The dumb fashion girl fights back

I try not to ever write from a place of emotion. As a journalist I know that makes pieces biased. But I have gotten to the point where it’s a daily occurrence that I come home from school, curl up in my bed and cry. It’s hard to write unemotionally when you’re emotional all the time.

I am teary as I write this because I think I made a mistake coming to grad school. I don’t regret pursuing journalism as a career path, but I do regret choosing to get to that career through journalism school. I want to be a fashion journalist. But everyday I hear one of my professors act like fashion isn’t a real type of journalism.

Yesterday my prof said reading fashion magazines turns your brain to mush, it’s like eating candy. Last semester a prof told us she didn’t want to hear story pitches on fashion because those aren’t real stories.

I sit there in all my fashion loving glory and feel stupid. Then I get angry because following up these statements is praise for sports. Writing about sports is legitimate journalism it seems. The world respects athletes who punch each other on the ice, yet there is no respect for designers who send intricate designs down the runway.

This, to me, is incredibly sexist. We see sports as a legitimate passion because it is an area dominated by male athletes and a passion held predominantly by males. But fashion isn’t legitimate because it’s an area of interest for females, who clearly only care for frivolous matters like clothing and hair.

My professor didn’t say that the people in my class who watch TSN nightly or read the Sports section daily are turning their brains too mush. Just people like me who have subscriptions to Flare, InStyle and Fashion magazine.

I didn’t realize we still lived in the 18th century, but apparently we do, where women’s interests are meant for the private space of the home and men’s interests dominate the workplace and the public sphere.

To me sports and fashion are no different– they are both areas of special interest. But in my program internships at sports magazines or  sports shows are acceptable. Fashion internships are not.

Quite frankly the reason I cry everyday isn’t because I’m not getting to report on what I want in my program. I cry because I feel dumb. I feel dumb for enjoying discussing what celebrities are wearing, for indulging nightly in the latest shows from Fashion Week and from wanting to pursue fashion journalism as a career. I feel my program is deeming me the class idiot because I don’t want to report on politics or crime or even sports, which to them are legitimate areas of journalism.

I went into this program because I wanted to learn about writing a wide variety of stories. And I love getting to do that. I just didn’t expect that in the process I would learn my interests are an inferior type of journalism.

But I am not going to quit. I want to, but I won’t because I am going to show them I am not dumb. I am going to show them fashion isn’t a frivolous passion. And most importantly I am going to do what I can so that no other aspiring fashion journalist has to curl up in bed and cry because their program makes them feel inferior.

A Sort of Reformed Shopper

Every year I look forward to going back to school. Not because I particularly love school or enjoy getting up early. But because it means back to school shopping.

This year my mom said she would buy me a few items since I am a poor student. So I decided I would be very picky with what I got this year—I had to make my choices count since these are likely the only new clothes I will get for a while.

Many magazines recommend making a list of clothes you want or need before you go out shopping, that way you only buy those items. I always cringe at this idea—why would I want to take the spontaneity out of shopping. That’s where the enjoyment comes from, the not knowing what great items you will find.

Then I became a Grad student with no money and realized why making a list is a good idea.

So before hitting the stores I made my list. I started by flipping through old issues of InStyle. I knew there was a reason I had been saving three years worth of subscriptions. I now had a plethora of style inspiration.

I cut out pictures of clothes and outfits I liked and pinned them to my bedroom wall. I now have clothing ideas every day when I get dressed. This also gave me a list of the clothes I wanted to buy; a pleated skirt, a tweed jacket and a blouse.

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Then I hit the stores.

Having the list made shopping so efficient. If I walked into a store and they had none of the items I wanted I walked out.

But going into H&M nearly killed me. There are so many delectable clothes there and I wanted them all. I saw the most adorable 1960s inspired dress with black polka dots. I needed it and snuck it into the change room to try on.  I was the girl in the change room feeling ashamed not because I was shoplifting, but because I was veering from my sacred list.

The funny thing is in the end I didn’t buy the dress. I looked at myself in the mirror and said “You don’t need this, take it off and walk away. Well first put clothes on, but then walk away.”

The list really worked, I only got what was on it. I now feel good about my purchases and know I really will wear them. Plus I have my style board for daily inspiration of what to wear with the clothes I now own.

Alright I should confess I did buy one thing not on the list–a pair of hunter green jeans. Come on, who could resist 50 % off. And they are green, which matches my eyes. So really I couldn’t not buy them.

Maybe I am not as reformed as I hoped, but I think I did pretty damn good for my first attempt.