Three girls came to the till point at work today, each buying three differently coloured pairs of frilly socks. They each handed their individual £10 notes, most likely given to them with a word of caution from their mothers “not to spend it all at once”, and they all had their Little Brown (Primark) Bags hanging on their wrists. As they walked away they were indistinguishable between their denim shorts, black tights, converse and boys’ hoodies. Why do we take comfort in wearing the same as those around us?
I’m guilty of it too. Before any social event it’s guaranteed I’ll ask at least one other person about their outfit choice, whether they’re taking a jacket or what shoes they’re wearing. It’s comforting to know that someone will look like you, but I’ve started conditioning myself to not ask or care about these things because my style is mine.
A moment of observation suggests that friendship groups are either formed by mutual fashion sense or fashion sense is determined by friendship group. What a person’s best friend dresses like is often a reliable indicator of their own style. How can something as individual and, all things considering, somewhat insignificant play such a role in our social lives?
We’re in the midst of a Clone War, and the current generation of teens are in the thick of it. I wanted to tell those girls that they didn’t have to waste their mum’s £10 on socks just because the other two were. You don’t have to wear a slouchy hoodie on a hot day like today, you can wear a girly skirt if you want to. I wanted to tell them that you look even more noticeable all dressed the same than if one had had the confidence to choose her own outfit today.
Then I reminded myself that 7 years ago that was me and as they scuttled away, matching socks in tow, I told myself that they’d find it out for themselves eventually.