Goals for 2100: Loyalty to Fashion Heritage


The accepted idea, from time immemorial, seems to have been that you should not dress like you want to dress; you should dress like everyone else wants you to dress.  So if, for example, you were raised in a time and place where it was normal to wear a double-breasted suit or a rope tie, you should not do that anymore if you find yourself in another time or place — not, that is, unless you are trying to make some kind of statement, and you are comfortable with people staring at you.  Instead, you should dress like everyone else dresses.  Likewise with the way you cut your hair and even the words you use to express yourself.

It could be more interesting, possibly less expensive, and, for many, easier and more gratifying to be able to dress as you see fit.  So if, for example, you think hippie beads, a long beard, and a tie-dyed T-shirt really express who you are, or if you think you look your best with a beehive hairdo, it should be OK for you to adopt that look until you’re ready for something else.

An insistence upon uniformity of appearance rewards those who do the best job of copying other people, and punishes those who see or think creatively.  Some people do medieval or Renaissance re-enactments, or they study Latin, and in those specialized context it may be OK for them to use words or wear clothing from the period; but maybe they would sometimes like to bring a bit of that into their daily lives.  Our world would be richer if we were more freely exposed to clothing — and, for that matter, ideas — from other present and past (and imagined future) cultures that more accurately reflect how we think or feel on a given day.

One way of phrasing this goal is to point out that, as we have become more tolerant of differences among people, we have removed ways of making them feel bad, and have instead improved their chances of feeling accepted for who they are.  It turns out that who they are is much more complex and interesting than previous generations realized.  They are apt to be happier and more productive, and less likely to fall into depression, sabotage other people’s relationships or careers, or shoot up the Post Office, if we accept them regardless of body size or shape, color of skin, and so forth.  This proposal merely takes that realization into the realm of fashion and style.


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