Fashion

Postmodern Fashion Resists Tradition

Postmodern Fashion

(Photo Credit: Postmodern Gentleman)

If one desires to stay in harmony with postmodern fashion, then he or she cannot be beholden to traditional matching strategies. In Postmodernism or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, Fredric Jameson (1991) posits that we reside in a historical epoch where fragmentation is celebrated in virtually every area of life. Fashion is not exempt from this celebration of fragmentation. One of the most vivid ways we see this fragmentation in fashion is in how people intentionally pair colors that have traditionally been considered inappropriate. For example, a man may have on a purple shirt, burnt orange jeans and brown shoes. While those colors may seem to compose a disjointed outfit, postmodern fashion finds value in challenging traditional color schemes and aesthetics.

Home décor is a serious dimension of postmodern fashion. Just as it’s common to see a resistance to traditional color schemes in the clothing postmodern people wear, we find this similar phenomenon in home décor. A homeowner can have a dominant color scheme of brown in his or her living room, but can have a stylish red chair in the corner of the room to disrupt the monotony of the central color scheme. People often refer to this as adding a “pop of color.” Postmodern fashion views this fragmented “pop of color” as a beautiful contribution to one’s living room or outfit.

Although the postmodern impulse opposes more conservative color schemes and fashion styles, one should not feel compelled to conform to these schemes and styles. One’s style of dress and home décor can still look appealing and creative without embracing many of the elements of postmodern fashion that can reflect a lack of maturity. Even though postmodern fashion strives to efface the traditional notion of “tacky,” you and your home can still be quite tacky—if you succumb to many of the pressures of postmodernism.

Being self-absorbed is a dominant characteristic of postmodernism, and one of the most crippling results of being self-absorbed is a failure to have a felicitous appreciation for history. While postmodern fashion gurus see themselves as creating “novel fashion,” they’re really not producing anything new at all. Jameson (1991) has asserted that what numerous postmodern artists, including fashion gurus, do is recycle styles, traditions, and art from the past in simplistic and random ways. You should, therefore, embrace only those elements of postmodern fashion that are useful and concatenate them with elements of the past to generate truly productive fashion styles and strategies.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Develop Your Own Fashion Style

Andre 3000

(Photo Credit: BET)

Let your fashion style come from within.  Don’t look to others about how you should dress.  You already have the answer inside of you.  While it’s okay to draw inspiration from the way others dress, your fashion style should represent who you are; therefore, it’s going to have true originality.  The fundamental way to destroy the originality of your fashion style is to copy others and/or idolize the fashion styles of others.  You will end up looking like a cheap copy of others, and those folks you’re copying and/or idolizing could simply be cheap copies of others.  Do you see how the chain of cheap copies begins and persists?

It’s important to understand that simply dressing “weird” and making a painstakingly ridiculous effort to be “different” from everyone else isn’t being original.  Again, let your fashion style emerge naturally from within.  For ladies who take Lady Gaga as your model for dressing “different,” Gaga’s radical fashion will have you looking like a person who attempts to dress like her; ultimately, you will have a foolish appearance. It’s okay to draw inspiration from Lady Gaga but don’t strive to dress just like her.  For guys who take Andre 3000 as your model for dressing “different,” you’re going to look silly if you try to dress just like him.  His fashion style represents what comes natural for him.  What’s natural for him isn’t going to be natural for you—you’re two different people.

When it comes having a fashion style that represents you, less may be more.  Pharrell Williams’ fashion style offers a great example of less is more. Yeah, he may choose a hat to wear that catches your attention, but no one said that less is more had to be boring.

People who truly feel they dress well don’t go around flaunting it either.  They simply walk with confidence and grace about how they look.  Never do they feel the need to disclose with you the large amount of money they paid for their clothing and accessories, and never do they launch attacks on others about the way they dress.  People who have their own unique fashion styles don’t go around acting as if they’re God’s gifts to fashion or the fashion industry, and they don’t go around acting like they should be fashion teachers.

Stop fawning over the way other people dress and get more in tune with the fashion style that’s best for you. What you have on should never wear you; you should be wearing it.  Unfortunately, many people who choose to dress in “innovative” ways have on things that are wearing them.  These people often are seeking to draw attention to themselves, but they never seem to contemplate the truth behind the reactions they receive from people. While many people will give you praise in your face about what you have on, behind your back they’re exposing you for how foolish you’ve consciously decided to make yourself look.

You must understand the importance of being yourself when it comes to what you wear.  What you wear should provide a true snapshot of the person you are.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Whoopi Goldberg’s Anti-Fashion Look

Whoopi Goldberg

(Photo Credit: Black Film)

On ABC’s The View, Whoopi Goldberg shares with television viewers her unique fashion style.  It seems that her fashion style resists hegemonic American fashion expectations.  An American woman has to confront societal fashion norms: she is expected to dress in appealing and feminine ways.  To be honest, Goldberg always looks sloppy and like she’s just lounging around her home or ready for bed. The thought that she simply does not know how to dress in an attractive and professional manner would not be reflective of perspicacious thinking, however.  Goldberg is a smart and highly accomplished.  She’s also very interested in politics and making political statements.  With this in mind, it does not appear sagacious to divorce her politics from her fashion (or anti-fashion) style.

Even before Whoopi Goldberg joined The View, she was not interested in the politics of respectability, that is, politics that asserts that one must look and act a certain way.  She’s unafraid to be herself.  In an America where assimilation and duplicity are increasingly becoming more embraced, Goldberg’s conspicuous commitment to being herself is refreshing and should be commended.  Although your view of what she should wear as a professional may not align with her idea, it’s vital to understand that you should not attempt to impose your view on her.  Dress how you want to dress and let her enjoy the same freedom.

When you see Goldberg in clothing that is noticeably loose-fitting, do you ever consider that one of the primary motivations behind her fashion choices is comfort?  Is it too unbearable to contemplate a person resisting both traditional and postmodern fashion styles?

What Whoopi Goldberg wears does not have an impact on how well she’s able to do her job.  If Goldberg started dressing like Oprah, would this change how well she’s able to do her job?  No!

Although, as previously mentioned, I believe that the way she dresses is sloppy and looks like she’s lounging around at home or ready for bed, I have no desire for her to change the way she wants to dress.  I also have no longing to impose my fashion style on her.  Fashion gives one an opportunity to express his or her individuality, and we all should respect Goldberg’s expression of her individuality through her fashion style.  Additionally, as previously mentioned, we might find it useful to consider the political statement(s) her fashion style divulges.

Let Whoopi simply be Whoopi.

Have you ever had an experience with someone who has tried to impose his or her fashion style on you?  Do you believe there is a certain way that those who are on television should dress?  Does the way Whoopi Goldberg dress bother you?

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Parents Get Your Kids Some New Clothes For School If You Can


As the new school year begins for students situated in K-12, I would like to let parents know that one of their most important priorities should be to purchase their children some new name brand clothes for the upcoming school year. Although I know that the primary concern of great parents is to make sure that their children have all the necessary supplies and books required for their academic success, I would just like you to know that your children have another barrier to their academic success: their clothing. When students come to schools, they can face serious ridicule for not having on some of the latest fashions or some name brand clothes. While I’m at it, let me go ahead and tell you to make sure that you get them some name brand shoes too.

When your children arrive at school, they do not only face the fear of being critiqued negatively by their teachers on their assignments, but also experience a fear of a harsher critique: the critique of their clothing by their peers. Now, parents you can say that this is not an important issue that you need to concerned about with your children, but I have had the opportunity to witness how children were picked at about their clothing when I was in school and even now from my interactions with various K – 12 schools. Although I was fortunate to have parents who could afford to buy me the lastest fashions and shoes, many of my classmates were not able to do so. If you don’t have that much money to buy your children a bunch of new name brand clothes, then make sure that you try to make a sacrifice and purchase them one or two namebrand outfits that will help them to make a positive statement, and this will help them to combat negative peer criticisms about their clothing.

Even here at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I have people who try to hate on me about my clothing because I have the money to dress nice whenever I feel like it, and they are mad because they work so hard to dress nicely everyday but don’t have the money to do it. Because these people lack the money to try to meet their high fashion desires for their everyday wear, for which they don’t have the money to do, they end up putting on wild and crazy stuff to get attention and to compensate for the fact that they don’t have the money to dress in high fashions everyday. When I do elect to dress nicely in expensive name brand clothing, they hate on me by saying that my clothes are average or forgettable. Lol! Now, parents just imagine if I face this as a grown man, just picture what your child goes through during their K – 12 experience.

I know that we are experiencing tremendously tough economic times, but I would encourage you to make a sacrifice for your children and try to purchase them at least one or two new name brand outfits for school. You might even just try to buy them a pair of name brand shoes so that they can at least wear them everyday. I know you are probably saying that I am focusing too much on your child’s clothing, but I can tell you that it will make a world of difference in their academic achievement if you would make some sacrifices for them to let them wear some name brand clothing. They face great peer pressure and attacks at school about many things, including what they wear. By investing in name brand clothing for them, you can make a significant difference in their lives.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison