the unimportance of style

Lately I've started to become annoyed when people put down a city or town for being unstylish. I mean, there are a lot of places that could be considered unstylish. My hometown of Anchorage was recently voted the worst-dressed city in America, and there's no doubt that there is more than enough evidence to back that up. But you know what?  I love it.  I love that in Anchorage people wear North Face jackets, jeans and snowboots most of the year. I love that the focus isn't on impressing others with style or appearance. I think that's kind of great. Sometimes people with style, myself included, can start to look down on people who don't consider style important. This isn't to say that I don't think personal style is a great thing. I believe personal style can give someone incredible confidence and I love how it can be a way to express individual creativity. I love when people take the time and effort to express themselves through the way they dress and I definitely encourage people in that. But at the same time, style isn't paramount. I would much rather live in a town full of kind, adventurous, independent, and nice people who wear hideous or dull outfits than in a city full of chic, stylish, beautiful people who wouldn't give me the time of day. This isn't to say that stylish people can't be nice, but to write off unstylish people as unworthy of our time, or as lesser beings is, quite frankly, kind of offensive.

plaid top/courtesy of free people :: top/scrapbook via cosette :: scarf/h&m
jeans/blank nyc courtesy of modcloth :: necklace/courtesy of moorea seal
shoes/courtesy of blowfish shoes :: jacket courtesy of asianicandy :: photos by Dan
The more I think about it, the more and more thankful I am for growing up in a fashion-free environment. I was more concerned about going on adventures than what I was going to wear at school the next day.  I didn't feel pressure to look a certain way in order to be "cool." We all had to wear snow coats and boots anyway. Even in high school style wasn't that important. The only thing I really remember about style in high school was being annoyed by shopping at Pac Sun because everyone shopped there and someone else was bound to show up at school wearing the same shirt as me. Style wasn't what set people apart, it was their spirit, kindness, and character, not wearing the right outfit.

Now when people make fun of Anchorage for being unstylish I just get a little salty thinking about all the people wearing Danskos and outfits bought from Fred Meyer, because those are my people, you know? Those people have my heart.  In all of their 2-years-behind-every-trend glory, and dressing-completely-for-function practicality.  And there are many places around the world similar to Anchorage, in that they aren't fashion forward or cutting edge. But they're important. People who live there are just as valuable as people who live in Manhattan or LA.  Fashion just isn't on their radar.

In some ways I feel very behind on discovering my style.  There are personal style blogs out there now written by high schoolers and I didn't even start thinking about developing my personal style until college.  But I'm glad, actually.  I spent my youth adventuring instead of shopping and putting together outfits, and I like it like that.  I'm sure I'll have fun dressing my future child until they start having an opinion of their own on what they want to wear.  At that point I'm going to (try to) just let them take over.  I don't want to give my kids the impression that their appearance is what makes them worthy or important.  I want them to know that they can be an unstylish slob and I'd still love them just as much as if they were a fashion plate.  If they want to wear sweat pants and baggy t-shirts every day, so be it.  God knows I did...