Everyone has their own unique sense of style which carries over into their fashion choices. At least, they think they have a unique sense of style. The fact is there is nothing unique about your style, your fashion choices, or your overall oeuvre.
There are over 7 billion people sharing the planet with you right now. And numberless billions more have come before you, having left a mark that persists to this time. Everyone who has ever worn a bow tie or an ascot in the past had a subtle effect on your decision to wear them now or avoid them like the plague.
That said, within the relatively small social in-group you occupy, there are certainly some choices you can make to set you slightly apart from everyone else you know. Your unique sense of self is not totally illusory in that context. It just helps to keep it in perspective.
If you really want to make a unique fashion statement, you need to be aware of all the forces at work that are influencing your choices moment by moment. So before you start rocking that pink boa thinking that you are breaking out, here are a few things to consider:
They Get You Even When You Don’t Buy
You think you can just breeze past all those expensive storefronts on the boulevard and rise above all the noise and fury that lures others into spending a paycheck on a new designer handbag. You think you’ve won when you just window shop at the mall. You haven’t. In fact, they got you the moment you saw what was on offer.
There can be no personal style without knowing what is possible to begin with. Unless you design your own clothes, everything you wear was dreamed up by someone else. By definition, it is not unique because someone else had the idea. Somewhere along the way, you saw that idea demonstrated in a shop window on a mannequin that was better dressed than you.
In part, that is precisely why companies hire people who chose to further their fashion education through LIM College graduate programs in fashion or similar academic progress elsewhere. Those are the people who not only have an eye for fashion, but also know how to influence what other people find fashionable.
The fact that the hat you have made a part of your personality was sitting in a back corner seemingly neglected was likely no accident. You thought you were buying something unique that no one else was interested in. What really happened was they just replaced it with another just like it the moment you left the store, to be found by someone else looking for that little item overlooked by everyone else.
What Exactly Does a Teen Rebel Look Like?
The next time your teen rocks a green mohawk and professes to be an individual, show her photos of a million other individuals who made the exact same decision. She is laboring under the delusion that she invented the look of a teen rebel who is too chill to care about anything like conformity.
It is almost comical how much alike nonconformists look. That is because they have drawn from the same sources to determine what a nonconformist is supposed to look like. Celebrities influence your personal fashion as much as they did your parents and grandparents.
Your In-group Is the Fashion Police
There are fashion police. They are the members of your chosen in-group. If you go to work in a corporate office, your bosses and coworkers are the biggest determiners of your fashion choices. You simply don’t have that much say in the matter. But it goes beyond business.
If you go to a suit church, you will likely wear a suit. And if you go to casual church, you will likely dress down for the occasion. You will not wear suits on a regular basis if your in-group is that street goth gang that congregates in the late evening. And when you go to a Lady Gaga concert, you will be dressed in a way that will leave no one shocked by your destination.
If you want to develop a truly unique look, you have to break away from influences such as professional merchandisers, celebrities, and your peer group. Just remember this warning that also applies to fashion leaders: One step ahead, and you’re a leader. Two steps ahead, and you’re a martyr. Don’t be a fashion martyr.