I had surgery a while back, which meant I couldn’t wear jeans. I’m not really girly person, but to avoid hurting my wound, I wore dresses and skirts for a week. And because I’m … well … me … I wore all my dresses with matching sneakers. I was aware it wasn’t very kosher, but I pretended not to care, and most people pretended not to notice.

On the fourth day of dresses, a workmate stopped me in the corridor. She pointed out my dress was very lovely, but that I was wearing the wrong shoes. I laughed it off and made some witty comment. But I did wonder about it. If I can wear jeans with heels, then who exactly decided dresses must be worn with girly shoes? I mean it’s only fabric and leather, so it shouldn’t really matter what goes with what.

Fashion is ‘dictated’ when a famous person wears something and everyone else copies the look. I’m sure if Angelina Jolie showed up on the catwalk in gunias, it would become the next big thing. So who says if I wear something different that thing is wrong? I mean if everyone jumped off a building, chopped off their middle finger, or walked around naked, that wouldn’t make it a smart thing to do.

[Un]fortunately, the world doesn’t function like that. ‘Logic’ states that if 90% of people agree with something, then that thing is right. Sometimes, it doesn’t even have to be 90%. Sometimes it’s only 5%, or 3%, or even 1%, as long as that 1% has power or ‘moral authority’. That’s why in many parts of the world, it’s still ‘wrong’ to be gay, female, or even black.

Heterosexuality is not normal

Fashion is always a tricky thing. But if someone felt confident enough to leave the house looking a certain way, you can do a lot of damage by making them doubt their choices. The damage is worse when the person has no option to go back and change, so they have to walk around all day feeling self-conscious and awful. It isn’t just about wearing the wrong shoes. It can be about a woman who felt attractive in the morning, but after some pointless catcall, she finds herself wondering if what she’s wearing is ‘wrong’, or if she’s asking for abuse.

I’m not trying to be a fashion misfit here. I’m just saying opinion is relative, everyone has their own, and as long as you’re not hurting anyone, you shouldn’t be made to feel ‘wrong’ just because you think the sky is green and grass is blue. And even if you have the best intentions, or you don’t really mean it, or you don’t know any better, you shouldn’t make other people feel wrong. It’s not about being rebellious or hypersensitive. It’s about wearing someone else’s shoes. Before you say something [stupid], stop and think. Just take a moment to notice how you’d feel if that other person was you.

♫ Say goodbye ♫ Skillet ♫

95 thoughts on “Fashion advice for the wary

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