I’m obsessed with the idea that a wardrobe can possess a lot of control over the construction of one’s identity. What I mean is, I believe I can alter peoples’ impression of me just by what I’m wearing. I find extreme comfort in the idea that I have some sort of control over the world’s perception of me. On the other hand, I suppose I could look at it differently and become paranoid about every clothing purchase I make. I can imagine thinking, “What does this much fringe say about me?” As of now my answer would be, “Uh…that I’m fantastic and have at least one Richie Havens record in my vinyl collection.” Who could possibly object to that?
No, I don’t see myself ever being afraid of making a statement through clothing. If anything I worry that sometimes my outfits are not, “saying,” enough about me. Especially during the long winter months when I often feel like dressing simply for survival of the elements. It’s the old cute vs. conscious conundrum. I want to maintain my integrity as a style, "conscious," individual however, I would also like to remain conscious and not fall asleep as hypothermia sets in. I can only hope if the latter of these two statements occurs I will be wearing enough fringe at the time for the authorities to identify me as, “Rayna, that odd woman who is still listening to Richie Havens.”
Sometimes I believe being a person obsessed with clothing can hurt my chances of ultimately expressing who I am through fashion. To explain, as one might imagine I have a lot of clothes. I consider myself extremely lucky to have the ability to indulge in my addiction to fashion. Writing this now I almost feel ashamed of the fact that while others are simply foraging for items to keep warm, I’m spending serious time contemplating if, “warm,” is the concept I want to reflect with my wardrobe. However, I do want to state that I acknowledge the fact that I’m privileged and want to reciprocate this good karma by presenting my best self to the public. Therefore, if I need to shop in order to achieve this then I'm willing. Man, that even sounded like a crock of shit to me. I guess it’s obvious that addicts will shamelessly say anything to continue their destructive behavior.
Returning to my earlier statement, I do believe that individuals who have less in the way of clothing seem to reveal more of their personality through fashion. The reason I state this is because these people often wear many of the same items repeatedly. In my mind, pieces that get worn frequently are favored by their owners. In a way these items start to define the public’s perception of that individual. For example, while I was growing up my Mom always wore a pair of tiger eye stud earrings. To this day, anytime I see a piece of jewelry made with tiger eye I have feelings of, “Mom.” I also can’t seem to bring myself to personally buy any of these pieces because it’s not me. Tiger eye jewelry is Mom. I mention this example because it’s my favorite. However, I have multiple friends that I define with their favorite articles of clothing as well. I know, “he,” loves fancy cowboy boots and wishes there was a way men too could show off the tops of them more. At the same time I know, “she,” is super conservative when it comes to style, except when considering long dangling earrings. Here is a subject where anything is fair game.
I guess my overall point is I love the idea of fashion defining character. I find it fascinating to recognize what pieces people treasure and even more interesting to realize how I myself categorize these individuals by their favorites. I hope that despite the quantity of items I have in my wardrobe I possess pieces, worn often enough, that others believe define me. This being stated, recently I thrifted the parka I’m wearing in the above photographs. As soon as I laid eyes on it at the store I knew I wouldn’t mind if my character was defined by this beautiful piece. As a result, I’ve been wearing it virtually every day since I bought it. Ironically enough, I believe this coat will keep me cute and conscious in the cold. Now, who says you can’t have it all?
Sweater: Ralph Lauren