Do Clothes Make the Wo/man? Maybe They Do…

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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.

What Do Beauty Videos Really Show Us?

Glamour magazine shared the top most watched beauty YouTube videos  0f 2012.  While most people are watching them for beauty tips, I was more intrigued by WHY they were so popular and any themes that rose to the surface.
Here’s what struck me:
1. While most were in English and made by Americans, many were created by Eastern Europeans!  I guess it’s true what my old facialist told me years ago when she said “We Eastern European women know our beauty!”
2.The videos were made by everyday women without a lot of production value.  No fancy videos from celebrities-to-stars or brand stylists.  Nothing from high above.
3. Beauty is clearly taken seriously by the hosts and presumably the viewers, yet the tone of the videos is either light-hearted, cheeky or fanciful.  It seems that straight forward or overly glam videos would clash with the vibe and appeal of make-up for so many viewers.  Make up is serious stuff but shouldn’t feel like it.
4. No surprise, the looks were often for special occasions, even, no occasions!  In other words, some of the looks were just for fun and fantasy.  While cosmetics are very purposeful for so many of us; for so many others they are a portal to another world.
5. Every host was YOUNG.  I guess you could argue they have the time to create videos.  Yet, we old folks need beauty tips more than others!  I wonder if we’ll see a difference here when we show the top beauty videos of 2013.  For all of you older beauty mavens, you have an open door to YouTube celebrity-dom, start making some videos!
Have a look and share your thoughts @Beautyskew

More to Love: Additions to the Reading List

Some more beauty-in-culture reading to add to the posts!

  • In case you didn’t see our tweet about this, HBO is airing a documentary about aging beauties

  • A departure for Gucci ads

  • L’Oreal supports women and digital

  • Could you go years without buying anything new?  What would that do to your psyche?

Any more stories to add? Comment or tweet us @Beautyskew