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Jun.8th Sartorially Bland

I just literally spent an hour plus going through thousands of photos looking for a very particular few, with no recollection of when I took them, what memorable event might have followed or preceded this, or even what time of year it had been at the time. No, no clues at all other than a vague and rather uncertain timeframe of the past two years as when I definitely should have taken these in no way remarkable, important or even good photos. First I rummaged through the Galaxy folder on my laptop, hoping these would be among the images I'd imported at some point during one of my android de-clutters, sadly with no luck. Then I moved on to my actual mobile phone, resisting the impulse to scroll through months worth of photos even if they didn't look promising, until finally, there they were. End of February 2013 is when I'd originally had this thought and the opportunity to illustrate it had been right in front of me, so I acted.

It would be far beyond even my occasionally awe-inspiring ability to store and recall a vast volume of trivial daily information, to give an accurate, let alone honorable reason as to why I didn't pen and publish those thoughts back then. I can't remember. But I can presume. For one - procrastination, of which I am guilty more days out of the year than not. Secondly – falling out of a technological routine, the resumption of which always seems like a monumental undertaking, much like running. You may have been breezing through 5km daily in the summer, but fast forward half a year from what you thought would only be a week long break, and completing a single lap feels like the presence of EMTs at the finish-line, ready to resuscitate you, is only wise. Point being, these things don't just magically materialize.

There are no fairies hovering above my head while I sleep, typing up what I would like to say, or elves then researching support material and converting all of it into a web-friendly format. No, sometimes even the most menial of tasks end up devouring hours, making the process of wanting to express a simple thought an exercise in patients, dedication and preternatural time management skills. Basically, this takes an incredible amount of time to happen, which I don't always have, and when I do my best and there's still no end in sight, sometimes I get bored, despair and need a break. I'm saying this because the actual subject of this post might otherwise seem underwhelming after such a thorough intro.

sartorial clones
  Sartorial clones (photo: Olga Rattik)

The image that had caught my attention was of three teenage girls who I happened to catch sight of one late February afternoon, during a bus ride downtown. They didn't seem to be friends, acquaintances maybe, but most likely they just went to the same school. I couldn't help but smirk because there were actually two more girls who I wish would have remained standing next to this group of three, but who had walked further down the bus where it was less crowded. I was witness to a micro representation of something that I've been finding amusing at best and frustrating or even infuriating at worst, on a much grander scale for the past couple of years. Hordes of women wearing the exact same thing or the exact same combination of things, give or take a brand or three, during a time of massive supply, consumption and choice, or so it seems.

 

The primary culprits of this would be teenagers, with the number of offending parties declining in every following age group, based on casual observation of course. This should be baffling since music, film and virtually every other aspect of pop culture, fashion included, is no longer made for adults in mind, but for children with the attention span of a goldfish and no more curiosity about the world than which angle best works for a selfie. But actually, these are the very reason why despite having entire industries cater to their taste, so many teenagers look like they couldn't muster a single original statement in any of the platforms at their disposal. It's a bit frightening that the relevance and general public opinion on anything is now measured by what's trending or gone viral on social media, which in a

case of quantity over quality, is largely fueled by bored, unmotivated kids whose judgement is easily dictated by a peer of sufficient importance, thus the masses follow “Coz that's what Chloe said and omg I totes agree.”

 

Back to the girls on the bus. There may have been just three of them right in front of me, but there will have been hundreds more out and about in the city at the same time as me, wearing the exact same god forsaken khaki to olive colored parka, leggings, combat boots, with the occasional UGG or Chuck Taylor variant, and brown faux leather hipster messenger bag. Once the weather warms up, these same girls will uniformly switch to wearing 80's distressed skinny jeans with a polyvinyl bomber jacket assembled by a barefoot Bangladeshi orphan in a filthy basement that may well have collapsed on itself by the time said jacket was actually sold, and a sassy T-shirt declaring what a bad girl the wearer is or her adoration for either New York or Paris, it's usually one or the other. Moving on to summer, the dismal, lighter weight cousin of the parka, the utility jacket, in the same exact colours, will be worn over a crop top with high-waisted ripped jeans, the same footwear and accessories apply. Another popular option would be a pastel or neon coloured polyester high-low dress or skirt, often pleated, with a tank top and ballet flats, and if she's feeling particularly casual, she'll opt for white or pink denim shorts, flip-flops and a T-shirt with an owl on it (or some other woodland creature du jour). Sound familiar? Thought so.

The question is WHY? Why, given all the choice in the world, must trends that weren't that good to begin with get absolutely killed because so many people seem to be incapable of thinking for themselves? Worse still, someone decided that sporting a bad carbon copy of a look Emma Watson wore five years ago makes you a fashionista. What? No! Trends by definition have a very short lifespan, that period of time during which they're actually fashionable is usually over at the snap of a finger and they become laughable, dated and uncool overnight. In my book perpetuating a fashion corpse is a bigger offense than just being clueless and going to work or school like you've gotten dressed in the dark. Those people don't know any better, while the others seem to think they're actually superior and stylish. Really? If you're wearing a look that was cool for a month two years to half a decade ago, you are sadly not, quite literally, an authority on what's in.

 

Make mistakes, wear things that don't make sense, avoid buying clothes that you've seen on someone you interact with frequently, or if you really love a popular piece, make it special and make it your own. Break free from this generation-wide case of tunnel vision, be quirky, have fun and have an individual point of view. Even if your style isn't everybody's cup of tea, it sure as hell beats being generic! Just a thought...

O.-
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