People will take whatever that can get and hold it over others as a display of their own superiority. Expensive clothes, athletic abilities, obscure musical tastes, their IQ, even their MBTI type. People like to be at the top of the heap even if they have to create a new heap to do it. It could also be a self image thing for class conscious people who can't be seen as lower class or poor. Materialistic people who grew up poor and never had anything nice could use fashion as a way to make up for it.
I've never applied to fashion, and never will. Rarely do good things come out of fashion, and if I'm ever conforming to something, I'm verbally attacked or criticised by my friends or family. This is by no means the reason I don't conform, however. I see fashion as a pointless money-wasting attachment.
How do you view fashion and spending large amounts of money towards it? Big name brands, staying current on trends. Lots of people devote too much money and energy into this and some would call it superficial materialism but I'm willing to bet there are counter arguments from members here. Not only the issue of spending money towards fashionable apparel but also the narcissistic aspect to it. Why do people feel they need to parade around with money signs on their collar, or spend ample amounts of time at a beauty parlor or in front of the mirror? Are we that important and is it necessary to display that image of prestige? Is that even what it is? What do you think?
I love fashion and try to stay current. I don't have the money to replace my wardrobe every season, but neither do most people. If I did have more disposable income I'd probably buy more clothes. If that's shallow then, meh, I'm not really concerned about it. Not everyone is into philosophy and science. I don't like to have brand names on my clothing but if I had the opportunity to have a Hermes bag I'd certainly snatch it up. I like getting complimented when I've put together a particularly brilliant outfit, I like expressing myself through my clothes, makeup, and hair. For example, I'll wear a graphic tee to express my political opinion or for people to know a bit about my sense of humor. When I buy makeup it's usually dramatic and intense colors that I wouldn't wear to work and I use them after work or on the weekends when I feel like it. I like to wear classy and stylish clothes.
You asked why is it necessary to display a certain image. Edahn's reply gives you reasons why people use clothing as markers, artifacts, symbols, expressions of who they are, who they want to be, or affiliation. The same way a wedding band is a marker of being married or wearing a uniform if you're in the military. This is when you move beyond the basics of just keeping your naked ass from shining in the sun and protection from the elements. Even nudists don't wear clothes as a statement. Your clothing tells people a lot about you, even if you have a blatant disregard for fashion it shows up in how you dress if someone is around you consistently enough. You're still making a statement.
As for people who spend large amounts of money on clothes and jewelry the only thing I've got to say about that is if they've paid all there other financial obligations it's their money to do with as they please. Yes I think there are more worthwhile and wiser ways to spend extra income (investing, saving, charity) but what can you do about it? I allot a certain amount out of my paycheck to get blown on "entertainment" which can include clothes. I think Americans have more disposable income than what we did in the past and people are getting creative in the ways to spend this extra money. It even has an official name: conspicuous consumption. So the next question is why do people engage in conspicuous consumption? Have fun!
I'm not really into fashion, but I'm a housewife. I don't have to be. It's socially appropriate for a truck driver's wife and stay-at-home mom to go around in jeans, tees, and pony tails except for special occasions.
When a person's career and/or social life depends, in part, on them looking nice and appropriate, then I can understand investing the necessary time and money into doing so.
As a hobby, it's not my thing and if someone can only talk about that, then my eyes are eventually going to start glazing over and I'm probably going to think of them as superficial and shallow. Do I otherwise care if someone else is into fashion? Nah. Why should I? I have hobbies, too.
“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.” ~ John Rogers
I don't have a problem with fashion as a hobby (although it isn't one of my hobbies). If people enjoy fashion, thats perfectly good, I don't see how it's any different than... home aesthetics or something like that. Its just a hobby about making something look good by altering it in different ways -in this case, it's yourself. Some of my friends are interested in fashion to some degree, and thats cool with me.
A fixation? Would that be like... someone being obsessed with fashion and how they look? That probably isn't healthy, but it depends on a few other variables, like whether or not they care how others perceive them and how much if they do.
Conspicuous consumption is rediculous to me, because it is being too concentrated on showing off the other people. Showing off is fine, like say you are into fashion, its fine if you want to wear your clothes and have everyone see them. Its fine if you are an actor and you'd like everyone to come see your movie. These are cases where it seems there is something the person does and they'd like to be seen and recognized for their work/hobby.
At what point does it turn into, as Wikipedia refers to it, "keeping up with the Joneses"? I think its probably unhealthy for people to do things to keep up with and beat or impress people. Its complicated though, because some people get their sense of fulfilment from pleasing others and it isn't neccesarily unhealthy. Is buying a porsche and moving into a huge house unhealthy (I know people who moved out of a regular middle class size house and into a mansion like house and bought a porsche)? Is it unhealthy to want to study in another country at a private boarding school (once again, I know someone... I think he actually wants to go to the exact one the Wikipedia article on status symbols uses an an example He definitely wants to go to some kind of swiss boarding school)? Where is the line drawn?
Personally, I'm a fan of the saying "the superior man speaks humbly but acts outstandingly"... I think it was confucious, and for me it means to do incredible things but to remain humble and grounded about it.
By the way, I found this hilarious in the Wiki article for status symbol:
"In a Western society, possessions perceived as status symbols include:
A trophy wife/trophy husband
A large, expensive house. A grand piano (especially if its owner does not know how to play it).
I hate the people on MTV Cribs who have a grand piano they don't know how to play. They look like deuchebags!
If you consider art a form of expression, then fashion is the same thing except you have to pay for it. The fact that fashion is artistic notwithstanding...
I do like to buy clothes that I think look cool and express "me." I smile on the inside.
I agree with this. I think it is a fun way to express one's self to dress in clothes that they like. What I don't like is slavish adherence to fashion set by other people and also how expensive clothes are, especially women's clothing.