Those who often quote a well-known proverb “clothes do not make a man” must have not heard another saying: “Fine feathers make fine birds.” Although clothes are never a complete image of who you are, you still can choose how you want to be perceived by people. And no matter how wonderful your inner world is, among the very first things that people notice in you are your clothes. The question here is not how expensive your look is, but how well you combine your clothes, how neat you are and how well you feel in your second skin.
Have you ever felt smarter when you put your best formal costume on to an interview? Or did you notice how your favorite sneakers could cheer you up in a second? I did. Deciding what to wear in the mornings, on events, or for an evening walks became a kind of ritual that sometimes takes more than an hour to deal with. It may seem that an hour for deciding what to wear is nonsense, but I would compare it to workout. The more time you spend choosing and combining your pieces of clothing, the more experienced you become. At the end, finding your soul piece in the pile of fabrics that best expresses your “self” will make you feel better. It will become your second skin.
Two paragraphs and it still does not make sense where I am heading at. Pardon, let me fix this.
Consider this: what is the first word that comes to your mind when you hear about Italian fashion? Is it “luxury?” “Style?” Perhaps the name of a well-known Italian brand such as Valentino? What about India? Colors, robes, and gold. Now, let’s move on to our country. When it comes to contemporary fashion, there is no particular image of Armenian style that I can think of besides mainstream fashion.
When the issue of individuality arises, having your own style becomes essential, and we, Armenians, have a room for improvement. Nevertheless, Armenians shouldn’t be blamed for the relatively low level of development of fashion in the country, since its economy, fashion education, and cultural peculiarities dictate the state of affairs.
Extensive market penetration by foreign brands such as Zara and Pull & Bear, as well as the desire to comply with European standards lead to the absence of a distinctive style in each individual. If we divide the spreading system of the trends, abstractly, we will have three stages that the collection goes through. The first stage is presented on the runway; the second is a quality imitation of the latest successful collections by brands such as Zara and H&M; the third stage is the spread of counterfeits around the shops in Armenia. It is very vague, but still. Based on this, there has been an improvement in the way Armenians dress in recent years, it is mostly limited to a shift from wearing whatever we used to consider beautiful and practical to what fashion giants consider the “trend of the season.” However, fashion development, in general, has come to the point where purchasing clothes based on the norms of latest trends is not in trend anymore.
Creating your style requires freedom of mind, the degree of which, in turn, is dictated by mentality. Armenian mentality, to some extent, is complex. The obstacles created by a developing economy and lack of fashion awareness are nothing compared to those that originates in our mentality. Our conservative way of thinking and fear of being different prevent us from breaking the rules, whether in education, relationships or fashion. Art, however, is mostly about breaking the rules.
For instance, a number of people place unduly high importance on makeup: they put it every time they leave the house, even when going for a workout. In some universities, we still have girls coming to lectures in uncomfortable high heels, with eyelashes, and nail extensions. I perceive these as signs of insecurity and fear of being natural. Unless, of course, they made conscious decision to imitate the mainstream celebrity trends. Who knows?
Maybe at some point, we should stop asking ourselves whether our decisions fit into the norms of our mentality or habits. And stop asking ourselves “what would other think?” since such questions prevent us from being who we are, and from wearing what we want to wear (what best expresses ourselves).
Both proverbs have their grain of truth. It takes courage to let yourself go wherever you want, to venture into places that others do not expect you to be in. It is not clothes that present you; you choose how to present yourself. All you need to do is to break the stereotypes and think broadly.