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Does it really matter what we wear on the outside if we are good people on the inside?
Does it really matter what we wear on the outside if we are good people on the inside?

Yes, haters, fashion is important

It's funny how sometimes it's the small things that will make you re-evaluate your life.

Yesterday afternoon, just as I was settling in to write an article on the 10 must-have items for fall, my computer hit the skids.
Error messages everywhere, password requests, an odd-colored screen. My Macbook was having a mid-life crisis.

Luckily, our resident computer guy was in the office, and able to fix my problem.

But, as he was about to walk away, he hesitated. "Jordan, I need to ask you a question. I hope you don't take it he wrong way, but I have to ask," he said.

Knowing that's never a good way to start a conversation, I immediately froze in a state of defense. What now?

Then, to my surprise, he asked, "Why is fashion important?"

The question hung in the air like an overweight seagull. What?

Not knowing exactly what to say, I said the first thing that came to mind: "I think fashion is important because if people look good, they feel good. And if we feel good about ourselves, we're nicer to each other. And doesn't that just make the world a better place?"

He didn't really buy it, but it was the best I could do without being given a piece of paper, a No. 2 pencil and 60 minutes to write an essay.

But, I have to admit, it really got me thinking.

As a fashion editor, owner of a personal shopping and wardrobe consultation business, and an all-around lover of all things couture, what exactly am I doing with my life?

Am I really helping anyone?

Does it really matter what we wear on the outside if we are good people on the inside?

How did I end up here?

Before you think I've gone off the deep end, there are two things you should know about me.

First, I have these "Is this really my life?" conversations with myself quite regularly, as I tend to live in a constant state of transition and re-evaluation. I am indecisive, erratic and easily excitable (all in a very charming way, of course.)

Second, I never planned on having the career I have today.
I wanted to be a foreign correspondent for a major television network. Yes, stiletto-wearing, always-in-a-dress Jordan, in war-torn Darfur, dodging roadside bombs. Or, in Baghdad when American soldiers brought down the Saddam Hussein statue. Or, in North Korea covering the nuclear bomb threat. That's news. That's the reason I got into journalism.

I know, it's a departure from the fashion and lifestyle topics I write about and discuss on morning television. But, it's the truth.

I don't know where I got sidetracked, but I suppose you take the path you take for a reason.

And, as Frost would say, that has made all the difference.
So, here I am, writing about such things as how pink is the new black and faux hawks are the new faux pas. And, really, I couldn't be happier.

I like what I do for a living, and although it's not what I intended, it suits me well.

Which brings me to how I should have answered the question "Why is fashion important?"

While I agree with what I told our inquisitive computer technician, I would like to add this: Fashion is important if it makes just one person happy.

Is there really that big of a difference between appreciating a Monet painting, an Ernest Hemingway novel, an Etta James high note or a vintage Chanel chantilly lace gown? They are all beautiful works of art that add beauty to our world.

And if you don't want to worship the likes of Giorgio Armani, Oscar De La Renta or Tom Ford, you don't have to. You can worship Robin Yount, John Steinbeck, Miles Davis or anyone you want to.

I promise I will never ask you why they are important, because as long as they are important to you, that's really all that matters.

When I see a woman's face light up when she finally finds a pair of jeans that make her legs look long and lean, a man chuckle when he finds just the right jacket to slim his expanding waistline or people from all over the world enthralled by the newest avant-garde Alexander McQueen collection at Paris Fashion Week, I know I am doing something that makes a difference.

Whether you think so or not.

Talkbacks

jkashou | Feb. 17, 2010 at 12:18 p.m. (report)

35497 Nice article Jordan. I agree, fashion is art and so intrinsically linked to so many other disciplines. Thank you for having a hand in trying to make Milwaukee more fashion-conscious!

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gl32 | Feb. 16, 2010 at 12:27 p.m. (report)

The haters are pretty much most of the people that feel the need to make rude comments about other peoples interests - like most of you. Contrary to you opinions, many people like to look good - not like some of you sitting around in Dorito-stained sweat pants in your parents basement.

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yvonne8753 | Aug. 18, 2009 at 10:10 a.m. (report)

And the point is ???

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joe | Aug. 18, 2009 at 8:57 a.m. (report)

So who exactly are the haters and why are you desperately seeking their approval for your career choice?

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Bassplr19 | Aug. 18, 2009 at 8:49 a.m. (report)

35109 Fashion is not the be-all-end-all to the world, it is not important and one (most people) should not aspire to be in the fashion industry. People should aspire to be smart, not as a previous person pointed out, vapid.

I'm sick of seeing people in the fashion industry talking and acting like they are the most important thing in the world. If you don't think they do, watch any fashion show on TV.

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