I started wearing the same clothes every time I make public appearances in a bid to stop the expectations women face about what to wear, how to where something, and how often that thing can or should be worn. In actual fact I have two outfits, but I mix and match the pieces. Rather than choosing a bland background outfit, my both combine most of the colors of the rainbow, so wherever I go or what stage I am on, I am color coded with the venue.
See me onstage at a futurist conference in Europe, and then on a stage in Tel Aviv. I’ll be wearing one of two outfits. Turns out that Katy Perry has followed my lead! Actually she admits wearing the same outfit when she goes out and wants to stay incognito. The paparazzi can’t make money off the same jogging suit.
Many lifestyle writers and even activists who cover feminist issues argue that women have it tough when it comes to living up to public scrutiny. Consider Michelle Obama. A recent article exposed how she’s been scrutinized over every detail of every dress and outfit she wears, while her husband Barack wore the exact same tux and shoes for his entire presidency –– that’s eight years.
It’s pressure from society that makes us want to wear something new each time we go to work, or go on a date. It’s the media that picks apart celebrities and then makes us feel less.
Not long ago, maybe 40 or 50 years, women only had one or a few dresses. They were washed regularly and that was that. Today, we have H&M and the throwaway mentality, so it’s now possible to renew your wardrobe every year with a couple of thousand dollars, or less, while looking totally in the moment. But this look and approach is getting stale. When you are 18 or in your early 20s it doesn’t really matter what you wear. You can get away with the sloppy generic cuts made by these low-cost clothing lines that fit no one person’s body type. But when you get older, you have a chance to see the world and how your body feels in different designers.
Consider Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto who designs clothes to make you feel emotions. Memories of people, times and events.
When I put on my magic red and black Aluma pants, handmade by a friend who owns that label, I feel like nothing can stop me, because Aluma breathed her own personal passion and experience for me into her handmade items.
I am lucky. I never struggled with my weight, and that’s much to do with genetics. So imagine when you not only have to wonder about what outfits to wear every day - and the colors, and the look - but how you are going to fit into them and be accepted in society? Women who aren’t slender have it doubly rough. I can get away with wearing the same thing to events. Maybe people will think I am being avant grade. That’s what I tell them. That I’m creating a new uniform for myself, and my city.
But when you are a large body size, the pressures can be enormous. And they feel left out. Some dating and body issue projects are working to make being bold and big more accepting. To counter-act the Tinder “swipe left” moments that large women feel (not hot enough to hook up with, even for a random one night stand!) a new app called WooPlus is helping women and men who are large and plus sized, find matches and possibly even lifetime mates. Like JDate did years ago by creating an app that felt safe and good for Jewish people to connect with and start dates, WooPlus does the same if you are a larger body on the spectrum.
While we have a long way to go to improving the fashion industry’s wastefulness and pressure, which leads to body shaming women’s outfits and their size, generally the counter-currents working against the negative trends will give great fruit in the near future. And I hope to still be wearing the same red and black pants. They were made to last.