1 of 5 – “An Introduction”
This is the first in what will be a five-part blog series, running each Wednesday from now until the end of February. Wow, a five-part blog? It must be about something absolutely AMAZING and quintessential to who Mark Mushakian is, right? Movies? Women? BUNNIES??! Good guesses, but no… it’s all about style.
Oh, of course, sty- pwahhhh?
That’s right, style. More specifically, my personal SENSE of style. No, I’m not gay, I simply love design, and I have for most of my life. I used to enjoy looking through the Homes For Sale section of the newspaper to admire the different implemented designs. I grew up watching gardening shows because I loved seeing the different ways of creating interesting yard setups. Even in regards to my prime passion, movie-making, two of my favorite aspects are costuming and set design. I have a certain sense of style that I enjoy bringing to every arena of my life, as is probably most evident by what I choose to wear on a daily basis. I haven’t bought new clothes for quite some time (for a lack of excess funds), but I take pride in consistently trying to do new and fun things with what I already have. I take it as an opportunity to express myself every time I step out of the house, and it’s something that is continually evolving. I also happen to be a bit out of the norm – I wear suspenders for pete’s sake, but in regards to my fashion tastes this wasn’t always the case. Surprisingly enough, I didn’t pop out of the womb with suspenders on.
As the topic of my style sense has come up quite a few times, lately, I kind of wanted to take this little trip down memory lane and explore exactly how I got to this point. More than any other creative aspect, including my taste in movies or music, my personal sense of style has undergone the most dramatic changes, and since the aspect of design is such an interesting topic to me, I wanted to go through that here.
I’ll eventually get into the ideas of how I’ve been inspired and changed over the years, in subsequent posts, from suits, Nazis, James Dean, gangsters, hippies, and yes… even the suspenders, but first I want to simply talk about style itself.
What are you wearing right now? Ooh la la! Now, WHY are you wearing it?
Hopefully, you wear the things you do because you like them. Certainly, there should be a general practicality to your clothing (the short skirt and heavy jacket some girls put together in cold weather always makes me laugh as they then complain about being “freezing”), but there is nothing wrong with a little flair, either. Personally, I think one of the most important aspects of a person’s wardrobe is that it is made up of things that fit them – and I don’t just mean in the literal sense. How do you know what style of clothing fits you as a person, though? Well, for that, you have to know who you are.
Since the time from which I can start to remember thoughts, I’ve been a rather eccentric fellow. Over the years, I’ve seen that term come to be used most regularly in a negative light – as if to scorn those who are out of the norm. So, what does the word actually mean? Well, I love the list I found on Wikipedia of the common characteristics in an eccentric:
- Nonconforming attitude
- Intense curiosity
- Happy obsession with a hobby or hobbies
- Known very early in his or her childhood they were different from others
- Highly intelligent
- Opinionated and outspoken
- Unusual living or eating habits
- Not interested in the opinions or company of others
- Mischievous sense of humor
- Usually the eldest or an only child
Ever seen a list quite as defining of me as this? I only miss out on one point (the company of others), but otherwise it’s pretty on the money. So, in very simple terms, I’m “different.” Does it not stand to reason that I should also dress accordingly “different”? I am not abdicating dressing strangely merely to be strange, though that does also take into account a person’s personality – in that they are someone who strives for attention. I am also not talking about following trends.
Following trends is safe. This isn’t my admonishment of those who follow cultural fashion trends, because even most of how I adorn myself was at some point a part of current fashion. By all means, do what you care to do, folks. My saying it’s safe is merely because it is. Look back at the fashion movements of the 80’s or 90’s. Most people now will look at a number of the big trends from those times as if they’d never be caught dead repeating that mistake, but “everyone was doing it” so it’s much less embarrassing. Then, as the current trend progresses into others, the general populace all follows suit together – sort of like a giant school of fish changing direction. This series isn’t about trends, however (though those will most definitely pop up as I talk about my growing up), but about style.
So, what is style? I’m certainly not about to write a thesis on the topic, so I’ll simply give you my subjective point of view on the term. Style is… subjective. Like what I did there 😉 ? Seriously though folks, in the matter of defining the actual term, I look at style as the melding of expression and function. My wearing underwear is purely functional, while my wearing a tie is pure expression. Something like suspenders fills both function AND expression – they keep my drawers up more comfortably than a belt, and I just happen to think they look sexy in the process. Wearing a sackcloth may do it’s job, but it doesn’t very well express a person’s sense of style (at least, I wouldn’t imagine so), and similarly there are certain “fashionable” aspects of some runway outfits that simply aren’t very practical in the real world.
As I said at the above paragraph, though, the idea behind what is stylish is completely subjective – because by definition it has to be. My personal sense of style will vary from my friend’s because we’re not clones of one another. That is why this is not about trends. Style is personal, and as such, I need to address it that way.
As I mentioned above, it takes understanding who you are to understand what best fits your personal style, whether it’s clothing, home decoration, or even how you cut your hair. Over the next four weeks in this little series, you’ll find that my choices in fashion changed as I did. As much as this may be a series of posts on coming to a current point in my personal fashion sense, it’s just as much a reflection of my growing up into the man I am today. They may say that “clothes make the man,” and I get the idea behind it, but I’m rather convinced that one is mutually beneficial to the other. A boy in a suit is no more a man than a 40-year-old fella who dresses like he’s 20. One’s sense of style expresses directly who they are – even if they choose to not care much about their outwardly appearance at all (“Mark, I’m not a gay.. I just wear whatever’s in my closet.”). Some choose to not make their expression obvious at all, but for me it’s something I rather enjoy. It’s taken me awhile to get to this point, both in my choice of clothing and in personal maturity, and I look forward to sharing that with you.
And no, I’m still not gay.