A little while ago, I was reprimanded (deservedly so) for mocking cargo shorts on my personal Facebook page. My gripe with the ubiquitous article of clothing stems mostly from just that—they are EVERYWHERE and many people (especially men) buy them by the drawer-full just because they’re so easily accessible.
I was accused of being a snob (guilty) and elitist (doubly guilty). But while most snobs want to maintain their distance from others, I want everyone else to join me in my snobbery. Not to clad everyone in high-end gear, but to encourage everyone to develop a style of their own—not the one Celine or Target or I or even the Holy Vogue would confer on them.
My particular brand of elitism involves self-awareness and individualism. First, know yourself. Clothes are a language. What do yours say to the world? What do you want to say to the world?
When I was growing up, my mom sewed much of my sisters’ and my clothes to save our family money (that was during a time when you could sew for less than buying). That was nearly the equivalent of social death to a girl growing up in a town where individual style wasn’t highly valued–you were only cool by having expensive clothing (as long as it was the same expensive clothing everyone else had). As a result, I came to equate style with money until I started really delving into the world of fashion. It turns out that I didn’t know what a treasure I had in a mother who taught me how to sew! Through vociferous study of style mavens the world over, I gradually realized that one can have all the money in the world—a closet full of Louis and Louboutin—and not have style (and conversely, positively ooze fabulosity on a tight budget).
As my values changed, I started to notice and appreciate the personal touches (and even outrageous style) of friends and people I meet on the street (or stalk through the coffee shop—sorry about that, lady from this morning’s coffee run). I love it when someone cuffs an awesome pair of Adriano Goldshchmeid’s just so, rocks a bag by an independent designer, or my favorite—says “I MADE this!” when I beg them to tell me “WHERE did you get that?!”
So the next time I express my discontent over cargo shorts, just remember it’s because I know you’re not boring. And you’re certainly not ubiquitous.
YOU. ARE. ELITE.