Amateur Fashion (strutting your stuff and changing your identity)

Tonight I am participating in my third amateur fashion show, sponsored by this super cool dress shop in White River Junction, VT: Revolution. Revolution is one of my favorite places to shop, not only because they showcase the work of local dressmakers, but also because the owner routinely makes runs to New York and consigns.

It’s fun, it’s hip, and it beats the heck out of all the department stores, which, in our neck of the woods, really are the only other option (and are, if you hate fluorescent lights and cheap mass manufactured clothes, not really an option at all). And I say that as a non-clothes snob. I’m also not a glamorous girly girl. In fact, I can honestly say that the last time I had make up on was during the last fashion show!


So why would an almost 40, professor who wouldn’t couldn’t apply her own base if her life depended on it and who has body “issues” voluntarily sign up for an amateur fashion show?

Precisely because I am an almost 40, professor who wouldn’t couldn’t apply her own base if her life depended on it and who has body “issues”

So today, I will get to be a girl. And not just any girl, but a girly girl. I have an appointment to get my hair done at 3:30 and then make up at 4:30. There are a couple of hours to kill (probably drinking cheap wine and pizza [or my green stuff, salad and natural peanut butter sandwich that I plan to pack in]) with the other models – many of whom will be older than me!

The call for models sums it up:

WANTED:  Exhibitionist-type personalities to parade the Revolutionary fall collections! All shapes, sizes, ages & genders are encouraged to participate.

Prerequisite: You must be a little brave and pretty on the inside.

I don’t know that I am exhibitionist or all that brave, but there’s something incredibly liberating about wearing something that you might never normally wear, made up to the hilt, and just putting it out there. Essentially, what you’re doing is saying to the world: This is me! This is my body!

If you’ve ever struggled with body-image, there’s nothing more rewarding than sashaying down a catwalk and having hundreds of people (most of whom you’ve never met) cheering you on. There’s lights, there’s music. It’s fun. It’s invigorating. And, as this is my third in as many years, it’s also addictive.2895934129_f3ec85d1c0

This year, I am wearing two very different outfits. Michael J didn’t go with me this time to pick out clothes, thus he has no idea what the night will bring, so I won’t describe them here. But instead of the slinky dresses that I’d never be caught dead in off the runway that I’ve chosen in years past, this year I selected two outfits (one pants and a top and the other a sweater and skirt) that I could actually see myself in, like, on a daily basis.

As soon as I got home, I thought: why did you do that? Why didn’t you pick something crazy and out there?

Because, I realized, this year, I’m going as me! I don’t need to be in disguise. This year, I am going to tap into my exhibitionist side while wearing clothes that make me look and feel like myself! Scary, huh? I am going to be brave on the outside and pretty on the inside.

I am going to take my time on the catwalk, I’ll be as sexy as possible in my casual clothes, and most importantly, I’ll remember to smile!

Even if you think that this seems silly or out there, if you have a hip clothing store in your area that uses local “models” to highlight their fall and spring collections, sign up! It’s fun! It’s exciting! And it’s the quickest and possibly best opportunity to explore different ways of being in your body and seeing yourself in a new light. Besides, when’s the last time you walked in the room only to find hundreds of friendly faces cheering you on? It’s a total rush!

It’s really not about amateur fashion, it’s about reconstructing your view of yourself. Seriously, if you ever get the opportunity, take it! You won’t be sorry!

3 comments so far

  1. Lara on

    That is awesome! Good for you. I can’t wait to see the pics from tonight.

    • julie strawitz on

      So well put! The positive energy of the show is infectious. Hurray to all of the models and everyone else involved in it!

  2. KJ on

    Thanks! Michael said he didn’t recognize me when I came out (not until I started moving, whatever that means)! I think he shot it as video, but I’ll post what I have.

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