Fashion choices inevitably driven by current fads
My first semester in university has been a great challenge, one that opened my mind and my eyes to see and think about things I never would have before. I’d like to say that I have some sort of control over the way certain subjects or people influence me, but honestly, it’s not that simple to avoid things that are interesting. Having only taken introductory courses in the social sciences thus far, I’m confident with my knowledge of something called the “looking-glass self.”
It’s a concept that was created by sociologist Charles Horton Cooley to describe the process of a self-concept. There are three stages to the process: we imagine the way we seem to other people, we think about how people will judge us based on how we think they view us and, finally, we form our reaction to our thought-up judgments of ourselves. From this process (which usually happens when we’re getting dressed or doing our hair in the morning) comes our very own self-
Every morning, I consciously think about what I want to wear or how I want to look that day and subconsciously compare it to the way I see other girls dressed. It’s something that’s really beginning to annoy me because I’m only just seeing now how very alike I am to everyone else.
My view about originality is that everyone has it. I don’t think my opinion about that has changed, but I can definitely see the way we all influence each other. And the worst part of it (for me) is that no one really does anything to create an impact on another. It just happens. People have eyes and we like to look – that’s how trends spread. My case: I needed boots. The winter can
be pretty nasty when you have cold and wet feet, so I went to the mall to fix my problem.
Now, I’ve always been one of those people who are totally against following the trend. I personally don’t like the new look going around, so I try to avoid it. But when I was going to buy my boots I was immediately drawn to the section with the Uggs. For one thing (I might just be defending myself right now), I did want boots that would keep both my feet and my legs warm, so it may not have been that I was following what other girls were wearing. I’ve never been one for heels either, though I do like the way they look. Well, to make a long story of an hour of boot shopping short, I got the ones that I liked. And I wore them to school the very next day only to realize that they looked almost exactly like what everyone else was wearing.
I’m not sure if that was pure coincidence, or if I really was subconsciously trying to fit in more through fashion. Though I like my choice in the boots that I bought, I’m a bit disappointed that they’re just like everyone else’s. I had thought I was buying something different than what I saw everywhere.
Maybe it’s just that I’m getting used to seeing the fashion trend daily and that conforming to it is inevitable. It’s hard to say how anyone knows that they like something because it’s their own style or because it’s what looks good on other people. There’s no doubt about it – everyone engages in the process of the “looking-glass self” every day of his or her life. It’s just difficult to accept that everyone is basically the same.
We influence one another on a daily basis, but not only are we affected by each other, we’re affected by much larger factors. Take the media for instance – commercials, TV shows and movies – almost everything we see is telling us how to dress or how to look.
That’s why shopping is often painful to me and to a great many other people because we all have these influences that sort of weigh down on us and make us want to either look like everyone else or just like something else. I’m not saying that people who don’t look “the same” as everyone are trying to be different. The fact is that everyone has a different style and whatever a person wears is of his or her own choice. There may be outside influences affecting that choice, but it’s ultimately up to the person to choose what they like. In other words, I still hold firm with my “everyone is original” view.