Dare to dress differently

Why do we all fall into “types”? Even when we think we are expressing our “individuality”, don’t we just fall into one category or another?

Sitting on a train on the Northern Line with a Polish punk guy and two Italian punkettes, it was fascinating to see – even though the girls obviously didn’t know the boy and they couldn’t communicate verbally because of the language barrier – all three sharing make-up, trying to out-do one another with their outrageous face-painting while complimenting one another’s looks. While each has clearly invested a lot of time and effort in getting dressed, doing their hair and make-up, don’t the rest of us unkindly just bung them together in the Punk category?

It is interesting that anyone who stands out, anyone who dares to look out of th ordinary gets stared at. I, myself – I am ashamed to say – am guilty of this. Sitting in Crépe Affair in Westfield this weekend, I was fascinated by a young Pakistani or Indian man. Now I can sit here make this stereotype in this particular instance because I’m Pakistani and my mother is Indian but I usually spot the young, urban Pakistani/Indian boys hanging out in baggy jeans, t-shirts, jumpers, maybe a leather jacket or a hoodie. All very same-ish. All a little dull. The faux or even real diamond studs on one ear – or worse both ears – make us all cringe. The complicated spikey over-gelled hair has bored us all. But this boy defied all my stereotypes. This boy had jeans tighter than the trendiest of Hoxton hipsters. He had brown tweed jacket brought bang up-to-date by its sharp modern cut. He had a peculiar haircut that had a mohican, a side fringe and blond streaks all in one. But best of all he had a moustache to make Poirot proud! I must admit I laughed hysterically. But I loved his look. I loved it because he not only swiftly and decidedly throw all my stereotypes out of the window, he ensured that he didn’t fit into any categories of punk, goth, geek-chic, preppie, etc and stamped out my pre-conceptions about entire ethnicities!

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