Based in New York city, The philosophy of dress is a smart blog about fashion by britt erb.

Fashion as reformation

Fashion as reformation

Reformation isn’t exactly the word on the tip of everyone’s tongue right now. Unless you are circa 27 years of age, urbanite female and fan of the LA based brand’s 90s mini dresses. 

Though maybe it should be—but for reasons other than for donning perfectly age appropriate, flattering frocks.

There is *arguably* always room for reform in every thinkable arena whether personal, political, educational etc.  Each generation is faced with realities unique to its time and place.  And as far as personal growth, aren’t we always effecting to “do the right thing”, to, in some senses, get beyond the brute and natural instincts that are at play.

We have a perfect example in our faces daily of what compulsive narcissism, rampant opportunism and untethered expediency looks like daily as manifest through our unrefined leader of the free world. Trump exhibits what Baudelaire termed as “the purely natural man” .  

He warned against the “frightfulness” of such a man.  Evil happens without effort, when we negate culture and play out our “red in tooth and claw” nature all the way.

On the other hand, the stuff of beauty and goodness is born from reason and calculation.  It is culture which refines our nature, shaping us into civilized, moral beings.  If nature is—to put it politely—the voice of our self-interest, culture (plus philosophy) can give guidance to how best to handle the moral dilemmas with which we are faced in life.  

On the spectrum, there is nothing natural about fashion.  It is clearly a product of human workmanship, a sign and a reflection of our civilized sensibilities.

And yet, though Trump exemplifies the worst of human nature, we ourselves can never rid of it—it’s literally unfathomable. 

But we can use fashion as a daily and repeated attempt to reform, or transform our nature.   

In sum, there’s a million reasons why we dress in the morning, depending on the day’s activity and goal. But as a general rule of thumb, I like Baudelaire’s proposal the best: we adorn ourselves to get as close as we can to the ideal as possible.  

I don’t know if this is quite what the brand Reformation had in mind, but as far as words to live by, it works for me.  

Nina Ricci's girl of the early morning hours

Nina Ricci's girl of the early morning hours

Let them eat cake! The anti-minimalist's guide to dress

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