• Peyton Bell posted an update 2 weeks, 2 days ago

    Henry David Thoreau’s criticism of the social prioritization of fashion above the content of one’s character is surely a fittingly biting remark against the most superficial of today’s dressers, but it unfairly chastises the vast majority of the population who simply enjoy feeling appropriately dressed for the occasion of daily life. The claim that we are “led oftener by the love of novelty” and a “regard for the opinions of men” than by any real necessity when it comes to clothes is surely a convicting statement for individuals who care solely about the quality of one’s appearance rather than that of one’s soul (Thoreau 19). However, what these remarks do not sufficiently justify is the villainization of desiring to appear put-together in the eyes of one’s fellow man. There is a dignity one earns in respecting one’s company enough to dress well. This pursuit does aim to achieve social approval, but it is not a sin to seek appreciation from others. Lastly, while Thoreau believes the need to create new and improved outfits is a waste of time and money, or a “childish and savage taste for new patterns,” I uphold that clothes can be a fun and diverting method of expressing oneself (Thoreau 21). So long as one remembers his or her inner self should far outweigh the outer, I believe it is perfectly permissible to take joy in arraying oneself in a manner that makes him or her feel confident. Especially in the society of today which praises individualism and creativity, fashion can become as elevated an art form as painting or photography. Does the painter wish for his audience to like his art? Certainly, for which he is never blamed. Therefore, we should extend the same understanding towards those who dress according to their desire to express themselves in an artistic way.