Wednesday, June 15, 2011

An Observation

One of my current research projects involves fashion blogs (although I'm focusing strictly on the well known varieties like Style Rookie, The Man Repeller, Chic Muse, the Glamourai, Sea of Shoes). I'm discussing them in the ridiculously ambitious conference paper I'm writing right now (and presenting all too soon), in an essay I'm writing for a fashion and media anthology and as part of the conclusion to my femininity book. All well and good--the field is pretty open, and I hope I can be one of those to help conceptualize its terms, particularly vis-a-vis femininity.

But it is challenging spending mornings/afternoons/evenings reading and writing about fashion blogs when you've vowed off clothes spending (albeit not accessories--as I said, I need those sandals but not yet and not at that price). I know that most of the bloggers mentioned above are either rich or so well known that they don't have to spend much of their own money on clothing, but seeing so many outfits not only exposes me to unknown designers, it also makes me think about the sheer joy of acquiring and owning so many clothes. I think this excess is part of the appeal of shopping, blogs and fashion more generally--simply the changes, the variety, the promised mutability of the body engages something that seems to be central to at least a form of femininity that I identify with. When I was a little girl, a friend of my mother's gave me a doll and a huge box of clothing that her daughter had grown out of. It wasn't Barbie but a younger doll. It wasn't that I was so struck by one dress or even the doll--it was the mound of possibilities. And I remember the thrills of dressing, undressing, combining and recombining outfits.

This change, variety and play echoes both the fun of dress-up day (which I remember so vividly from my first year at school) and the fashion blogs themselves. I'm a horrible fashion blogger--I veer away from the topic (am I even a fashion blogger if I write about film, food, everyday life and the weather?), I don't take enough photos and when I do, I forget to post them. But part of that is time. I'm not 15, 19, 22. I have, in short, responsibilities.

I also have something else that most of these bloggers don't have. Thighs. Looking at their long thin legs in minis, skinny jeans, tulip skirts, bandage dresses, leggings and shorts makes me wish I had the power (I don't even think its willpower at this point) to exercise and diet my body into these shapes.

Before I go back to work, I want to note that I have been a good girl. I may have looked up a few items but I am not spending. After all, a one-size fits all dress that looks good on a size 2 waif of 21 is hardly going to look so flattering on my older and thicker frame, although I wish I didn't have to type those last words.

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