- Lara Franco
Choose Your Style!
I love fashion. For some reason, just seeing people having a great time shopping makes my heart dance. When I wear my favorite clothes, I feel so confident: I almost feel like I could conquer the world. Even without the lighting, music, and Anna Wintour, every road I walk turns into my runway. I also love feeling the sense of the four seasons through fashion. Especially during this time of the year when the weather gets warmer little by little and I can sense the arrival of spring, I want to wear high heels with my bare feet. Although I regret following the desire every single time because I know my feet will bleed. But still, nothing stops me from dressing up.
Everybody has their own way to enjoy fashion. You could cosplay to become a completely different person, or you could enjoy the process of establishing your own style. I enjoy fashion as a form of self-expression. For example, when I go out with someone I meet for the first time, I wear clothes that best capture my style to show the kind of person I am. When I lack confidence on an important day, I might wear something more aggressive like a leopard-patterned dress. (With that being said, there’s no way I will ever wear a plain black suit to my job interviews.) Checking out fashion magazines and media is also one of my hobbies.
When you go to a beauty salon, you will be given a few magazines chosen for you based on your age and gender. It is refreshing to read magazines that you would not normally pick up. However, I always find myself questioning some common expressions used in many Japanese fashion magazines, such as “ Women’s Attractive Style From Male Perspectives” or “Women’s Fashion that Men Don’t Like.” It seems that you are discouraged from wearing any styles or items these magazines consider as bad fashion. It might be an extreme way of interpreting these expressions, but these magazines seem to say that the value of women is determined by men. But that being said, it is only recently that I have come to feel uncomfortable with these expressions. I grew up never questioning that the most important thing for women is to be considered attractive by men. Now, I question the implications of female students growing up with such a mindset.
I want to emphasize that my intention is not to deny one’s desire to be popular or loved. In fact, the feeling that you want your crush to find you cute is precious. Someone trying on different clothes a day before their date would certainly make my favorite scene in a romantic movie.
It does not matter why you get dressed: to hide the part of your body that you would only show to your partner and gynecologists, to stay warm, to express yourself, to add color to your daily life, or to be considered attractive. But if I see an article titled, “Wardrobe Men Find Unattractive” when I am wearing the clothes that I like just for myself, I just want to say “leave me alone.” People should enjoy fashion freely. It is sad that magazines or the media regulate freedom of fashion.
So long story short, what I want to say in this article is quite simple: let’s wear clothes that you like, even if that means people might find you unattractive, scary, or cringy.
Graphic by Maya Kubota
Translated by Mutsumi Ogaki
Edited by Emiru Okada