Shirt: Old Navy (Swap)
Boots: Durango (via Beacon's Closet)
So I thought I'd try to wear all thrifted clothes today, as a way to appreciated my second hand gear, but the weather is wonky so I'll save that until tomorrow. I just threw on the jeggings, Western style shirt, and cowboy boots at home, and I put on the "Office blazer" so when I have to leave my office to go to the toilet (and possibly run into students). In this picture, I look like I've been riding my horses all day.
It's comfy, casual, but hopefully not to "Student" like (even if it is, I'm too old compared to them too care that much).
I am jumping on the cultural appropriation discussion bandwagon (see Academichic, Threadbared, Jesse.Anne.O, and jezebel, to name just a few). I have nothing to add to the discussion about Native/First American/Indigneous styles that have been prevalent in "hipster" styles. I think many great ideas have been circulated and I neither consume these styles nor claim to know much about the politics. However, because of my darker skin that tans easily (compared to like my mom and the Korean "ideal") and my mom's cheekbones, the few times I ever wore anything vaguely Native American style (and this was limited to a play in 2nd grade), everyone called me Pocahantas or raved about how "Indian" I looked. Including teachers.
I do want to talk about my own position as a "person of culture" (for reals) and my own types of cultural appropriations. First, as an "Asian-American" (a term that means nothing to any one living in Asia), I don't care if you wear Buddhist beads, get a Chinese character tattoo, or wear a cheongsam. I just think that most folks (including Madonna and NBA stars) look rather silly doing it. I do mind if a person fawn all over my "culture" and "exoticness", because I am ordinary middle class professional lady, and I think my class positionality is more relevant to my life experiences and tastes than anything else. I find it creepy and weird if someone starts telling me about their fascination for the East. I guess this is my long way of saying that I like who I am and I am proud of my heritage, but my different outwards looking appearance should not open to door to "other me."
As for my own appropriations, I am neither white, living in the western United States, nor having family that is either of these, I love Western/cowboy styles. I also like prairie looks as well, and neo-Edwardian styles. I even want a bolo tie (How rad would this outfit look with one? OK, maybe that's just me). Part of this relates to my time in Minnesota, where I started to really like the prairie midwest (still do), and then coming to NYC, where I don't particularly like the uber-serious, all black high fashion looks that emphasize drama and thinness. I don't know if I were be drawn to western styles if I lived in the Southwest, but for some reason, I really wanted a prairie dress for my wedding. I guess I think it's fun. Perhaps this offends people, but there isn't a political movement or a community that claims significance over these looks that can articulate these concerns.
In addition, my sister-in-law (brother's wife) comes from another culture, and I have been invited to participate in it before. I have friends who say, "You shouldn't wear another culture's clothes," but I don't believe that cultures are natural or essential. I think that fashion choices should be more conscious and respectful, and I wouldn't wear South Asian dress if I wasn't invited to do so. Rather than strict rules, I think that "borrowing" dress from various communities should be a dialogue.
What are your thoughts about this? I am thinking about it too much? Am I wrong not to believe that any cultural appropriations are offensive. I am not offended that easily, but I did spend much of my college years (at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign) protesting the Chief Illiniwek mascot. I felt that the small Native American community had clearly articulated reasons for the getting rid of the Chief, which it did. I know my brother, roommate, and many others disagreed (but I must admit I used my Chief opinions as a litmus test for dating).