Ah, the end of the year. Time to get serious, to reflect on the tragedies, triumphs, mistakes, missed opportunities, and lessons we’ve learned over the past 12 months. But what can really sum up a monumental year like good ol’ 2010? One thing, babies: Turbans.
I recently had a pretty huge lifestyle-validating breakthrough after reading this article in The New York Times. Yes! Turbans! Back in style! (As if they could ever be out of style.) Finally, our favorite unfit mother
can be vicariously brought to life through you, me, June Ambrose, and Catherine Baba:
And we can all find new hope as we aspire to Garbo greatness, since the Garbo in a turban look
is much more practical and easily attainable than the Garbo burrito
Seriously though, this article is fantastic for several reasons, listed here in order of ascending interest:
First of all, it directs viewers to the Glamourai’s tie-your-own-turban tutorial, thus introducing them to the awesomeness of said fashion warrior AND turning every scarf 30″ x 30″ and larger into a turbantacular wonderland. I’ve recently become obsessed with the tie-your-own-turban after realizing that, contrary to Oliver’s claim, the turban is actually perfect for covering uncooperative hair. In fact, I didn’t wash or cut my hair for over a month after I read this article. Really. I’m that gross. But the turban is so powerfully fabulous, no one even noticed.
Appropriately, I publicly debuted this look at the birthday of The Schmick, (Half)Prince of Persia, future father of my children, and King of my heart:
Let’s get a close-up of that one:
And, while we’re at it, let’s take a look at The Schmick himself, back in 2008, rocking the first turban I ever bought:
That, right there, is my past, present, and future. What a guy.
Anyway, this brings me to the second point of interest I found in Oliver’s article: the debate as to whether or not the turban trend is specifically linked to the conflict in the Middle East, or, more generally, whether we internalize social, political, and/or cultural influences that then manifest in the way we dress. This one should be a no brainer. I wouldn’t go as far as June Ambrose does by saying that wearing a turban is a political statement (I will, however, say that that woman has the sweetest job on earth. I mean, she gets to physically put pants on Jay-Z), but I also find it unlikely that, as Harold Koda suggests, modern turban wearers are very influenced by the fin-de-siècle designer Paul Poiret or his view of Orientalism, albeit subliminally. Even if they were, why are we looking toward “a sense of the other that is visually compelling” at this very moment? It’s hard to believe that this particular trend is experiencing a resurgence at this particular moment in time, completely unrelated to any world issues or the current state of complete media saturation otherwise known as our lives.
So it’s not necessarily an overtly political statement, a call for peace in the Middle East, a show of solidarity to our downtrodden Arabian sisters, or a specific homage to the late greats of fashion. It may be, but not necessarily. What it is, certainly, is an artistic statement. That’s right. Getting dressed, choosing how you want to present yourself to the world, is an act of artistic expression. Ever heard the phrase “fashion statement”? As individuals, we all internalize different aspects of our lives, then we channel those influences into some kind of artistic expression. It’s how we stay sane. Music, writing, painting, drawing, dancing, acting, singing, building, designing, playing, strategizing, etc, etc, etc. Among these, getting dressed is probably one of the most common, and the most looked-down-upon. Why? Because it will never make you rich, it will never earn you more than the most fleeting, superficial respect, it doesn’t reflect the human condition or save lives or win awards beyond the odd high school superlative. It takes very little training to become good at it, and anyone can, and in fact everyone does, do it. It’s materialistic, capitalistic (eek!), and utterly meaningless. No one wants to hear you talk about what you wore except your vapid girlfriends, and many people under the impression that every day fashion and style cannot be analyzed in any way other than comically (btdubs, it’s a sad state of affairs when humor is not equated with substance).
This is unfortunate. Because getting dressed, really putting effort into it, and looking good, can also make you feel really, really good. It’s just like any other art and you get the opportunity to do it every single day. You’re not going to win a Nobel Peace prize or start a revolution, but the highs are still very high. Remember how you felt that last time you knew you looked good? Or the last time someone complimented you on your style? You’re also unlikely to be pushed to the brink of suicide by the demons swimming in your head, but the lows are still very low. Remember how it felt the last time you felt like you had nothing to wear? Or how your bank account felt last time you bought something awesome?
Once again, I digress, and must find my way back to point of interest number three. It takes confidence to wear a turban. True, perhaps, it may take a little verve to strut the streets of your small suburban town on a Wednesday afternoon wearing the pinkish-flesh colored Patricia Fields turban your best friend bought you two Christmases ago.
But it’s also a surprisingly effective way to build confidence. Not just a turban, but any equivalently gutsy-fabulous, subliminally substantial item. How do they do this? Are they like magic carpets? Will they make you the most powerful sorcerer in the world, with phenomenal cosmic powers and itty bitty living space? No doofus. They’ll make you look awesome, and I assure you, the confidence pendulum swings both ways. Lauralou, pictured here not turbaned, but still madly hatted,
who’s seen me through some especially dark times, once came home to find me sitting on the couch, wearing grey sweatpants and a(n almost matching) grey shirt. Seeing me in what was obviously a rock bottom moment, she tough loved me out of my misery by informing me that I was “really depressing” her and ordering me out of my drab, slubby attire, which was really only making it worse for both of us.
One of the greatest things I’ve learned from that moment, from writing this little blog, and over this past year in general, after months and months of Holocaust, heart attacks, hospitals, heart break, heart ache, homelessness, hopelessness, and even the frantic, dizzying highs, often characterized by a desperation even more hopeless than the hellish lows, is that no matter how bad I feel, at least I can always look good. Even in the depressive throes of unemployed boredom, I can always wear a turban. It may not work for everyone, but it’s worked for me. So turban, I tip yourself to you (get it?) and humbly thank you for doing your part in keeping me alive.
So for the New Year, wear something grand, something inspired, something that takes a little courage, enjoy the reactions you get (even the negative), and see how it makes you feel. And above all, stay awesome.
Happy New Year!