How can an intelligent woman love fashion? I suspect that this is a question that many of us have heard, in one guise or another, at some point in our lives. Our inquisitors wondering why we are incapable of grasping that fashion is, at best, a mere waste of time and money; at worst, a capitalist construct to subjugate women. An interest in fashion, as we all know, is something of a personality flaw. Fashion conscious women are both superficial and selfish – superficial in that they care more about appearance than character, selfish in that they’re wasting money which could serve a more worthy purpose.
For most of my life, I’ve felt rather guilty about my love of fashion. Now older, I refuse to adopt an apologetic attitude: I love fashion. Not only am I irritated, insulted and bored by the anti-fashion brigade, but I am becoming increasingly determined to challenge their obvious prejudice. Truly, it is they who are making superficial judgements.
True, fashion isn’t of paramount importance, but it represents something larger than: “does this make me look attractive?” Paradoxically, fashion’s critics acknowledge this when they complain that runways are inhabited by odd looking models, wearing weird looking clothes. Virginia Woolf is right in her observation that, “vain trifles as they seem, clothes have, they say, more important offices than to merely keep us warm. They change our view of the world and the world’s view of us.” Fashion is a visual language, hence the term fashion statement. For many of us, our clothes are part of an on-going conversation with the world about who we are. Only the culturally naïve, believe that fashion doesn’t matter.