My mother handed me a magazine clipping about a writing contest. "You just have to write about a piece of clothing." Just?! How would I even begin to choose? My first little black dress? My interview suit? My wedding gown? It's like trying to choose my favorite book or painting. Impossible.
As a person who practically wears a different outfit every day, my attachement to fashion stretches all the way back to childhood, sneaking platform shoes to second grade and wearing sequined hats to the playground. For me, the attachement to clothing isn't simply about fashion; it is how clothing serves to establish identity. The maleability of our attire, the shaping of one's appearance is easy to see-- a suit signifies business, a uniform shows authority. The topic is at once superficial and meaningful. Even on days when I toss on something without thought, it's saying something. Our society uses fashion, even the rejection of fashion, as a representation of who we are in terms of self identification and social status.
Having just seen the Coco Chanel movie, I was pleased to see this designer's story told. Chanel broke with convention to craft clothing that rejected restraint, instead reflecting freedom of movement. Thus, her clothing, a symbol of modernity, ushered in a new era for women. Of course, her clothing has now become synonymous with exclusivity and luxury, but it started with a more egalitarian spirit. The film showed that one need not invest a king's fortune to have style. In fact, sometimes it's the exact opposite.