I realized something this morning. Walking home from a friend's apartment--got in around 3:30 and woke up around 12--I was in a kind of woozy blur. Not a hangover (I slept through it), but that post-hangover euphoria where everything is slow-moving and forgettable.
Everyone has a look in Austin, Texas. The sorority chicks at AEPhi have a look: Nike running shorts and a longhorn sweater with tights and Uggs. My friend Christie has a look: Holly Golightly with a bit of Gwyneth Paltrow. Hell, even the homeless population in Austin have a "look."
And "look" is not just a way of dressing; it's an all-encompassing attitude, a way of walking and talking and a choice of whether to smoke cigarettes or not.
Anyways, what's so important about "look?" It's all about self-definition. Are you a hipster? Good God I hope you aren't. I actually watched an interesting documentary on the evolution of "the hipster" and now I'm paralyzed that my entire personal style boils down to being "hip." Granted, I don't fit the mold, technically; I don't dress ironically, I don't own anything from Urban Outfitters, and I have only one pair of skinny jeans--which I bought in Paris two years ago. But still. Hipsters are, apparently, wholly unaware that they are what they...er, are. I wear Oscar De La Renta sweaters and combat boots to school; am I preppy? Preppy-goth? Preppy-goth-alt? I'd honestly prefer to just be "preppy," but I will never wear khakis for fun.
AND THEN there's the question of labels. Like, "Duuuuude, don't put labels on it. You are what you are." (In case you were wondering, that is, in fact, a personal quote.) But that's so ridiculous; we live in a world of labels. There's nothing wrong with labeling others, the only thing that can hurt someone is when they label themselves. We can't understand others without boxing them in. It's a sad truth. We have our pothead friends and our party friends and our fratty friends and our just-in-school friends...this is getting a little self-righteous.
To finish up this (rare-ish?) personal rant, I'll go back to the whole "look" thing, since it seems to make the most literary sense. Bottom line, we all have a look, or at least an image we (prepare yourself) project for others to interpret. It doesn't ultimately matter, but it's important to anyone's self-actualization to meet physical needs. In fact, that's like Maslow's first pillar. So by meeting one's "look" requirement, one really is meeting a need. We need self-definition; different than labels, different than faking it: we are who we want to be.