What Is Fashion?

What Is Fashion?

Fashion/fa-SHən/
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What exactly is fashion? According to the dictionary, fashion is “1. A prevailing custom or style of dress, etiquette, socializing, etc." or 2. "Conventional usage in dress, manners, etc., especially of polite society, or conformity to it." However, if you ask a fashion student or a fashion enthusiast this same question, you will probably hear answers such as: “Fashion is a way of expressing oneself,” or "Fashion is a form of art,” and “Fashion is playing around with and breaking the rules of conventional dressing.” Fashion may seem like a simple concept, but behind the word is a world full of creativity, breakthroughs, and endless possibilities.

It's hard to define fashion simply because it means something different to everyone. For instance, it could be someone’s passion in which they use fashion blogs and social media to express their creativity, or it could be someone's entire career. Working in the fashion industry might be some people’s way of putting food on the table for themselves or their families. Then for some, it may just be a foreign world they see all around them but have no interest in following up with current trends, designers, and such.

Because fashion is such a broad term, there are several factors that break it down season by season and determine what fashion is at the moment, what’s in and out, and what almost everyone will be wearing.

The first factor is haute couture fashion houses including Chanel, Christian Dior, and Jean Paul Gaultier, just to name a few. Haute couture houses have been leading the way in creating trends and classic, iconic fashion looks. Most of their pieces are one-of-a-kind, unrealistic for daily wear, and way beyond the budget for the average person. However, the themes of these designs are often imitated and reconstructed by fast fashion outlets into versions that are more suitable and affordable for most people.

The media is another major factor in establishing fashion trends. Media outlets such as television shows, movies, social media accounts, and magazines create thousands of trends and fads. These forms of media show people millions of different looks and endless possibilities in the way certain items can be worn together. The way someone’s favorite character dresses may inspire them to dress a certain way. The way an item is placed in a unique fashion editorial may inspire them to try a new look. People exposed to these media outlets may even subconsciously piece together their own personalized creations that were inspired by what they had seen on TV, print, or the Internet without even realizing it.

Another factor in determining fashion are celebrities. These days we are exposed to celebrities every time we open up a magazine, turn on the TV, surf the Internet, and look up at ads or billboards on our daily routes; so it’s no surprise they play such a big role in fashion. A public figure can wear a simple item one day and within the next few days you will see versions of it in stores and on the streets. Designers love to use major stars to market their brands, so many times they will give current “A-listers" free clothing, shoes, purses, and accessories as a way to promote themselves through these celebrities to the mass public. This makes the public aware of the designers’ lines and encourages them to want to purchase the items whether they can afford to or not.

Pictured above: Zuhair Murad Spring 2015 couture

Some may agree with the factors that go into determining trends for every season, and some may dislike it. The great thing about fashion, though, is that it’s completely okay to break the rules, which many people forget. Society popularizes trends carried down from fashion houses, celebrities, and media outlets, but if you don’t like what everyone else is wearing, you don’t have to dress like that. There are basic dress codes that people in American culture follow, but there is nothing wrong with breaking away from simple, everyday styles. Fashion is a perfect tool to use in expressing who you are or how you feel without having to say a single word.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Not Wearing A Bra, And 11 Other Things Girls Do That Make Guys Uncomfortable

According to men, we're the biggest enigma.

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As a woman in today's society, it seems like according to men we can do nothing right. We either get over sexualized to the point where we are told "cover up" or over sexualized to the point where we are called prude for not showing enough skin to attract the attention of the men around us. Taking all of this into consideration, guys are still grossly uncomfortable with normal things that women do in today's world. If you're a woman reading this, I'm sure you're already forming a list in your head. If you're a man, well, here are 12 things that you are uncomfortable with that you probably shouldn't be.

1. Not wearing a bra 

First and foremost, whether I cease to wear one out in public or in my home, trust me, buddy, I'm not doing it for you. I'm not doing it so you'll mention the fact that you can tell I'm not wearing one. I'm doing it for my comfort level, and most certainly not for your benefit. At all. Ever.

2. Denying their advances 

Grabbing my ass is not the correct way to ask me to move out of your way, catcalling me will not get my attention, and no, buying me a drink does not mean you automatically get laid. Not only do you look like an idiot to every woman around you with that kind of mentality, but to the girl you're trying to impress by being a pig? Yeah, she thinks you're pretty stupid, too.

I know it just kills your ego when we tell you no. How dare we make YOU feel uncomfortable by denying your lovely attempts at getting our attention.

3. Not accepting a drink they hand us

They offer you a drink, you say no, and suddenly not only are they mad on some occasions, but their poor ego is damaged indefinitely... Until they try that same move with the girl a few places down. They don't understand why you won't accept their drink that they were so nice to buy you.

Uh, you could drug me. If you want to buy me a drink, let me order it, watch the bartender make it, and then you can pay. Please don't expect me to take a drink right from you.

4. Traveling in groups to the bathroom during a girls' night out

We only do that because there is strength in numbers. If it makes you uncomfortable, sorry, but guys like you are probably the reason we do it. I don't know why our safety is any concern to you.

5. Knowing about cars, sports, or anything deemed a "guy thing"

You say one thing about a sports team or a car part and suddenly, according to men, you have no idea what you're talking about and they have to talk over you to explain it all, much better than you could. They only do this because the thought of us knowing anything about "guy stuff" makes their skin crawl.

6. Wanting careers 

How dare we want real jobs and to be paid as much as them! Silly us!

7. Thinking our place is anywhere but the kitchen 

Obviously we are meant to be of total service to the men in our lives, regardless of circumstances, right? We shouldn't have careers and hobbies when our life's purpose is to be a homemaker who slaves over the stove all day while our very masculine husbands do everything.

When will we learn? No wonder you guys are so uncomfortable. We don't know our place yet.

8. Wanting rights to our own bodies 

Uh oh, I think we forgot (again) that men are supposed to be in control of everything about us, including reproductive rights. No wonder they're so confused. They aren't always in control.

9. Not wanting kids

But wait! Isn't our only reason for being alive to mother a baby? It's a blessing to be a mom no matter what, according to men, and we need to fall in line. So, when you look a man in the eye and say you don't want kids, sometimes their eyes about pop out of their skull.

10. Having a menstrual cycle 

Men will never understand the daunting nature of our time of the month. Between cramps, headaches, and the constant desire to pop pain killers, it's grueling. To men, though, the whole thing is gross. Ew, we're bleeding. Forget about denying them anything during this time because most of them will not understand why.

11. Denying them sex of any kind, ever 

We have every right to tell you no. Listen, I know it just totally baffles you when we do, guys, but we owe you nothing. Let me say it again. We owe you nothing. No matter what.

12. Being independent 

By society's standards, even today, we are to allow a man to take care of us meek young women. You meet a man who intends to do that and by the first date when you pay for your bill he doesn't want you anymore. You want to work for your money and not depend on him, know about topics deemed "guy stuff", and stand up to him and he just doesn't understand why.

Let's face it: Guys will never understand.

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