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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What's the Role of Fashion to One's Happiness?


"Gucci, Prada, Armani, Louis Vuitton, Mont Blanc, Hermes, Versace, Dolce & Gabanna, Calvin Klein, Diesel, Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, Lhuillier, Vera Wang, Ferragamo, Burberry, FCUK, etc..  Some people are just obsessed with brand names.  The billion-dollar fashion industry is largely dictated by these giant fashion houses.  Is there any clear cut relation between fashion and a person's happiness?"

I posted this question in a forum where technologists, educators, and designers among others share their worthwhile ideas and opinions.  It received a fair amount of comments.  I had a good conversation with one commenter who has a good fashion sense, so to speak.  Check out our conversation below:

COMMENTER:
If I'm dressed, I'm happy.

When I was younger you could go to an Atellier and have any outfit made to your specifications, your color, your perfect body contour. I even went to University with someone who made all her clothes. She always dressed liked she had stepped out of a fashion magazine. I was happy seeing that someone had that kind of talent.

Brand names are a big deal, because women do not sew any more.

But, if they had connections to a seamstress, they would find that the blouse being sold at Nordstrom's for $650 could just as easily be made by a neighbor for $30 (if the neighbor is a seamstress).

Afterall, who sews all those designer outfits..........surely not the designer, or the owner of the actual fashion house ay?

As quality gets lower and lower, you will probably find that people will 1, learn to sew or 2, find ways to invest in good quality clothing or 3, ______________________ (haven't any idea).

Your question is a great one, and there are many layers to it.

Let's see what others have to say.

[hopefully someone will address the psychological effect of buying expensive outfits, and/or materialism]

LIFESTYLECHECK101:
I can totally relate to what you are saying. My grandma and grandpa owns a tailoring shop back in the 70's. She designs and he cuts the patterns. My aunt plays the model. She would always go to work wearing seemingly haute couture. Yes, I felt happy that my aunt looks very beautiful in her dresses and happy that my grandma is so talented. I have always taught that she's a genius for creating very beautiful dresses out of nothing. They closed shop in the 80's and migrated to the U.S.

It must be the feeling of wearing something unique. You feel special. This raises your confidence level. People praise you and then you feel proud and probably happy!

Brand names provide you the same feeling I guess. You feel special by wearing clothes designed by famous designers. Because the clothes of these designers are not cheap, only a select few who can afford them gets to wear them. It then becomes a status symbol. I guess this feeds the ego. Perhaps happiness is derived from such. But is that wrong? Is that being materialistic?

COMMENTER:
Self-esteem surely goes up when one feels confident.  Dressing in an outfit that makes you feel good, regardless of the designer or price is a good idea.  What I personally find, for me anyways, is that it is not necessary to spend the money on designer clothes.  I like to give meaning to my belongings, I do not let my belongings define me.I don't buy the "in" anything.......I guess I am not a follower.  I am me.  Thanks for the reply.......wish I could sew my own clothes......about the only thing I have managed to sew are clothes for dolls, kitchen curtains, and taking pants that no longer fit my kids and turning them into shorts.........are you following your family's roots in tailoring?

LIETSYLECHECK101:
I see your point especially on the part of giving meaning to your belongings.  I am the same.  I also do not buy the "in" thing.  I must confess however, that I find those designer items "value for money" since they have a certain high level of quality (but not all as I experienced money down the drain for some designer items that I thought would last a little longer).  My nana always tell me to look for the best quality my money can buy.  Best quality surely is pricey.

Nobody from our family learned the tailoring trade.  I think I acquired however, my nana's creative prowess.  I design and create artisan jewelry on the side whenever time permits. I also design in my real job.  Although designing online transaction processing systems and mission critical applications do not require much creativity...

COMMENTER:
I am all for quality versus quantity.  It's better to spend $100 on a great pair of leather shoes that will last 3-5 years, than $20 on a pair that will last 3 months.  But that's me.

And, just yesterday in the news, they did a bit on Yves St Laurent.  This woman who purchased designer YSL pieces back in the 1960's STILL has them!!!  And, still used them.....because they are classics.......never go out of style.  She lent part of her collection to Nordstrom department stores and they have it on display.

That is another positive side to buying designer clothing that is made using classical lines.  When I was younger, these were the kinds of pieces I invested in. I still have some of them....

LIFESTYLECHECK101:
I 100% agree. I have these pair of Cavalli pants that's 10 years now and an Armani suit that's more than 5 years now.  All of them still look good and fab!  I can't wear them now because i got bigger.  Ha-ha-ha.  I have to shrink down to fit in them again.  Come to think of it, such is a motivation... ah, one fringe benefit of fashion, don't you think?

CONCLUSION:
Fashion does play a role in a person's happiness.  There is a relationship between fashion and happiness.  As to how big, or how little its effects depends on the person's perception of fashion - his or her idea and known scope of fashion, and actual experiences with fashion.  I agree with another commenter who had put things in proper perspective.  She said, "it is essential to be comfortable in your own skin to also be truly happy.".

How about you?   What's your take on fashion and happiness?

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