January is always a rotten month, what with being on the other side of holidays, with the perpetual grey, bleary sky, still not much light and more than a little bit of cold. This year was rotten for me for a few reasons that The Internet At Large needs to know about; it was a good day when I put on proper pants, let alone made interesting outfits, and as such I felt I had nothing to contribute here.
And then February hit, and I gave a presentation which went fantastically well, then hopped on a plane and went here…
… and thought about things. Lest you think that I have such quantities of disposable income that I can flit off to Geneva and then one of the really famous bits of the French Alps (that’s Mont Blanc up there) for a week to think about blogging, let me burst your bubble; I went to the Alps for a conference and Geneva was the closest major airport. But since there was free time in the afternoons, one afternoon I walked into the woods, sat under a tree, and thought about life, the universe, and everything.
(from the hilarious Sassyfrass Circus Productions)
I realized that my reluctance to blog comes down to three main words: privilege, deliberation, and innovation. I’m a white, middle class, absurdly over-educated, heterosexual, cisgendered, currently ablebodied woman, and I feel that because of that, when I speak up (ie, blog, in this context) I’m continuing a conversation that’s dominated by people like me, to the exclusion of an awful lot of other people. This is not something I want to do: everyone deserves to be heard, and while intellectually I know that I’m included in that everyone (and plus it’s not like women’s voices on the whole are always heard and valued), this is where the other two words kick in with regards to blogging.
I’m neither deliberate nor innovative with my dressing: I don’t spend time considering if x will work with y, or trying to optimize the proportions of an outfit, or get the right colour balance between my shirt and my shoes. I crash around at the last minute, grab what’s clean, do a quick assessment to make sure I didn’t drop toothpaste on my shirt, and head out the door. It’s not deliberate, considered, or measured, and as such I feel like my hackneyed method doesn’t fit in circles of people who put not inconsiderable time and effort into their presentation. I’ve realized I’m never going to be a polished, sophisticated woman and I’m coming to terms with that; blogging in circles full of women who are just that underscores the difference, and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt a bit.
Now if my frenzied grab-what’s-clean-and-run method turned up fabulous, innovative outfits then maybe I’d feel differently, because at least I’d look zippy or unusual or… something. But there’s not much variation in my outfits: usually two layers on top, some sort of plain bottom, red ballet flats, a pendant necklace, bad hair and awkward posing. Not exactly groundbreaking stuff — anyone grabbing an outfit out of my closet would have a good chance of coming up with the same thing. I’m not happy with my wardrobe because of this, but I’m not in a position financially to buy a lot of non-cheap clothing and besides that I’m increasingly coming to the conclusion that there’s no ethical way to clothe oneself in the Western world. I’m reluctant to throw stuff out and start over because I’m unhappy with what (still functional, presentable) garments I have, because that’s a big act of privilege, and I’m nowhere near comfortable with exercising it.
This naturally raises the question: why am I blogging about clothes in the first place? Even though my actual clothes are bland and unmemorable, I like talking about what clothing means, how it fits into our identities, and our relationships with it. I’m not necessarily good at it, and I am woefully unknowledgeable about all the cultural theory and analysis that goes along with it, but I like it. Unfortunately, being long winded, short on pictures, and not necessarily great at it, those posts often don’t go very far. I get discouraged — why blog if no-one cares — and then I just sort of fizzle on the whole thing.
And that’s about where I am with this now: fizzled. I’m feeling generally refreshed from my trip, and I’m hoping that in the blog context that’ll translate into more posting, but I’ve made statements like that before and it never seems to stick. Maybe if I take off the pressure to do outfit posts, I’ll post more about the stuff I like more, but then will the few people who do read still read? Part of me feels like snappy outfits are a prerequisite you need to have before people’ll listen to the rest of what you have to say. While it’s all fine and good to natter into the abyss, it’s rather reassuring when the abyss talks back, and I’ve got plenty of unresponsive abysses laying around I could talk to instead.
I’m not sure how to wrap this up: there’s not a lot of point to it, so there’s no real point to wrap up. To be fair, though, I did warn you with that hilarious navel gazing picture up there — I’m totally saving that for future use too.