Thursday, July 22, 2010


A friend of mine is doing a paper for her folklore class about clothing, accessory, and body art selections and the choices we make while dressing ourselves. She asked me to help her out by telling her about what I'm wearing and why. At first I thought my clothing has little significance (I'm wearing a t-shirt and jeans), but as I started writing, it occurred to me how much who I am and how I grew up influence what I wear everyday. Anyway, I thought it was kind of interesting, so I'm posting what I wrote here.

"Right now I'm wearing my "Pugs Rock" t-shirt because it was sitting on the top of the clean clothes pile (er, yesterday - I didn't go anywhere, so I'm wearing it again today - it was closest to the bed). I did actually plan to throw on the wheel and get dirty today, but since clay washes out, I'll usually wear any t-shirt around the house that isn't for Fedex. Also, this t-shirt has my artwork on it, and was given to me free because I designed it.

I'm wearing jeans that are clean and free of holes enough that I can leave the house in them. I believe they came from a thrift store, but I can't be certain. I also generally pick out jeans I'm going to wear based on whether I've gained or lost weight and whether they fit. This seems to be a constantly changing assessment.

When I leave the house to go pick up my ceramics, I will put on my black and white converse, which are really comfy and quick to lace up, and sometimes I don't bother to lace them up. I like how they feel on my feet (like socks with soles), and I've always wanted a pair of converse, but only just bought these a few months ago second hand from Plato's Closet. I also bought them because I plan to paint them at some point, which is half of why I like Converse so much.

I'm wearing my wedding set, the only jewelry I ever really wear. I'm a tomboy and rarely wear jewelry, though I will on special occasions. My wedding band is titanium, which was affordable and also super shiny and silver looking, and I always wanted a simple silver wedding band. It was also handmade by a couple who sells titanium jewelry on Etsy, and I liked having a handmade wedding ring. I wear my engagement ring because I never wanted a fancy engagement ring, but this one is antique (belonged to his grandma) and also didn't cost anything except to resize it. I always said I'd kill a guy if he spent thousands of dollars on a ring when he could get us a car or something. Anyway, it appeals to me because I'm cheap but also sentimental, so I wear it all the time. I think it's the most beautiful piece of jewelry I've ever owned:)

As for my haircut, I've literally been saying for years how big a pain having long hair is, and how I should just shave it all off. I used to say it at least once a summer. I've never owned a car with A/C, so that was a big part of it. Having your hair whipping around and sticking to your sweaty face when your windows are down sucks. Plus, I've always bristled at the idea that there are clothing, hairstyles, or activities that girls should not do, that are considered "not ladylike". I've been stubbornly and sometimes childishly rebelling against those conventions most of my life. Cutting all my hair off is kind of a big fuck you to people who still hold certain ideas about gender, sexuality, and masculinity and femininity. I feel like I can still wear make up and a dress and be bald and drive a forklift and make pottery with pink birds and flowers on it. I don't have to choose one or the other. I like combat boots AND 10 in stiletto pumps.

My Dad's family are all working class, and my grandmother was a single mom who grew up in the depression, and has this exaggerated sense of wastefulness and thrift. I think she's a crazy old bat, but I think her being a cheapskate influenced my Dad, which influenced me. I have a real hard time spending money on things that aren't "practical". I rarely buy new clothing, and when I do it's generally for a special occasion. Sometimes I have to remind myself that it's ok to go out and buy clothes and things for the house, that they are necessities, and that I don't have to wear and use *everything* until it wears out or dies. But it's a hard habit to break, so most of the clothes I own are pretty ragged, and I'll continue to wear them despite various stains, holes, and tears. I'm also lazy as hell, so I often don't bother to do much to fix those things. At times I feel like I should care a little more about my appearance, but most of the time I feel like I have other more important things to worry about, and that being reasonably intelligent and creative is more important to me than being fashionable or neat. I want people to like me, not my appearance, and while I know that even the kindest people will judge you at least a little based on what you look like, I feel like my appearance helps me weed out people who are shallow and who I'd rather not waste my friendship on.

Whew! And I here I thought my clothing choices were simple."

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