Two years ago, I was obsessed with fashion. Not just cute clothing, but Vogue fashion. The type of fashion that is more like art and less like things that should be on a body that needs to move and get stuff done. I was rarely comfortable, shoes pinching feet, belt cinching in waist, jewelry hooking on furniture as I passed. I did feel good, however. Comfort was replaced with the buzz that comes from looking at beautiful things and the endorphins of compliments.
Before moving to Los Angeles for college, I had always believed that judging anything based on looks was a shallow waste of time. LA knocked that thought out of me. I still think judging solely on appearance is a mistake, but I now realize that we are only given five senses, and to ignore any of them is a mistake. Sorry folks, but how you look matters. How you smell matters. The way you speak and the words you choose matter. The way you taste may only matter to one person, or a few at a time if you are into liberal living and not monogamy, but love, sex, and reproduction matter. The way you touch and how you feel inside your body and to others also matters. Our senses guide us through the world, alerting us to good and bad that is instinctively felt, not intellectually worked out. So, yes. Looks matter. For better or worse, we are immediately judged on looks and we all have to deal with it.
That said, I now live in Wyoming. Looks matter less. Maybe looks matter in a different way. Here, looking cold is looking stupid. Oh! You wore a really cute wool coat from Marc Jacobs to a party. Well, no one thinks you look good because it's actually a bon-fire party and you're so cold you are turning blue. Not cute. You can't frolic in the river because you are wearing sexy strappy sandals? Not hot.
I've watched my cute dresses move to the back of the closet and my form fitting blazers have been replaced with polar-tech fleeces that when zipped up all the way make me look like I'm wearing a scuba suit. Not like Jessica Alba in a scuba suit, but like a normal person with no make-up and bad lighting in a scuba suit. You may not have to own anything this ugly, but there are active-lifestyle coats with hoods that zip all the way up the neck. I own a couple for the coat part of the garment, but really, this look is so ridiculous that as much as I try to give over to practicality over looks, I'm only zipping the coat up all the way if I'm lost in the woods for over 2 days and I'm either alone or with woman. Time that I used to spend picking out belts and cute necklaces is now devoted to figuring out how many layers are necessary for the given temperature.
The worst part about all this practical clothing that can keep you warm in negative 20 or sweat free in 96 degrees is that it's all so expensive. A good pair of snow boots to keep you warm and from slipping usually cost about $150. A sweet ski coat with all the technology and a bit of steaze (aka: style) is gonna set you back about $300. My $500 dollar skis are now my most expensive foot wear. A few years ago, I thought that money was going to be spent on Christian Louboutin heels and I would be like the ladies of Sex and the City. I can't lie. I miss cute shoes and adorable outfits. Sometimes, I watch the glammed out women in music videos and want to rip the smart-wool socks off my feet and run back to Los Angeles, where spending 2 hours getting ready in the morning won't make me a social leper and mascara has a fighting chance of staying on my face. That's not going to happen though, because I'm actually, incredibly happy, warm, comfortable and doing awesome things in my ugly fleeces. And, the pants I have to wear to ski down a mountain may not show off my assets, but my assets are a lot firmer and more lifted now that I am skiing down mountains.
Fighting against the practical outdoor clothing is useless anyways, because once you own one thing, you'll own it forever. The friggen stuff is all damn near indestructible, being made for bear wrestling or whatever, and it's water resistant and impossible to stain. Plus, tons of it comes with life-time guarantees. These outdoorsy types are tricky, conspiring to make me look ugly and not show off my natural waist, but they sure do know how to have a good time and prevent stains.
I have a dream. Someday, I will be such a badass that I will be able to have good hair while hiking and find ski pants that show off my butt. I'll find a moisturizer and sunscreen that keep me from turning all leathery and I'll be so thin that even a boxy fleece won't make me look fat. It may not be tomorrow, or the next day, or the next year, but I will accomplish my dreams.
ps. Some of my dreams even involve helping others and making the world a better place.