My Fashion Plea

I have always had OCD tendencies. I grew up in a little town in the middle of Nowhere, New Hampshire, where it snowed nine months out of the year. Having had fourteen years to perfect the art of dressing for the imminent avalanche, you’d think I’d have become a hearty mountain woman. But no amount of Campbell’s chunky hamburger soup can teach someone common sense, and I was missing that in abundance. I am probably the only person in the Milky Way who truly relishes rules. I have rules pertaining to how often I text my friends, about my workout regimen, about scheduling my work packages,  when I check my mail–my vitals would cease to function if I had no rules to govern them. I even have rules to help me dress myself. My first rule of dressing is that sixty degrees is the perfect temperature, not too hot and not too cold. In sixty-degree weather, the only sleeve that I will allow myself to wear is a three-quarter-length sleeve. For every ten degrees below sixty, another layer must be added to the ensemble. For example, at fifty degrees, long sleeves are the style. At thirty degrees, add a cardigan and a scarf. The coat comes out at twenty degrees. This plan is foolproof until actually venturing outside. On this particular occasion, the weather app predicted a temperature of sixty with wind chill at negative twenty. Obeying my rule to the dotted “i,” I was wearing three-quarter-length sleeves. My friend Alex looked at me as I shivered down the beaten path and exclaimed, “Kaitlyn, where are your clothes?” Although I have learned since that time to always carry a cardigan, dressing is still difficult in my old age. One decade ago flashy bell bottoms were the “it” item. Five years ago, painfully tight skinny jeans cut off every girl’s circulation. Now the skinny jeans are giving guys varicose veins while the girls wear the baggy pants and crop tops. The style now may not be to expose so much as it is to compose–to compose a society in which men and women are equal in dress, mannerisms, and body. “Feminine” and “masculine” are no longer appropriate terms in this transgender age, and I for one would like to bring everyone back to the fundamentals of life itself where no one can cover up and hide.  What better way than to bare our skin and truly let ourselves go? Seriously, hear me out.

Nudity benefits financially. Styles constantly change. I was usually ten years behind in my wardrobe malfunctions. I remember my mom exclaiming over the cute boyfriend jeans (which today I fawn over) and my crying because they didn’t flare out like my friends’ jeans at school. By the time I got my first pair of bell bottoms, skinny jeans had invaded the college campus. And now that I’ve finally got my skinny jeans in highlighter yellow, the streets decide that baggy sweatpants are the needed style staple. Thankfully, somebody somewhere invented outlet malls. This weekend I’m going to buy a pair of stretchy black yoga pants and bright neon sneakers so that when the style changes next week, I can spend another fortune on jockey breeches and Toms. I’m beginning to understand why I’m broke. Fashion is just a conspiracy against the would-bes in society, showing them the must-haves and draining their allowances so that they no longer can even try to become would-bes. But if all people everywhere dressed in their birthday suits, money could be spent on what really are must-haves–coffee, coffee, and–oh look, more coffee.

Nudity also benefits socially. Remember that birthday party you went to when you were five in which you were the only one who wore a Mickey-Mouse tie? or you were the only one to wear a jean jumper? Even worse, remember your high school prom when you and Nancy Claynes wore the same bubble-gum-pink chiffon princess dress and modeled the same emblazoned tiara? At least you weren’t both going with the same guy . . . or maybe you were. Imagine how much simpler life would be if everyone always wore the same outfit–namely, none? Friendships would no longer be ruined over a hat or a pair of pantaloons.

Third, nudity benefits mentally. For my high school prom, I avoided the trashy “I hate you for wearing my dress” mistake by designing and making my own. But I could not feel true peace of mind while going to the bathroom every five seconds to adjust my strapless bra. Pictures of that night reveal just how far the eel-like undergarment succeeded in slipping. I will carry the mortification with me to my grave. I remember a particular pianist in my church who one Sunday played through the entire prelude, hymn-singing time, and the offertory before realizing that her slip had fallen in a puddle at her feet on the pedals. And of course for the curvaceous female, there is the frustrating fact that no matter which size skirt she tries on, every single one shows off a glaring panty line. And in the end it really doesn’t matter who you are or which side of the BMI spectrum you fall on, you will always feel insecure about your clothing and how you look in it. Imagine the freedom of never having to worry about what fell off or what needs to be put on. Imagine the freedom that comes from wearing what is already part of you, your own skin. And now calculate how much more free thought space you will have in your brain to spare on more important matters. No more sweat stains clouding every T-shirt. No more laundry. Only free evaporation.

With this newly found freedom, nudity will obviously benefit emotionally. The truth is that clothes make people forget the truth. The truth is that all people are naked. All people are nothing but sagging bags of bones and flesh and mortality waiting for a chance to prove itself. Clothes make us forget. Clothes distract us. Shopping distracts us. Boys distract us. And then we go out and buy more clothes in an effort to get noticed by Mr. Bag of Flesh. Remembering our own mortality would benefit the world at large. Naked people would not be nearly as apt to cause and fight world wars when seeing themselves clearly for what they are. They would feel less need to fight. They would recognize their equality to all human flesh. After all, all people are naked people. This concept was neatly discussed in Debbie Reynold’s film Tammy and the Bachelor; I’m simply taking the concept and applying it in actuality.

Increased awareness would enable nudity to benefit healthfully. Clothes cover a multitude of sins–in my case, namely my lack of abs. Does not having abs bother me? Not really. I can wear ruffled shirts. I can wear bulky sweaters. I haven’t exercised in over six months, and I’m proud of it. But if I were to walk around naked, there would be nothing to hide behind. All of me would be exposed to the world. Suddenly my desire to go to the gym would skyrocket, and my evening meals consisting of ice cream and hot chocolate would vanish. I have no doubt those abs would soon appear, replacing the fresh cellulite that appeared with my latest bowl of mashed potatoes.

Because of its inherent inability to hide, nudity benefits spiritually. The psychology of being unable to run away or cover up the outward appearance would undoubtedly lead to the recognition that no one can hide what is lying latent beneath the surface. One of the biggest detriments in society today is the tendency to focus only on the outside, ignoring the inside. And as the old saying “Beauty is only skin deep” incorrectly assumes, what is inside will eventually come out. The first humans on earth knew the benefits of focusing on the inner life. They were perfect; they were naked and were not ashamed. The style today is not so much to reveal but to cover up–to cover up our differences and perform as equals. Women dress like men and men dress like women. I am definitely in favor of equality; I’m a strong woman and not afraid to admit it. That equality does not diminish with nudity; if anything, the trait is enhanced.  But it is made even more beautiful when that equality still celebrates itself in the obvious differences between male and female that can no longer be covered up. The old fashioned spend much of their time tittering about the scandalous dress of youth today: plunging necklines, form-fitting dresses, revealing slits, and see-through lace. But if everyone reveals everything, all the scandal is remitted.

There you have it. People have worn clothes for eons. The fashion and clothing industries make oodles of  money annually off the vanity of the general public. The stress of needing to be in style, of desiring class and good taste, of wanting to attract the person of the hour can lead to shopping addictions. Don’t believe me? Watch Confessions of a Shopaholic. Financially, socially, mentally, and emotionally the benefits of nudity far outweigh the negatives. Nudity is also a huge benefit to people’s healthful and spiritual faculties by removing the unnecessary and giving way to only the most important. Do I believe that people will truly begin to walk around in the nude? Of course not. Do I wish it? Not in my current ab-less state. Give me six months at the gym. Then perhaps I will start this new fad.

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