Without Fashion, Without Style

…. I say in my most “fashionable” outfit of two years. Yes, vests make me feel fashionable. 
The lip ring and slave collar might be gone, but that is only because I learned about the world of D/s that exists beyond fashion. 


A jean skirt used as a belt over a pair of jeans and a scarf as a belt? Yeah, that made sense to me… 

Another Burning Man is rapidly approaching, and about to just fly by without me. Strangely enough, I could probably do without the debauchery this year, and the really large scale art sounds nice but unnecessary. What I really miss are the costumes.

For those of you who knew me back in the day of festivals and camp outs, you might be a little shocked to hear me say that I miss the costumes. After all, I was the girl who packed less than a small backpack of costumes and ended up naked by the end of the first day, only to begrudgingly put my clothes back on during exodus. Well, except for the occasional belt that I claimed was a skirt, and the coat or robe. You gotta have a coat or robe.

But yeah, honestly, I would love a reason to dress up.

I have never been particularly fashionable. Jeans, long hippie skirts, and tiny tops covered by oversized button ups have been my thing since high school. Not much has changed in 10 years. Except, it has. Sometime over the past four years of living in Bulgaria I lost the idea that clothing is meant to be fun, which is strange, because those of you who have been here know that the girls love dressing up. Strolling down the street at 2pm in 2am club wear? No one bats an eye. How many times have I lamented leaving my blue jean Baby Phat jumpsuit in the states? And yet, would I wear it here?

In high school, college, and San Francisco, I had a certain style about me. I never cared about impressing people. I never cared about fitting in. I never checked my outfit against magazines and I never followed trends. However, I definitely cared how I looked. I used to take half an hour or an hour to get dressed before going out to a club or on a date. It wasn’t to be attractive. I wasn’t trying to attract. But I definitely wanted to fit a fun, symbolic, aesthetically pleasing image. I wanted to impress myself.

Which meant eyeliner but not coverup. Occasionally a third eye, and sometimes lipstick. Not everyday. Not as an expression of who I was, but for fun.

It meant ripped jeans that were comfortable and 8 inch boots that weren’t.

It meant chains and bullet belts. Peircings. Tattoos.

That exploration of appearance was fun. I loved using my body as a canvas.

Then I joined SCC and moved back to Tucson. I traded in my stilettos for work boots and my tank tops for t-shirts. But I kept a light, hippie fashion on my off days. I was one of the few girls that brought a skirt to wear every day after skirt, only because a skirt let me feel naked and free after a day of getting trail stuck to carhartts. I still kept my makeup for the occasional festival or trip to a night club, although nothing was as extravagant as my style in San Francisco. I also still kept my dreads even though I let my mohawk grow out.

Then I got my acceptance letter to the Peace Corps. With it came the warning about piercings, tattoos, and alternative hairstyles. Business casual. I had NEVER, in my life been business casual.

I made sure my tattoos were covered all of training.

I took business skirts and slacks and lived in a nine west wardrobe for three months. Of course, I had my little bits of rebellion:

Like the striped socks at our swearing in ceremony.

But as the years progressed, and I found myself working with older women and not around anyone I wanted to date, I found my sense of style fading. Comfort took over.

Yoga pants. Workout clothes. Sure, there were still jeans and vests occasionally, and a newfound adoration of scarves, but it was nothing like San Francisco. Make up faded completely.

My desire for style made a resurgence around our close of service, when I chopped off my hair and dyed it platinum blonde, followed by bits of blues and purple and green:

 Then, I got married. I got pregnant. I lived at my husband’s parent’s house on the outskirts of town, with little public transportation. I would go days, and even weeks without seeing anyone besides my extended family. As I got too big for my clothes I found it didn’t matter. Naked. Comfortable. Anything that fit.

Now that clothes are starting to fit me again, I am finding it really difficult to get back into “style,” let alone fashion. I find that I have no one to impress. My husband likes me in anything, and most of all likes me in nothing. Similarly, my son’s only preference is clothing with quick access to the breasts. Beyond that, I find that I no longer have a social circle to bounce style off of.

I guess, as much as I thought I didn’t care about how I looked, I did care what other people thought. I found style to be a creative outlet. I didn’t want to talk to strangers, but I did want them to look at my flowing skirts and stompy boots. Now, having no one that cares what I wear, I find that I can’t bring myself to care. And I strangely miss it.

I miss it because it used to be a way of defining myself. It used to be a way of creating boundaries. It used to be an exploration in symbolism. It used to be an art. (Okay, maybe that final one goes too far.) Now, it is a chore.

I need a jumpstart. A festival would be just the thing. Maybe I should ditch the every so slowly forming dreads and get a hair cut… maybe I need a fashion backwards friend to play with. Maybe I need to find somewhere to work or volunteer or play so I am seeing more than the two cuddly, naked-loving boys in my life every day… maybe I need to need fashion.

Or, you know, a costume party.

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