The Facade of Fashion

craig green fashion I am in a constant state of thought surrounding why it is that we choose to wear what we choose to wear. (I’m still reeling from this post in particular.) I’ll be honest – there are lazy mornings where I pad around in my pajamas, my mood matching my attire: thoughtless, wrinkled and sleepy. And then I shower and throw on an outfit I love and the cloud lifts. I feel… better. And I sometimes wonder why it is that dressing in particular clothes brightens my day. Am I polishing up my outsides to hide the insides? Am I decorating to hide an unsteady foundation? Are we draping ourselves in clothing to hide the flaws beneath?

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My mind immediately turns to Craig Green, a London-based fashion designer who asks many of the same questions. A recent collection from Craig is based on society’s expectations for men and the pressures they feel to be handy, strong and burly. By creating a harsh, splintered wood facade to hide behind, each man can feel enveloped in the false security of manhood, catering to our age-old standards of masculinity.

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“I became obsessed with clothing as a uniform,” writes Craig. “Sometimes, it’s oppressive but it also provides [the wearer] with a sense of belonging and a feeling of community.” And I wonder – are we providing the wrong sense of belonging?

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What statements would I make if my clothes didn’t speak for me? If my hands were unadorned, open and ready to help someone in need? If my proverbial wedges were replaced with sneakers, running toward a greater goal?

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As a content creator, I feel compelled to talk about these things. To share with you that you are more than your skinny jeans and peplum top and strappy sandals. But as a consumer, I also feel hypocritical. How many times have I declared an item of clothing to be a “must-have”? An accessory a “wardrobe staple”? A beauty product a “need”?

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There’s a fine line here, to be true. And perhaps that line exists in knowing when to stop purchasing more decorations for our shaky shack. To kick off our heels and peel back the facade to re-build a stronger foundation. One that is rooted in authenticity and kindness and truth.

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One that we won’t have to camouflage with peter pan collars and neutral blazers. Because Yves Saint-Laurent said it best: “Over the years I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it.”

Image Credits: Craig Green

p.s. On Body Image & Self Worth

  • For me it’s about the intent behind the performance. And that’s what it is for me as well – my daily “uniform” ends up being a performance of who I am/feel that particular day.

    And tied in there is the buddhist idea of the hungry ghost – where we are consuming and purchasing and adorning to feed the hungry ghost inside of us. To fill a hole. To perhaps distract from some deeper issue requiring our attention.

    I don’t think that there is anything wrong with adorning ourselves. Just as we are the same people who sat around a campfire tens of thousands of years ago telling stories, we are also the same people who sewed on a cowrie shell or tore the hem in a certain way just.because.

    It’s the intent that makes the difference. Are we expressing ourselves or giving in to peer pressure? Are we consuming clothes/food/furniture to fill an emptiness or to play?

    To build on the YSL quote, s there a woman/man underneath that outfit or is it just a facade?

    • Ahhhh, I always so very much love your comments, Sandra. This one was particularly beautiful, and I think you’re right. The more I think about it, intent is kind of the root of all things, yes?

  • Beautiful and thoughtful post.

    I can relate to mood changes based on outfits changes – as silly as it sounds.
    I think it’s important to let your wardrobe speak to YOU as an individual rather than the current fashion craze. How you dress says so much about your priorities and sensibilities. Let your dress tell your story – whatever that looks like.


  • I was very touched by this post. As a blogger, I often ask myself these questions, but they’re not questions that can easily be discussed with readers. You did a great job initiating the conversation, and I think it’s a topic that deserves to be an on-going dialogue.

    • Thanks, Erin – I’m going to do my best to grapple with this particular thought for a bit. I think it’s worth some serious mulling over! And I so appreciate your kind encouragement. :)

  • What if it was looked at from another angle, the person is great but that final touch makes them awesome? Ever have a room that looked great and you add a painting or change the color of the wall and it boosts everything in the room? Our accessories do the same thing. Some people might dress a certain way because it is the only way they know to make themselves feel special. They should probably do some soul searching. I think the general public that loves fashion is doing it to just highlight the already awesome person underneath. When I put on a certain outfit it isn’t because I think I will be missing something without it , but that it provides me with that extra boost and reminder I need to get through a day. At the end of the day I know it was me not the outfit that got through whatever it was and that isn’t bad. I think that is a healthy way of looking at it.

  • I feel as if I experience my clothing on 2 levels: one is the “I’m an insecure female and my clothes affect my mood” but the other is as a creative. The days that I am more creative with my clothing I am more creative in my work. The colours I wear make me feel more adventurous or less. When I wear my glasses I have a hard time thinking outside the box because everything I see is framed in (crazy but totally true!) You have me thinking really deeply! And inspired to make sure my clothing doesn’t put me in a box or leave me undefined! And to spend days without thinking about clothing at all, because too many people are hungry, lonely, and unclothed.

    • Oh, Laura – that’s my problem, too. I really struggle with the idea that there are so many people doing without, and I’m here with 45 pairs of shoes. When did I start filling my closets and not my soul? And what is their relationship to each other?

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