"These seemingly frivolous appurtenances like clothes and accessories can become part of the visual language we use to speak ourselves every day," said the iconic Diana Vreeland.
How true is that? A hundred percent in my view.
I am excited about fashion in terms of the visual language that it becomes. Our culture (sadly) sees fashion as associated with frivolity and artificialness, an almost unnecessary pursuit beyond a certain point. This happens when you look at clothes as either a bare necessity or an indulgence to enjoy once in a while.
But have you noticed how you reach out to your wardrobe depending on how you feel everyday day and what your wardrobe conveys about your dominant personality and character?
On one of my dates last year, the guy happened to narrate his experience of attending a seminar in the US. Like most Asians, he presented himself in a crisp suit only to hear the organizer say, "weren't you are supposed to show up in a hoodie and shorts - this is a gathering for young entrepreneurs - innovative and cool thinkers."
There is pleasure in coding the nonverbal signals. Fashion can create the context and moods but cannot spill all the beans as words do. It's like a good open-ended movie. It gives you enough space for your interpretations. Black could mean a desire to disappear, muted tastes, grounded confidence, reliance on the basics, or freedom from excessive options. It's up to you to read between the lines.
Why shouldn't I fancy leopard prints if I want to feel fierce and beautiful? And why did I purchase it in the first place?
Perhaps the answer lies in what Barthes says - "It is not the object but the name that creates the desire; it is not the dream but the meaning that sells."
What I absolutely love about fashion is that it leaves you no choice - you cannot choose to not wear clothes. (atleast for most of us) And by this very fact, you cannot choose to not articulate an abstract form of who you are. Sure, you could choose to be casual or apathetic about it, but that still says something about you.
Play with these ideas when you get dressed next. Check-in on your mood and see the connection between your choice for the day and your selected item. You might end up becoming more aware of yourself.
Nonverbal communication in fashion is a subject worthy of dissemination, and not one that should be within the context of academia only.
In my view, it can help you become conscious of how you present yourself to the world and therefore adept at making tasteful and authentic representations of yourself.