I confess: I don’t understand “effortless chic”. I don’t understand applying makeup to look bare-faced, I don’t understand moussing one’s hair to emulate bedhead, and I really don’t understand why expending effort on your appearance has ceased to be cool.
You see it everywhere. Don’t look too “done”. Don’t look costumey. Spend hours caring, but only to achieve that perfect careless look, that purgatory of the average. You’re still supposed to care, but looking like you do? That’s just gauche.
We’ve cargo-culted casual, it seems. We’ve taken symbols of a laid-back look – Levi’s, bedhead, yesterday’s eyeliner – and proceeded to thoroughly miss the point of what makes them effortless in the first place: the actual, y’know, lack of effort. A $200 white t-shirt might be following the letter of the law, but it’s spectacularly neglecting the spirit.
And there’s something dishonest in that, I think. In working so hard to pretend you don’t care, in not even getting the satisfaction of articulating yes, this matters to me. Maybe my red lips and shapewear look too done, too fussy, too too, but at least I’m upfront with it. I don’t care if I look costumey. I don’t care if my outfit looks like I labored over choosing it, because you know what? I did, and it was labor well spent.
It’s not just fashion, either. I’m growing wearier and wearier of millennial disaffection. I want to like things unironically. I want to care too much and get too excited. I want to flap my hands and squeal when something amuses me. I want to spend more time unequivocally appreciating the world and less calling out what’s problematic about it. I want it to be cool to go all in, dammit.
After all, all fashion is artifice. No use pretending it isn’t. It’s okay to admit you want control over how you appear to the world. Natural is overrated. Preventable diseases are natural too. Doesn’t make ’em a net good.
Here’s to going all out. To turning your passion up to 11 on whatever it is you’re passionate about. Here’s to dressing like a 1950s caricature if you damn well want to, because life’s too short not to live your art.