As a little girl growing up in Philadelphia in the ‘70s, there was a TV commercial jingle that I used to hear at least 10 times a day. Decades later, I can still sing along to it: "If you've got a passion for fashion, and you've got a craving for saving, take the wheel of your automobile and swing on down to Ideal."
Catchy, yes. But also instructive. From a very early age I learned there was a such thing as a “passion for fashion.” And it took little introspection to figure out that I did not have it. Even my Barbie dolls' wardrobes weren't as fabulous as they could have been. Instead of saving my allowance for sparkly evening gowns, I was more interested in getting their dream house decor just right.
It's not that I was a slob or fashion disaster. I just possessed a very matter-of-fact approach to clothes: they were the easy, socially acceptable way not to be naked or cold. That meant I focused little time on following trends. I have never purchased Vogue magazine. And not once have I thought I would "just die" if I couldn't get a Birkin. I didn't judge anyone who felt differently, I just knew it wasn't for me.
As trends were passing me by, life was fine…until Sex and the City came on the air. That's when I would watch episodes with friends who were more focused on getting a knock-off of Carrie's dress to wear to the club than in keeping up with plot points. Was I the only one who cared that Big had messed up again?
Then came Instagram. And fashion blogs started by people who did not work in the fashion industry. Social media, apparently, could turn everyone into a model or Fashion Police-type commentator. What you wore stopped being personal business and became serious business.
So it makes sense that I am not the only woman who feels like a fashion misfit when I'm scrolling through an Instagram feed of folks dressed to the nines — even though they're just going to the grocery store. #ILookFrumpy
Maybe, like me, you don't express yourself through clothes. And maybe you feel pretty OK with that until New York Fashion Week coverage takes over everything. When did it become so pervasive, you wonder, as you pull on a skirt whose hemline is so a gazillion seasons ago.
For all of us who aren't going to make (or maybe even read) a Best Dressed list, here's to knowing that we are not alone. And no passion for fashion leaves us plenty of time to love something else that is as equally colorful and creative…and cheaper!
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.
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