Authenticity of Personal Style and the World Traveller Trend

A post about my struggle with the world traveller trend in relation to the popularisation of the “hipster” look. Is it more important to dress to suit your personality and interests, or to dress in what you think looks good?

Image: http://www.asos.com/

I love this world traveller look. Image: http://www.asos.com/

The authenticity amongst hipsters has had a lot of coverage on social media. “Original” “hipsters” have spent a lot of time trying to define themselves and distance themselves from the new, trendy Urban Outfitters hipsters. I can sympathise with their frustration at having their style stolen and adopted by the mainstream. Authenticity of personal style is very important to me.

The identification of subcultures through clothing is also important and I think it’s something that should be preserved. I am often tricked by this new breed of hipster.

An Original or Copy-Cat Hipster? I think I know... Image: http://www.buzzfeed.com/

An Original or Copy-Cat Hipster? Is it obvious? Image: http://www.buzzfeed.com/

Five years ago, I’d feel safe around guys with beards, plaid shirts and geeky glasses: These were the signs of someone having a mellow personality. If a bar was full of people dressed in that way, it would be a mental shortcut to knowing that the place would be pretentious, but pretty chilled. Now, if you go into any bar in a city centre in the UK, pretty much all the lary, loud lads will wearing a plaid shirt, will have a beard and will be wearing fake glasses. What signs can I look out for now?

That’s why I am so wary of participating in this “world traveller” trend.

This year I discovered that spring is my least favourite season for fashion. I want to wear whites, pastels and brights, but with my colourings, it is impossible . Dark eyes, blonde hair and pale skin (that hasn’t seen the sun in years) simply doesn’t look good in a traditional spring palette. So, naturally, I’m looking forward to the summer/autumn colours that suit me best: earthy and muted tones (in patterns).

Image: http://www.asos.com/

Would you make any assumptions about this girl based on her (beautiful) style? Image: http://www.asos.com/

In warm weather, I like to wear accessories made of natural materials, like bone and wood. My grandmother used to live in Africa and she has given me lots of jewellery and accessories over the years which I truly love and treasure. But by wearing these items with the colours discussed above, it will send out the message that I have been to Africa, which I have not.

I don’t want to dress in a way that will bring me unwanted attention and incorrect assumptions. When wearing this world traveller palette with my African accessories, I’d hate to get into a conversation with an actual developing-world traveller, who would have judged me as a like-minded soul by what I was wearing. I’d have to admit that I’ve never been to Africa and I’m only really interested in visiting the cosmopolitan cities of the world. I’d feel shallow and I’d feel like a fraud.

The clothes you wear are an important form of communication with others, and personally, I don’t want to lie with what I’m wearing. But on the other hand, would I be inauthentic if I’m not true to my own personal style and ditched the accessories and colours I love, all for the sake of other people’s judgement? Is personal style purely exogenous aesthetics or should it be a true reflection of the person underneath?

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3 thoughts on “Authenticity of Personal Style and the World Traveller Trend

  1. As we say in the Southern US…Dang! What a great and thought provoking post! I agree with you that the perceptions of those around us is based upon our outward appearances. That being the case, I think we should strive to be as authentic as possible in our style. I do think that some people just want to “fit in” and that their style -and especially by following fads/trends – seems to be a hodge podge of whatever constitutes “fitting in” at the time- even if it doesn’t call for originality. It took blogging for me to realize I do have a distinct style and that I typically purchase items that unknowingly fit with what I already have. I think you should dress in the world traveller look as much as you like – although you haven’t actually travelled to Africa, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have an interest which validates your style. Also, I love that your Grandmother passed on those pieces to you and that authenticates them as well. She felt they fit you and your personality and you should wear them with pride! Again, great post! I really enjoy reading your blog! Cortneybre…
    http://cortneybre.com

    • Wow! Thanks for this great comment!

      It’s a good point you make about some people wanting to fit in: I often forget that people feel like that because it’s so alien to me! Those types of people probably don’t see the deeper meaning behind types of clothing: they probably just see “fashionable” or “unfashionable”.

      Thanks for the support with my Grandmother’s jewellery. You’re right. And there is at least a little story that comes with the pieces. When I wear them next, hopefully I’ll feel less awkward again!

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