Sincerity is dead. Even Oscar Wilde agreed, saying, “In all unimportant matters, style, not sincerity, is the essential.” The truth is, wearing your heart on your sleeve has never been stylish. What’s so interesting about an actual blonde girl wearing a shirt that says, “Everyone Loves a Blonde Girl?” It is time we embrace our inner ‘hip’-ocrites, do away with the painfully proper, and realize, once and for all, that irony is in fact the new black.
Outrageous style has always been the privilege of the inherently confident. Status allows the few at the top to push the status quo. However, for the rest of us it has always been easier to give in to propriety – recycling no longer shocking trends months after their conception. The reason why over-sized pearls and popped collars became clich? the second they caught on was because they were simple modifications of conventional fashion – accessible, yet not big enough departures from ‘the norm’ to be the ‘fashion-f-you’ people still expect them to be. Incorporating subtle irony into your wardrobe, however, is always original and easier than it may seem.
The double takes on H Street you may be craving are as simple as presenting people with an undeniable paradox – presenting a clash between what they might expect from your style and what you give them. If it’s intrigue you crave, break up your style monotony by spending a day of the week emo – donning black plastic frames and black nail polish with your usual outfits instead of the traditionally emo black ‘Chucks’ or Bright Eyes T-shirt. Make a statement by pairing a ‘Save the Whales’ shirt with a fur coat or a peace sign with a camo jacket.
However, as Alanis Morissette once taught us, irony can be a difficult word to define. An afternoon of people-watching will teach you that there is, in fact, a way to improperly dress improperly.
I found a particularly upsetting example of this while perched at the window seat of my favorite coffee shop in Adams Morgan. Deep in the business of quelling a rather apparent caffeine headache, I noticed a girl dressed entirely in black, wearing a matching black “Livestrong” bracelet. Going for an undeniably ‘anti-conformist’ look, her hypocrisy was immediately apparent. While normally, the juxtaposition of ‘conformist’ and ‘non-conformist’ fashion might be interesting, the fact that this particular girl had found a “Livestrong” bracelet, a contemporary staple in consumerist convention, in a color that matched her otherwise anti-establishment wardrobe suggested she really didn’t know that she was being completely contradictory.
Avoiding the Alanis complex, I say listen to Corey Hart when going for this look. Something as simple as wearing your sunglasses at night can add the perfect amount of irony to your style, not to mention the built-in reference to your favorite ’80s song. So next time you see someone wearing a “What would Jesus do?” bracelet with a star of David necklace or an orange-haired freckled girl wearing an “Everyone Loves an Asian Girl” T-shirt, appreciate their nod to ironic fashion and remember, in fashion, there is nothing as sincere as insincerity.