On Untimely Timelessness
By Ryan Wallace
“Regrets collect like old friends; Here to relive your darkest moments.” — Florence and the Machine
I don’t know whether it was the quote itself that inspired the thought, or the endless margaritas of Cinco de Mayo and the two weeks of arguing for the sake of fashion, but it finally hit me that fashion is more like relationships than I had originally thought.
It’s not simply to justify my argument that this idea came about, but rather how this ingenious notion came to be. A few weeks ago, inspired by the words of my fashionable colleague, Natasha Aftandilians, I started to question what it is that we as fashion writers really say aside from a never-ending slew of opinionated jargon, which is honestly as convoluted as possible. I could only come up with one other thing: LIES.
Now this isn’t to say that my fellow writers or I ever put pen to paper with the intent of being disingenuous or deceitful, but when it comes to objectivity we are at times lacking. It’s hard to play Devil’s advocate, especially about something as touchy as fashion, but it raises the most interesting responses.
A few weeks ago, a column was published about essential staples for every wardrobe; it was very well-written and insightful, introducing not only personal experience but also some great advice. Aside from personal aesthetics, leading me to question some of the choices of the author, the part of the article that struck me most was the notion of “Timelessness.” At first I was irritated, then appalled at the notion that fashion could ever be considered “timeless.”
There are staples, but they are not necessarily “timeless.” The “flights of fancy” not only bring us some of the most inventive, and albeit ridiculous trends, but also help define the era in which we live. Even something as simple as a little black dress changes with the decades. The cut, the fabrics, the hemline, the seaming; they all change. Fashion is not static, and thus is not timeless; it merely presents favoritism toward certain accessories.
But how dare I justify this with relationships? No, not because my clothes are my only friends! But rather because clothing is like an extension of you, like a best friend. That pair of Rainbow sandals are like that bestie that you never go on a road trip without. They see all of the crap that you step on in this messy road called life!
But just like everything else, that relationship has an expiration date … and one day you might get a text that says, “You’d be better off with someone else!” That’s like the end of a season. They’re good while they last, and you will always have fond memories of it, but it has to end.
Nothing is timeless. I know, it’s a cynical point of view but I feel it best not to lie. And, like with relationships, some more than others, you will find that with fashion you have regrets: pieces you should have never bought, let alone worn. But these regrets and memories help us grow, much like the end of a relationship.
No relationship can last forever, let’s face it; at the very least it stops short with death. And thus, no relationships are timeless and fashion isn’t either. You can hold onto a memory of them, and cry into your pillow when they’re gone, but from that pain something springs eternal: hope. Your relationship may end and, although you may never find another again (like the tragic parachute pants of the ’80s), if you do, it will never be the same. It will be a new relationship; different in some way, hopefully for the better.
And thus I want to bring that hope to you. Don’t be fooled into thinking that things won’t come to an end; you will most certainly continue to “relive your darkest moments” if you deny that everything must end. Things will end, but embrace them like the seasons; take them in stride. One day spring may come again, and your relationship may arise from the ashes of the former, but don’t corrupt it with a tainted memory of the past. Embrace the trends of the moment — who knows when you will have to part or how long it will be before you find another again!