A Boyish Look
Maybe it is because of my new haircut, perhaps a need to be a little naughty, or maybe it's related to what I keep hearing has happened to women, but I have been feeling like I want to be a scrappy, bratty boy. Though never completely crossing over to tomboy because I always retained a feminine flair, throughout my life there were, and are, always times where I have wanted to be like more like Huck Finn than girls in pretty dresses. These are times when for various reasons I wish to feel protected yet risk taking and adventurous, Being the performative dresser that I am, during these periods you can find me wearing overalls, men's shirts, fingerless mitts and boots. When the status quo is being challenged whether locally or on a grander scale, things can get "down and dirty" and I like to feel prepared. During eras such as these there are also many opportunities for women.
Overalls have always been used as a protective cover in work settings. Mine are made modern and feminine (they are a pleated skirt) at the hands of Elsa Ling who can be found on instagram @e.l.jc. Overalls are one of those garments that have been able to cross class and gender as over time, and like many other utilitarian garments, they have become an object of high fashion. They are a garment that women have claimed and repurposed in the service of their own comfort and personal style. First introduced during times of war when women have been called in to replace men on farms and in factories, woman have stepped right into a pair of overalls. What I love about overalls is that when the men came home, women did not stop wearing overalls but claimed them and made them their own. Women used them as comfortable and casual attire, changing fabrics, pockets and silhouettes to add a feminine touch. Each time this happened women took over a little more space in the cultural landscape.
I think this is why I have been so interested in upcyling and reconstructed clothing (as is the jacket I am wearing in this photo) because these processes allows you take possession of something that is no longer useful or falling apart and re-create it into something new and beautiful. I find that my transaction with garments and fashion always offers me new and creative metaphors to think about self and society. So remembering overalls and their history comes to me at the perfect time as a metaphor to give direction about the way forward during these disruptive and changing times. Not only in my professional life but also my life as a local and global citizen.
Does fashion and clothing ever serve as a metaphor for you?