Wednesday, January 24, 2007

My Fashion Identity

I do not go for trends when it comes to fashion. I usually stick to classic clothes, neutral colors, and natural clothing material. Therefore, most of my clothes are considered safe and can blend with whatever is the trend at the moment (though the fashionable tend to see me as tacky). They are also predominantly made of cotton since I live in the tropics and sweat a lot.
When I find time to buy clothes, something that is quite rare for my personality (I simply detest shopping), my first concern is the fabric. I always ask the saleslady, "Is it made of cotton?" or check the label if it indicates the fabric. If it is not made of cotton, then I move on just for the simple fact that my body needs to breathe in a tropical country. The Philippine climate of 32-36 degrees centrigade all throughout the year is enough to make me sweat just by standing up without making a move. Imagine wearing polyester all the time in that climate. I am so suprised that some Filipinos can stand wearing clothes that are not made of cotton. But then again, they do not perspire the way I do.
One would think that cotton clothes for women are easily found in the Philippines, but this is not the case. A lot of clothes nowadays are tagged as "wash and wear." This means no ironing is involved so cotton is not the main clothing material used by the manufacturer. I was also told by dressmakers that cotton is more expensive so manufacturers try to find cheaper material for their clothes. In addition, most businesswomen tend to prefer clothes that are not easily crumpled. Well, I'd rather look untidy than uncomfortable and sweaty.
After finding the suitable clothing material, I then look at the style. I ask myself, "Will this style last more than one season or is it just the trend at the moment?" If it looks like the clothes will go out of style after a season, then I won't even try it on. I am not rich enough to change wardrobes every other trend. Plus, changing clothes gives a "shopphobic" like me a terrible headache.
After figuring out that what I have found is a classic, I will go into the details of what is suitable for my body type and personality. Since I have bigger boobs than most Filipinas and am chubby, I lean towards a V-neckline or any neckline that shows more of my chest without revealing too much cleavage (I am a bit conservative as a rule). I prefer short sleeves over long ones, again because of the overwhelming heat in the Philippines. I still go for high-waisted pants and skirts even if low-waisted ones can make me look less chubby and more fashionable. I guess, I just dislike tugging at low-waisted pants to keep them up or the feeling that they might slide down my legs if I forget to wear a belt (I abhor belts, by the way). I used to wear tapered pants, a product of my 80's teenage past, but after watching that BBC show of Trinny and Susannah "What not to Wear," I veered away from them and now try to find either flared or bootleg pants to complement my chunky torso. If neither style can be found, I have to settle for straight-legged pants.
Lastly, I will ask for the available colors for that piece of clothing I have chosen for myself. My usual colors are what I call the autumn colors like tan, brick red, olive green, beige, cream, periwinkle, muted orange, or sun yellow. These colors brighten me up because my complexion is a bit yellowish and bronzy, depending on the skin area.
I would be lucky indeed if I can find these autumn colors. Sadly, sometimes the colors for each season are determined by the fashion designers of this world. It seems that red is a favorite, judging by the number of times I see this color on clothes of any given season. Blue comes in second (hence, the reason why I have lot of red and blue items in my closet even though they are not my favorite colors). My problem is I cannot seem to accept certain colors that are available for a given season as part of my wardrobe. I avoid pastel colors, especially pink and lilac. I hate gray. I like white (a non-color) but it doesn't suit my complexion and makes me look fat so I usually skip it. I like black, as well, but with my flaky scalp, black has to stay from my waist down :) So, I am stuck with varying shades of red and blue if my autumn colors are off season. SIGH!
Can you see now why shopping for clothes can be such a nightmare for me? Shopping for a blouse can take hours because I have to consider the clothing material, style, and color before I can buy it. Sometimes, when I have finally found the item that fits all of my criteria, I couldn't find the correct size. Remember I have bigger boobs than most Filipinas so even if it fits my waist, the chest part looks too tight for comfort.
My friends do not have much of a problem. In the first place, they couldn't care less if the fabric is cotton or not as long as it is stylish and in vogue. They don't sweat like a pig anyway. They prefer pastels that are commonly used for women's clothes. They look good in white because they belong to the "winter complexion" like most Filipinas unlike me, an autumn-complexioned Pinay. They don't have big boobs and they are not so chubby so it is easier for them to find clothes in their size.
Yes, I am picky despite being unfashionable, but hey, that is me. My clothes, in a way, speak volumes of who I really am. They show that I am sensible, conservative, down to earth, and practical. I am what I wear and I think I can apply this principle to almost anyone. Given that everyone has the money and choice of what to wear, their clothes will reveal who they really are. In other words, my fashion identity is basically my identity....well, sort of.

No comments: