Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Life in the age of the micro-era

After a whole lot of working from home (dissertating, Dish-ing, freelancing, etc.), I'm once again working from a mix of home and not-home (teaching French and book-writing in English, and also freelancing, and also, in principle, sleeping). This means I need to be, like, dressed. Not merely in clothing, but in clothing that's a notch or several above what's needed to walk a dog in the woods, with a 5% chance of running into another human being, and a 0% chance of running into one who'd expect me to be dressed professionally, fashionably, or anything along those lines.

This seems so simple, so obvious, and just so doable - I'm well out of college! I have a degree in French! I live in a city with lots of stores! - but is kind of daunting. Part of this is that I hadn't realized quite how dire the situation had become. My 'good' clothes turned out to be very washed-out Breton-striped shirts from several years ago. So a lot needs to be replaced, or just sort of purchased to begin with, but there isn't really any conceivable time to do this in. And I'm not even factoring in the other shopping expedition: Canada-ready winter-wear. My inner stereotypical heterosexual man experiences this with a sense of impending doom. But there's also a part of me that's a stereotypical... my own demographic, let's say, and that was totally all, "There's Intermix/COS/Muji in Toronto?!" I can kind of see getting excited about this.

The more complicated question is what to buy. Again, sounds simple! But I have no idea. It's sort of... been a while? And when I last properly shopped, I was a) younger, and b) living in another era. The era when bangs/fringe, kale, and farm-to-table, and more on this in a moment... were in. While it sounds so pathetic to be like, 'I want to wear what's in!', this is a genuine practical concern if you're dressing like a 2008-era grad student. If you have a sort of implicit sense of this, you can focus on cut and fit and all of this while sneering at those who bother with trends. If you don't - if, that is, you've spent the past four-plus years split between avant-garde or super-now fashion-blog reading and disintegrating skinny-jeans-wearing - this takes a bit more effort. Or maybe it just takes going to Zara and buying whatever more or less fits.

But this isn't so much a fashion post as an era one. I've been thinking recently - and this mainly has implications for how I present various things in the book I'm writing - that times have changed. Since 2008-ish, or even 2011-ish. Trends seem different - noticeably so. Cultural trends, not just clothing. Young People Today, perhaps they're different as well. Still working on putting my finger on what these differences are (and, book-wise, on precisely how this shift has both exaggerated and diminished various "privilege" concerns), but for the time being, this is my point in full: Times have changed.

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