Fashion is the artistic representation of a certain time and culture in clothes, footwear, accessories, hairstyle, makeup, and physique, particularly in fashion trends and fashions during a given era and context. It is the visual language of fashion. The word comes from the Greek word “fash” (meaning “wear”).
Over time, the term “fashion” has taken on a more generic meaning, usually denoting anything fashionable or highly attractive, which may not conform to any basic ethical or moral principles. As a result, some people tend to get mixed up when they talk about fashion, particularly those who identify themselves as “high fashion”, “contemporary fashion”, or “antique fashion”, and use those terms interchangeably with “decayed” or “ruined”. Therefore, the following discussion will deal with the term “fashion” and try to clear up a few of the common misconceptions associated with it.
First, fashion is not necessarily a formal activity. In fact, high fashion is often described as an attitude or aesthetic approach towards dressing that is above the everyday, practical mire of “working-at-home” fashion. Thus, for example, the artistry of designing high fashion is not necessarily connected to the application of complicated fashion principles. The designers are more concerned with expressing their creative vision than with following strictly conventional or realistic aesthetic guidelines. Instead of focusing on the superficial aspects of design, high fashion designers pay more attention to the combination of form and function, or, more precisely, the integration of form and function within the rest of the design. They are more interested in establishing a connection between the sensual, creative, and geometric qualities of clothing than in creating a product that can be worn daily.
Second, while high fashion may refer to specific clothes styles or fashions, haute fashion generally refers to a certain attitude toward dressing. Haute fashion designers put a greater emphasis on clothes form and functionality rather than on the visual appeal of a design or garment. They pay more attention to form than to appearance, and they use clothes as an aesthetic experience as much as an accurate representation of fashion. (As one famous designer said, “The important thing about clothing is not that it looks good, but that it feels good.” ).
Finally, high fashion is not always synonymous with pornography. Certainly, many people see wearing sexy clothes as having sexual implications, whether or not this association has any real foundation. However, fashion magazines and other popular media can sometimes have a pornographyizing effect on our sense of beauty. People who read fashion magazines tend to see themselves as models and so they unconsciously adopt the standards of fashion reflected there. Because of this tendency, people who wear revealing clothing may find that their friends or peers think less of them because of their clothes.
If you feel that you don’t fit into any of the existing categories, you’re welcome to make your own. Just remember to do so in a tasteful way. Dress in neutral colors that express your personality and don’t draw undue attention to your body. Whatever you wear should be in line with your own sense of fashion. Whether you want to dress to impress at work, or to look your best when going out with friends, or simply to feel good about yourself, you’re sure to find stylish new fashions by looking through the many various publications and websites devoted to the latest styles.