Effort vs. Effortlessness

I was thinking about Rebecca aka The Clothes Horse’s post about the tendency for people to aspire to have “effortless” style. I agree that it is in stark contrast to previous eras, especially the Victorian era when women wore three or four couture ensembles a day. Looking good was a matter of honor and social importance once upon a time. Nowadays, people spend hundreds of dollars for designer clothes that mimic the “style” of blue collar workers. I used to work at a place where people paid $100+ for jeans that looked like my dad’s work jeans: covered in paint, ripped, stained, frayed. It boggled my mind. Why didn’t they just go work while wearing a pair of jeans and eventually those jeans would show the wear and tear they had accumulated themselves. Alas, it is not cool to actually mess up your jeans doing manual labor; it’s only cool to be seen walking around the mall in those kinds of jeans. Of course. Of course.

Sometimes I spend half an hour trying on clothes until I find an outfit that I like for the day. Sometimes I pick out my clothes the night before. Sometimes I want to wear something specific on that day for whatever reason and pull other clothes and accessories to match. Sometimes I roll out of bed and throw on clothes as quickly as possible so that I won’t be late to wherever I need to go.

This is what I have noticed over time: more and more often, I am looking extremely well put together. I think it comes from paying attention to what proportions look good on me, such as tucked in tops when I wear my tulle skirt because it’s not quite a full length skirt and I usually wear flats. I rarely shop for clothing anymore, so I know my wardrobe very well. I repeat outfits or combinations. It is my personal opinion that the more well-versed you are in your tastes and your inventory (that is, your wardrobe and various accessories), the more effortless your style becomes.

I think that when you get to the point where you don’t even have to think about what you put on anymore and you feel absolutely comfortable in it; that is what some people mean by effortlessness. However, as noted in comments on Rebecca’s post, there is such a marketed desire to become or appear effortless that it actually takes longer to do so! It brings to mind a quote by Katherine Hepburn, I think, to another actress about how they spent longer getting dressed in menswear clothing and appearing casual in it than their fellow actresses who wore the expected women’s fashion of the day. Sometimes it’s simple to be mainstream, hah.

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