While preparing to write this article, I pondered the old saying and idea that”fashion is superficial,” a shared cultural perception that has existed for a long time by many.
During my research, I could not find exactly where the phrase originated. Yet, various sources have noted a belief that fashion is simply about surface-level appearances and is, therefore, shallow and meaningless.
(Photo: Marissa Grootes)
I beg to differ, and let me tell you why.
People often use clothing and accessories to signify wealth, access, status, and power; some pretend for the same reasons. In this sense, I agree with how some can view fashion as an artificial construct reinforcing social hierarchies and valuing superficial appearances over substance in this form.
Additionally, the fast-paced and trend-driven nature of the fashion industry, where trends can change rapidly, may contribute to the perception that fashion is superficial and fleeting.
However, it’s worth noting that fashion can also be a form of self-expression and creativity. Many designers and fashion enthusiasts view it as a legitimate art form, like others can view classic cars as valuable limited edition art. Ultimately, whether or not fashion is superficial is a matter of personal perspective and interpretation.
Despite the idea that “fashion is fleeting,” it is a common expression attributed to many people throughout history. A famous designer, Coco Chanel, stated, “Fashion fades, only style remains the same.” This quote suggests that while specific fashion trends may come and go, true style is timeless and enduring.
If we take the idea of superficial fashion from the elite and shift the focus to the average middle-class worker, dress code styles can serve several purposes. One is a consistent image for a company, and two helps establish a clear set of employee expectations. For example, dress code style business attire policies can help project a more professional image to clients and customers.