Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fashion is Danger

I finally put my finger on the difference between what I wear and what emo kids, gay guys, and metrosexuals of BYU campus wear. In my drawer at home there is a neatly folded and stacked (thank you, Shayla) pile of t-shirts. Tucked behind them (because it's still summer) there are some long-sleeved shirts. In the next drawer down there is a jumbled mess of jeans and shorts (not a nice pile because for some reason I always pick from the bottom and Shayla is probably tired of keeping me organized). On any given day I can pick a t-shirt from the top and a pair of jeans from the bottom and I'm out the door. My clothing is completely interchangeable. With few exceptions (black jeans and a black shirt, since it's so disgustingly hot outside) I can wear any combination of shirts and jeans/shorts that are in my built-into-the-wall dresser. Interchangeable clothing. I wonder if this is how Henry Ford came up with the idea of interchangeable parts that revolutionized the manufacturing industry. Maybe not.

Anyway, my point is that I don't own any "outfits." Besides the suit I wear to church, which has only interchangeable ties, I don't own a set of clothing that "goes together", that can't be worn without limiting what can be worn with it. As gender lines get a little more blurry on TV and on BYU campus you often see a guy (I use the term loosely) wearing what can only be called an "outfit." Tight jeans, pink shirt with popped collar, light blue track jacket with "Superstar" written on the back in glitter, aviator sunglasses, green scarf (even though it's 87 degrees in the shade), pink shoes, and sparkly studded belt. Now, I'm not totally ignorant about fashion. I know there are colors that don't match, I know that you don't wear a brown belt with black shoes, and I don't wear my steel-toe boots with shorts. But as a man or guy or whatever, I don't see the appeal of wearing outfits. That has historically been the realm of women. To a straight man, an outfit is limiting, counterproductive, inefficient, wasteful, and useless. My purpose for wearing clothes is to cover my body, not to make a statement, show that I really like a certain color, attract other men, or imitate American Idol contestants. Call me old-fashioned.

Isn't there something wrong with this? Why is it not acceptable to have a manly, lumberjack beard at BYU while it is acceptable to wear women's clothing? Sure, they might not have come from the women's section of the store, but no matter how you cut that cake tight jeans and glitter are still feminine. If I went into the Honor Code office with a neatly trimmed goatee I would probably get some kind of warning. But if I went in dressed like the aforementioned emo dude they would probably not bat an eye. Is it a stretch to say that clothing retailers, and by extension popular fashion, are dictating what is and is not acceptable under the BYU Honor Code? I think we could clear up all of this confusion by adding the words "interchangeable clothing" into the Appearance section.

I don't know how this turned into a discussion about the Honor Code. When I think about the Honor Code I mostly focus on the no-facial-hair rule (and automatically have bad feeling about it), when most of it is sound doctrine that we would all be better off living by.

By the way, the title of this post is borrowed from a "Flight of the Conchords" song.

1 comment:

  1. "You know what else really grinds my gears? When I can't find the droids I'm looking for."

    "Yeah, what gives with that?"