North Face? No Thanks

15 February 2012

Globalization has impacted everyday life in a multitude of ways, but the regions of the world never expected the looks of their people to change as well—or rather, to mold into one homogeneous look for each target audience.

College girls, for example, are impossible to miss–the likelihood is that any one of them will be wearing a North Face jacket, sweatpants, and Uggs, with way too much foundation and super straight hair.

The typical college girl’s style has become so
standardized in today’s culture

(Occasionally, you will see a sweatshirt instead of North Face, and jeans or—god forbid—leggings instead of sweatpants, and riding boots or flip-flops instead of Uggs, but don’t be disillusioned—these are all still the typical college girls.)

Of course, the fashions of today change continually, and in a few years (hopefully) no one will be wearing the aforementioned clothing, just as a few years ago no one did (thankfully). However, the typical college girl’s style has become so standardized in today’s culture that even my grandmother knows exactly what it looks like, and she doesn’t like it much either.

I suppose to the typical college girl (let’s call her Sarah), she looks like the hot shit that every guy and girl walking past will want to know, but I wonder if she notices that she looks exactly like her friend walking right next to her and the strangers behind and in front of her.

Perhaps Sarah thinks she looks better than all of her compatriots and therefore can pull off the North Face look without a hitch, or maybe she lacks the confidence to dress individually and expressively, so she latches on to the common style and blends in with the crowd of “attractive” people.

I wouldn’t have anything against this, although it is a terrifying thought, because some people simply don’t like being the center of attention or even to be a little bit different from everyone else, except that the clothes she wears are ugly and uncomfortable and expensive, and it doesn’t make any sense.

Moreover, after a week of North Face and Uggs, Sarah, as many typical college girls do, goes out partying with her identical friends, and they all wear super short and unflattering skirts, heels, and a boob-enhancing shirt, despite 26-degree weather.

(However, I did once see two girls wearing sweatpants on the ride to their party and then take them off right before, therefore enabling them to both wear their typical college girl looks as well as their slutty party girl looks, for which I do commend them.)

But once again I wonder–does Sarah notice that she and her friends and the girls at the party, on the street, in cars, and everywhere else all look exactly like her? Or does she even care? (Perhaps she has become best friends with Sloppy Bitch Sylvia and has been influenced accordingly.)

I posit that Sarah et al. dress in this manner in order to attract males, but from what I have heard neither males nor females appreciate the look of the typical college student; i.e. girls like Sarah, and the “bro”, so why does Sarah try so hard to look just like everyone else when no one will even appreciate her efforts?

Dressing individually has been a struggle for women for ages, as they forced society to accept their bodies, or even just parts of it, such as their collarbones, ankles, calves, arms, et cetera. So while we as women do have much freedom today to wear what we like, society often stops us or frowns upon us.

It is legal in my state for a woman to walk around in a thong and Band-Aids—but you never see that, because it is socially unacceptable (meanwhile, men can walk around in only underwear and they do and it is socially acceptable, but that is a different issue).

Why is it, with that much legal freedom and a moderate-level of social freedom (e.g. a swimsuit is often acceptable to wear in public), girls choose to have little to no individuality in the ways that they look and essentially take advantage of and undermine the years of perseverance of our fellow females?

My friends and I, although a small group in a large college, put a lot of effort into how we look—which is to say that we consciously do not give in to society’s expectations of us. We rarely wear pants, because we acknowledge that they are often uncomfortable, tedious, and unflattering; we instead wear skirts and dresses and shorts, paired with tights for the colder seasons, as we find them comfortable, feminine, and overall pretty great (not to mention the fact that you can layer tights and be substantially warmer than if you were wearing pants).

We wear things that speak volumes about who we are

Furthermore, we wear boots (it is of my opinion that every person should own a good pair of black boots) and leather jackets and crinolines and trench coats and heels and waist-cinching belts and colored/patterned tights and overalls and over-the-knee socks and so on—but, most importantly, we wear things that speak volumes about who we are, what we stand for, what we are feeling at that particular moment, how we want the world to view us, and we wear the things that we like and that we find beautiful and that give us a sense of aspiration.

Maybe I choose to dress differently than Sarah because we think differently. I follow fashion trends (yesterday my outfit’s theme was “1994”) and am always interested in being daring with how I present myself. I never wear foundation, because I don’t want to hide who I am, but I do like to enhance it with eyeliner and lipstick. I don’t want to attract the menfolk by wearing outfits that I deem unattractive, because why would I ever want a man who likes me to be what I consider to be unattractive? But I also have no idea how Sarah thinks.

To be fair, yes, I am absolutely more vocal in my wardrobe than most. (I am even known in many circles as “Pinky”, because of my uncommon pink hair.) So I most certainly do not expect every other person to simply give up everything that they know and wear tiny Kermit plushies all over themselves (as only very experienced people can pull that off), but I am curious as to why so many girls intentionally look like every other girl, which is an idea that repulses and endlessly confuses me.

North Face? No, thanks. I’ll stick with the likes of Betsey.

For more honest insight, check out these posts:
The Best Cities to Intern or Work and Why
Internship Survival Guide Part 1

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