s a fashion lover myself, I can speak from experience when I say that your brain operates a bit differently from normal folks if you have a particular interest in clothing. It never became clear to me until a few years ago, but fashion occupies a different space in my head than it does in the heads of my friends who don’t really care for it.
It’s the feeling I have when I’m wearing the wrong shirt, or when my shoes aren’t vibing with the rest of my outfit. I carry a sense of wrongness with me, like I’m walking around with one eyebrow or something. In my world, if your outfit ain’t right, your day ain’t right. It’s like your living space. If you love the space you’re in, you are more productive. If you love the clothes you’re in, you are more confident and ready to handle the day.
Fashion is an art, and art is a form of self-expression. For fashion lovers, clothing is the highest form of self-expression. It’s like poetry. Drawing on the words of Tim Gunn, “If you have a limited range of outfits, it’s as though you have a limited range of words in your vocabulary.” Clothing helps you say what you want to say.
But aside from its function a creative outlet, what is so important about the aesthetic pleasure that we get from a good outfit? Why do I get the chills when I see a pair of Jimmy Choos? What about a great pair of jeans makes me literally want to cry tears of joy?
My best guess is that I am simply amazed at how works of art can be wearable. Imagine your favorite painting in your favorite museum, one that you can’t help but say “wow” to every time you see it. A painting that you love because it is intrinsically reflective of some part of you. Now imagine it in a form that you can wear and carry around with you forever. For me, that’s what it feels like.
As for fashion lovers in general, clothing is just an emotional thing. It’s about identity and it’s about creating a persona. For some of us, it’s the most powerful way to express ourselves and form who we want to be. As an industry, fashion is one of the most influential. Not only does it touch the lives of everybody on the planet (nudists excluded), it is both catalyzed by and a catalyst of cultural change. It is derivative and innovative at the same time.
It’s difficult to differentiate whether this dedication to fashion is a preference or an intuition. My belief is that anyone can learn to be stylish and use clothes to their advantage. Everyone can be appreciative of fashion if they want to be. But there exists a special relationship between a fashion lover and her/his wardrobe, and this stems from the deep connection between fashion and the aesthetic sense of self so ingrained in our brains.