's own
I do not think it would be too simplistic to equate—metaphorically—the pluralism of America with the many forms and functions fashion takes on. And, to go further, how such pluralism is positive whether the subject in question is in regards to choice, culture or community.
To begin, our ensembles are as evocative as they are definitive. What we wear serves as the first piece of information that we openly convey about ourselves, often before we have a chance to use language as a means of expression. In that sense, clothing is a powerful communicator.
And while representing our face to the world should not be ignored or neglected, we all know the surface is not the end-all-be-all, even though we are at times compelled to believe that the groups with whom we associate or the personal style we exude reflect who we are thoroughly and concretely. In reality, we actually have the freedom and flexibility to change.
The same goes for our sartorial choices. While personally, I cannot conceive of getting behind the off-the-shoulder top trend, I admit, I partially love that it is not off limits, should I ever feel myself so tempted. Just that one is there amid a plentiful range of other options for occasion is cause for celebration.
Because we naturally have certain affinities or proclivities for one thing over others is not a compelling enough reason to wish for the other’s non-existence. This truth has been especially critical to grasp today in a country that is as divisive as ever, to accept one another, red state or blue and move forward as a unified front.
This is not to make light of our differences, which come with their own struggles, realities and perspectives. My stance should neither be taken as nihilistic leave to recklessly wear whatever you want, or wear whatever you want.
I do believe it matters. The particulars are signifiant distinctions—but significant perhaps to no one else than the person making such choices, fashioning an ensemble, fashioning a self or a life.
But, what I choose or whether or not I choose isn’t the point. The fact that I have such a freedom—that it is mine alone—brings about an open space, wherein anything could happen, wherein anything is possible. And this adds an exciting dimension to life.
Sometimes, we are enamored and taken by an object’s perfection on its own, such as a painting or photograph. But clothing is different. We are moved to adopt such pieces into our own closet when it synthesizes with us. Only when its color, cut, fabric and other various attributes harmonize in a way that reaffirms who we believe ourselves to be "on the inside", or how we want to be known "on the outside", are we moved to integrate it as apart of our permanent collection.
The process of fashioning a closet of one’s own is secretly and shamelessly thrilling.