Thursday, May 28, 2015

Redefining "Mature"

So I know it's been a pretty slow months as far as updates go. I'm not going to lie, between wedding planning (and all the awesome DIY crafts that go along with it), gearing up for NaNoWriMo and preparing for summer at work (our busiest season), Lolita simply hasn't been on the forefront of my mind.

Well, sort of.

I feel like Lolita is so intrinsically tied into my personal sense of fashion, that even when I'm dressing like a normie, the cute, beautiful aspects of this niche fashion always manages to bleed through. And that's not always a good thing. 

As the days constantly speed on by and I'm approaching such a huge turning point in my life, it's becoming more and more evident that I'm an adult now, and with that requires specific obligations-including my wardrobe. I'm sure a lot of 20-somethings can relate. We're too old to dress like we're still in high school, but not really ready to turn it all in for practical shoes and black pencil skirts. Even more so, I feel like we're a part of a generation that really values self expression, embracing our quirks and shamelessly flaunting our individuality. But how does that all tie into projecting a mature, confident adult image?

Through my travels on in the internet and research into what exactly makes up a respectable, adult-worthy closet, I find I usually come upon something that looks a little like this:

Essentials for an Adult Wardrobe

1. A black, simple blazer

2. A pair of perfectly tailored skinny jeans/boyfriend jeans/bootcut jeans/insert whatever type of jeans are popular at the time of the publication

3. A simple scoopneck white t-shirt and or/a white button up blouse (of the single pocket, pointy collared variety)

4. A classic LBD

5. A jean jacket

Hmmmm.  I'm seeing an unsurprising lack of mentioning of anything remotely, well, frilly.

Okay, I get it. These really ARE the staples of a classic, timeless wardrobe and I won't dispute that. But what about the person wearing these clothes? What about someone like me who abhors pants of any style, fit or fabric and only owns one pair of jeans for farm work? Or additionally hates jeans on any garment, including the beloved jean jacket? Or who strictly wears t-shirts only for sleeping?

I can very easily gather a wardrobe like all the guidelines suggest. I can dress like a traditional grown up if a really wanted to. But that's just it-why are adults only allowed to fall within such a narrow definition to be considered mature? Why are details like lace, pastels and delicate fabrics treated with such disdain, and when included only so with the cautionary reminder to mix it up with something "masculine" like a jean or leather jacket and chunkier jewelry? Why is any outfit that is completely and 100% made up of traditional "feminine" elements viewed with such negativity?

I don't really have the answers to any of the questions. I know that somewhere in there part of the reason is lodged in (America's anyway) deep-rooted cultural mindset that traditional femininity is viewed as weaker or less than masculine traits. These sexist views are changing, but they have been so for many decades and these beliefs aren't just going to go away simply because I want to wear a bow in my hair and not be viewed as someone with a child complex. 

So how does one exactly balance the external with the internal? How do I portray to the rest of the world that I'm a capable, mature adult while still staying true to myself and the person I want to be? I refuse to believe that growing up means letting go of the imagination, creativity and romanticism that fueled me in my younger years and continues to yearn to be expressed on the outside.

I feel like this struggle is one that I am going to continue to battle for the rest of my life. It's a delicate balance, one I've touched on more than once before and still don't have the answer to.  Somewhere in there I'm sure the answer lies in self confidence of some sort, but until I find that holy grail, I will continue on my search.


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