Archive | February, 2011

minifesto: why all of this then?

11 Feb

My name is M. I’m a Ph.D. student in English at a large Northwest college. I think clothing, fashion, appearance, etc., matter. I probably think too much about these things. So yadayadayada, why bother writing a blog?

The truth is, I read a lot of blogs and mine them for inspiration, support, and advice. But there wasn’t anyone I found who quite looked like or dressed like or lived like me and, well, I wanted to explore why it was that I looked, dressed, and lived like me. I wanted to examine and discuss the particular world in which I live. So what is that world? Well:

babyfaceKiddos, I am young. I’m in my earliest of twenties and, well, that makes me often roughly two years older than some of my students. Four at the outside. And sometimes they’re as old or older than me. That’s a weird position to be in. And moreover, I look pretty damn young, so I’m not fooling anyone with blazers and pantsuits, which no one in this part of the country wears anyway.

goofball — I am a bit of a firecracker. I’m energetic and silly and usually willing to make some kind of fool of myself (which is fortunate, because I’m likely to) and definitely willing to go out on a limb and probably about to say something uncouth or ill-advised. And I’m a redhead. So I have to tone it down for the classroom so that I can maintain some semblance of control or authority.

hourglass — How do I put this: I am not a small lady. I am not quite a lady of great size (sidebar: once shopped at a clothing store that used the labeling small-medium-large-women of substance. Love!) but neither am I the kind of waifish beauty I see tripping lightly across the floorboards of my most favorite blogs. I’ve got to dress to flatter my figure without letting the, ahem, goods spill out on my lap.

pricepoint — Grad school is subsistence level living, kiddos. And though I grew up without a lot of wealth and am therefore acclimated to this lifestyle, I’m also trying to balance my love for fashion with some ethical practices. What does that mean? Well, I spend a lot more money on food than on clothes because El Boyfriend and I shop primarily local, organic, and seasonal. It also means that I only shop used and make exceptions only for certain items (like my beloved workhorse boots, which I spent six months trying to find in good shape used until I finally broke down and bought new on super-saver clearance), gifts (gift cards ahoy!), and artisan or locally made goods.

So what does this whole minifesto of fashion restrictions and special needs mean? Here’s the deal: my sartorial choices need to reflect my age, personality, body, pocketbook. Moreover, they need to help me project power, intelligence, and charisma so that I can convince my students, peers, and (let’s be honest) myself that I belong at the level of academia I’m at. I hope that by writing this, by peering at myself with the same curiosity and interest I focus towards all of y’all, by investing my time and energy into my appearance, I’ll come to some greater comfort and composure about it all.