Lauren McLaughlin in praise of fashion. Sing it, Lauren!
Regarding fashion being shallow. This is a prejudice I find maddeningly overrepresented in the spec fic community. Fashion is an art form and the wearing of fashion is something everyone does every day (unless you’re a nudist). Even people who think they don’t care about fashion make choices about what they wear. Fashionistas (a term often used derogatorily) are merely people who take pleasure in the clothing choices that others skim over, much as foodies take a greater interest in what they eat.
This reminds me of a friend of mine being (verbally) attacked by an earnest young man (e.y.m.) at a party. She was (and is) gorgeous and has always enjoyed playing with fashion, is always well attired, with fabulous make-up and hair. He accused her of dressing to please men. How long, he wanted to know did she spend on such a high-maintenance look? Shouldn’t she be doing better things with her time? Why was it so important to her to have men admire her? Weren’t there more important things in life?
Reader, my friend demolished him. She smiled and pointed out to the e.y.m. that his look wasn’t exactly low maintenance. How long did it take him to shave his head? He opened his mouth, goggled, closed it again. If he cared so little about fashion, she continued, why was he wearing fashionable jeans and a black T-shirt? And trendy workman’s boots? Clearly he was dressing to pick up inner-city chicks. He stammered some more, claimed he chose them because they were comfortable. She countered that if he truly gave no thought to clothes or his appearance he would simply buy whatever was closest and cheapest. She happened to know the jeans he was wearing were only availlable at two different shops and were not exactly cheap. Why not wear no-name brand jeans?
As Lauren says most everyone thinks about clothes and what they’re wearing and what other people will think of them because of their choices. Fashion is a very big deal. Often people can tell how rich or poor you are from what you wear, they form an opinion of your education and politics (though they can be very very wrong), they can decide not to let you into a club, or talk to you, or give you a job because of what you’re wearing. Fashion is a deadly serious (and excellently entertaining) and far-reaching part of all our lives. It is definitely not a trivial matter to write or think about.