My colleague introduced me to a new web series, Stylelikeu. The series video tapes people as they slowly undress over the course of 5-6 minutes. It’s not some strip tease by any means. No one gets totally naked. While they take off item after item of attire, the subjects talk about the role of clothing in their lives and how they feel about their bodies. The increasing vulnerable physical state that they experience opens the subjects up and induces some deep sharing.
The moral or purpose of this series isn’t totally clear to me. In some cases it seems to state that clothes DON’T reflect who we really are. But in other cases, it appears as though clothing is a form of self-expression. It reflects one’s personality, spirit and attitude.
I think the moral is that we are MORE than our clothes, of course. But clothes are also part of us. They represent us to some extent. And that’s OK.
What’s NOT ok is if we’re judged poorly because of what we wear. Because that means, therefore, that we are being judged poorly, to some extent, for WHO WE ARE.
What resonated with me most was when the video subjects talked about being mistreated for what they wore. One man talked about being looked at funny for wearing a dress, and a female punk rock singer complained of being called “inauthentic” because she dressed in pretty, sexy clothes instead of something more hard-core.
I can certainly relate. There have been many times throughout my life that I have been criticized for my attire. Even recently I was told I “used my sexuality too much” during a big stage presentation because of what I wore. That really hurt. I just wore what made me feel comfortable. There are some who advise me to look dowdy so I wouldn’t be judged. But I’m not unisex or Miss Marple! That’s not who I am.
We are all making statements by what we wear. And that’s great! I think the goal is to recognize that these statements are ONE OF MANY that we have. We’re not one-sided. We aren’t JUST a reflection of the outfit we wear on any given day. But, by the same token, we should be able to express any particular side any way we choose without fearing harsh judgements of others.