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What's Your Dress Tribe? Being Rebellious With Clothing

Updated on October 30, 2009

Teenagers often dress differently in order to rebel, but then they all end up dressing the same, note their silly smug elders who are also all dressing the same and quietly dying of boredom whilst sneering at the young folk who have yet to realize that one day they really probably will have to get a job and it won't be as an undersea nuclear shark trainer.

What many of us forget, is that there is no age where we must stop rebelling with the clothing we wear. Even grandma can slip on a leather cuff, whack a few studs in her face (though she should probably go on antibiotics first if her immune system is lacking joie de vivre,) and rock out in her arm chair.

Clothing is how we identify groups of people. There are well dressed business people, there are well dressed home makers, there are the slovenly dressed lower classes who insist on wearing jeans and sneakers everywhere, there are tech / independent people who dress indistinguishably from the so called 'lower classes', but who will smugly reference something they read on social media to prove that they're not really all that lower class after all, there are the 'alternative' types who are all alternative with their leather and their bright hair and their random piercings. Oh, and there are the greenies, who will almost certainly be wearing and ingesting hemp products and talking about whales, as if whales weren't total jerks. Which they are. Whales suck. Most adults fall into one of these four categories and use dress as a means of reference to determine who they are and who their friends will be. I hereby name these groups 'dress tribes.'

You don't often see people from wildly different dress tribes consorting with one another in public. People tend to very much 'stick with their own'. It's rare too see three adults of the same gender and the same age enjoying each other's company, one wearing a suit, one wearing nothing but PVC and the other draped in chiffon and cradling a baby. You might see two of these people together, but never all three at the same time. It's the old 'pick two rule.'

What's the point here? It's not just teenagers who suck at rebelling, it's all of us. So here's a fun dress experiment. Try wearing some clothing that doesn't fit your 'dress tribe' and see what happens. If you wear a T-Shirt over a thermal undershirt with jeans and sneakers do you immediately become a smug little twit writing on the Internet? If you pull on a short skirted business suit that Alley McBeal would have been proud of do you have a sudden desire to repress the masses and deny them health care?

What's your dress tribe? Are you forced to join other dress tribes in order just to make a living? Share your stories here. Share them!


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