We have always lived in a world where society made us try harder to be something we are not. It’s the entire foundation of Fashion and Beauty. That being one of pain. Those stiletto heals are painful! No, it’s not exactly a whirlwind of fun to be cinched into a corset. Makeup is a heavy mask to carry. Well, for a lot of people! I know plenty of folks who derive great joy from the aforementioned pains.
As humanity continues down a path of comfort vs. sexiness we often come head to head with the question of what looks good. There was a time where you could not enter a “fancy restaurant” without being dressed to the nines. Now all you need is a pair of flip-flops and your Homer Simpson T-shirt. No one will bat an eye at you dressed like Mr. Simpson while paying $300 for Surf and Turf. At least, no one except those of us who did go through the trouble of dressing to the nines.
I grew up wanting to just be myself. I don’t like doing my hair or wearing anything that constricts my waistline. I got married in an Iron Maiden band shirt. My favorite things to wear make me look two sizes larger than I actually am. I completely understand the desire to be comfortable. But I also understand what’s wrong with that.
I used to scoff at fashion and now I completely understand it. It’s something special to work hard to make yourself look like something special. Too many people have taken the “art of just being me” too far. Humans are silly that way. It’s either all or nothing. Being able to go to the grocery store dressed casually in your cow print pajamas almost immediately gave everyone permission to wear them to dinner too. They couldn’t just keep it confined to part of their lives. No, they had to have it all. They had to ruin it for everyone. Your cow pajamas are destroying the fabric of being special during a $300 dinner!
Once upon a time my makeup of choice was found at the bottom of a dollar bin at the local drug store. I wanted to slap it on, take some photos, stumble around town, and then get right home to wash it off. It was as if I was wearing a suffocating mask. I had no desire to do it right. I saw how much time that took! I simply didn’t want to.
One day my fabulous makeup artist friend stopped by and we went shopping. We took the time to match the concealer with the skin tone. Then I took the time to learn how to apply layer after layer using real brushes. Not just the little cheap spongy sticks! The difference it made to my aging mug was drastic. Better yet it was convincing. It convinced me just a little further that Beauty and Fashion are not easy. They are not something that comes simply. Art is life and life is work if you want anything to look like something.
I see people regularly “letting themselves go.” In this culture of relaxation it is so easy to subscribe to the mantra of the cow pajamas. They dust on a little powder that doesn’t stick. They put on the sweatpants. They opt for the flip-flops. Little by little they just simply give up. Because they want to be authentic! But it seems that authenticity has been muddled. Authenticity is now calling painstakingly difficulty preparation inauthentic. And you don’t have to wear stilettos and a corset to look good. But you do have to actually care about what you’re wearing.
There’s a fine line out there. There’s always a fine line! Humans have a terrible time balancing conflicting thoughts and ideas. It’s the good and the bad, the black and the white. They feel uneasy about that gray. They confuse looking good with looking fake. They confuse discomfort with trying just a little harder. They forget that looking fabulous isn’t always a charade, but instead an attempt at nothing else other than complete fabulousity.
It’s so easy to be a sloven beast.