Alter Identity

Posted on November 19, 2012

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Inspiration:

The section of my closet where I pick out my clothes everyday. (T-Shirts)

Section I used to alter my identity.

Before:

School

Concert!

Work

Day 1: 9 Hours
The first day of my alter ego project I went to my aunt’s house, my friend Antonio’s birthday dinner, and a show. Normally, for these types of activities I would dress casually but still try to look nice for the occasion being that it was his birthday. I would normally wear jeans and a t-shirt or maybe a blouse with sneakers for sure and maybe light make up with only blush. For this day, I took out a top and cardigan I purchased over the summer and have wanted to wear forever! I had yet to have a special occasion to wear it so thought this would be perfect. The top was a patterned button up with a high-low seam and the cardigan was long with sheer detailing. I paired this with black skinny jeans and a pair of black pumps and wore very elaborate dark eye makeup. After a really long hour and a half of getting ready I was finally ready to go. On my way to my aunts, one of the scariest encounters during the project was driving in heels! I was debating if I should wear flats and change but decided to try since I have never tried before. I was a little scared at first but very slowly started to get the hang of it until I pulled in her driveway and missed the brake and almost crashed! I have decided this was the last time I was going to drive with high heels. My aunts response to my dress was expected because I see her often however she was quite shocked to see me so done up. I dress most casual when I’m around her because we mainly do indoor activities such as cooking or sewing. She was very surprised I was wearing heels and complimented my outfit even though she had seen it when I bought it but didn’t seem to like it much.
                After 2 hours, I went with my boyfriend to our friend Antonio’s birthday dinner. Once we arrived him and his girlfriend were excited to see us and also gave me a compliment but didn’t see the whole outfit because they were seated. During dinner, I ordered a drink and didn’t get carded. This was unusual because almost every time I go out and order a drink I ALWAYS get carded. I think the way I was dressed made me look older and the waiter didn’t feel they had to card. After we ate and had a few drinks and were getting ready to go to the show. My friends finally noticed my outfit when we all stood to exit the restaurant because I was a foot + taller than my boyfriend! He is normally like 2 inches shorter than me so by adding the heels I towered over him! When I left the restaurant, we were seated close to the bar so I noticed some people look at me more than they would if I was dresses more casual. Once we got to the show, the employees were all male and were staring directly at me. I felt a little uncomfortable because there were few people and was getting a lot of attention I wasn’t used to. At the end of night, we separated and I was walking with my boyfriend to the car. I noticed a group of three girls staring at me and I think it was more due to my height when standing with my boyfriend rather than my dress but it could have also been a contributing factor. The last few steps to the car were torture I felt like my feet were going to fall off! Once I finally got home after being out all day I still had the long process of changing my clothes and spent almost ten minutes taking off all my makeup. This was a good start to my first day of my transformation but boy was it a lot of work!

Day 2: 7 hours
On my second day I went with my friend Lidia to UCLA and LACMA for school. We were able to go on a Saturday and I was happy because there would be more people out and I would be able to get more reactions from people. This day the weather was HOT so I would normally wear denim shorts, a t-shirt, and sneakers or flip flops. For the project I decided to wear a cute dress with sandals. I knew we were going to do a lot of walking so heels were ought of the question for my own sanity but I have worn these sandals before and figured they would work. I also wore a hot pink purse with lace that my sister bought over the summer but has yet to use. After getting ready and doing my makeup and hair in a side braid I was finally able to leave. On my way out of my house I saw my aunt’s husband, Jack who was working on the house. He has never seen me dressed up ever since I met him 3 years ago I am always in my everyday dress or work uniform. With this said, he was very surprised and asked where we were going and why we were so dressed up. This was an unexpected reaction. Once we got to UCLA, we looked at the directory and were trying to figure out where to go. There weren’t that many people out however, the few that we saw did look at us and stared. Most of the students were wearing jeans and flip flops so we looked much overdressed and out of place when we were walking down the walkway. It just so happened to be parent’s weekend for the campus so we saw several students with their parents. I assumed most were from out of town, because based on their dress it was different than what I usually see in Southern California. In the exhibit, I noticed an older woman who looked at me and was very nice. She smiled and asked me how I was doing. This is something I am not normally used to because most people don’t really talk or ask me questions unless I am with my twin. Nevertheless, the exhibit at UCLA was very interesting and so cool! On my way out I dropped my notebook! GASP! This dress was pretty short! I was wearing full on shorts underneath but as I went to pick it up I could tell a lot was exposed even though it was technically covered. As I looked over my shoulder I realized a group of older men got a lot more then they wanted to see.
                We then drove to LACMA which was super busy! There were tons of people out everywhere. Although there were some people who were casual there were still several that were dressed similar to me. This was one of the only times I didn’t feel so dressed up. I think because so many people were there especially with families it took away from people walking by themselves and just looking at me. After leaving LACMA, we went to eat. We went to a restaurant that I have been to several times and even made friends with. As we were seated, the bar tendered approached us and asked how I was doing. When we were seated we were given a waitress and she came to check on our table several times throughout our meal. However, we had three different busboys as well as the hostess come back and check on our table. The place was rather empty which I thought was odd that all these guys kept checking up on us. The worst part of my day was when I finally got home and was able to change. I was really tired from walking all over the place all day long and was more than ready to change out of this short dress. I got a rash all over my legs from walking and a HUGE blister on the bottom of my foot! Those sandals were killing my feet and definitely not the right choice! I was in so much pain when I got home and just had to lay there because I couldn’t stand or walk! This was one of the worst experiences I had during my project.

Day 3: 5 Hours

This was the beginning of day lights savings so it was already pitch black dark outside by 4:45 pm. Therefore, I decided to go shopping because there is always plenty of bright fluorescent light and always people. I decided to wear the most form fitting dress I had mainly because it had sleeves and it was a cold night. My other dress options were sleeveless and I didn’t bring a jacket. I liked the dress but it became uncomfortable very quickly because it was pretty short and I was also wearing heels. I wore nylons under because it was cold with a scarf and matching bow headband, which is something, I never really do. I wore my hair down which was the biggest mistake of the night! It was horrible!

I ended up going to Staples, Michaels, World Market, TJ Maxx and Nordstrom’s Rack.  The most reaction out of people I believe was in the parking lot because of the weather. Most people were wearing sweats and sweaters and I was in a small dress with heels. I went just to get reactions but I ended up doing a lot of shopping and picked up a few things. I felt confident right when I left the house but became more and more self-conscious when I was in public. I felt completely out of my element for the first time since doing the project and just wanted to change the entire time! I personally felt that it was so silly to put so much work into getting ready including my hair and make up to simply run a few errands. I was at this point envious of all the people in jeans around me! This is when I realized how much the readings of dressing for comfort as well as control applied to me. I felt like I had no control simply because of what I was wearing. These things did not identify me or reflect my personal style at all! It took my third attempt at the project to finally understand that even a subtle change such as this would have such a large impact on others and me around me. When shopping people would stare but I found that the employees were much nicer than if I were in my normal dress. I think I looked nicer and if I had more money or was more eager to shop and therefore was giving me more service as a customer. This was definitely my least favorite day of the project but was when I finally realized not only the publics reaction but also more my own.

“Natasha, Why don’t you wear your hair down?”

Day 4: 5 Hours

This Saturday I decided to go to brunch at the Cheesecake Factory with my boyfriend before working at night. I wore another dress with some wedges. I bought these shoes maybe 2 summers ago and have never worn them so I thought they would be the perfect ones. I paired it with this William Rast jacket I bought awhile back and have rarely worn and a really nice Juicy Couture purse my mom bought me for my birthday awhile back. I really liked this outfit because it was made up of all things I loved and bought but never worn until now. We parked maybe 3 blocks away so the walk to the restaurant was pretty difficult because I wasn’t used to these shoes at all but I was able to manage. The employees at the restaurant were very friendly but I think at this location they have high standards for courtesy. Nevertheless, when I entered the restaurant I felt very overdressed which was ironic considering every time I go there I was feel underdressed in my casual wear. I once again ordered a drink and didn’t get carded by the waiter. This again was a surprise since I always get carded as I mentioned earlier. I think dressing up made me look older. The meal was very nice and the restaurant was very crowed. We were seated next to many people and the tables were in arms reach from each other.

After lunch, I walked outdoors for a while and went into a few stores. I went into Anthropologie were I had gone into a few months before and wanted to see if I received a different reaction. I was greeted by more than one employee and asked if I needed any additional help, which was surprising because there were a lot of people inside the store. On the way back to the car I got a lot of stares but still felt comfortable. As we entered the parking lot a man inside a car kept calling us. I told my boyfriend and it turned out it was his cousin with his family. This was my first time meeting him and his wife. My boyfriend made it to their car first and I was walking more carefully behind. As we headed to our car he said that the first thing his cousin’s wife said to him was “Oh My God. She’s Beautiful!” I wonder if she would have felt the same if I was in my casual wear.

Day 5: 8 Hours

I wanted to incorporate the project into work because it is uniform. We have to wear the colors red and khaki. With this said, it is extremely hard to have freedom to incorporate your style in anyway shape or form. This is perhaps one of the most frustrating yet enjoyable aspects of my job. I love that we all dress the same so it is equal with everyone. I also love that there is no thought of what I am going to wear because it is almost always the same thing. This was going to be the subtlest change of the project but I thought would also have a big impact. I was going to be the one working and therefore people were going to be approaching me. Sometimes people are friendlier than others. I wanted to see if my change in appearance would change the way customers were towards me at work. I decided to wear nicer American Eagle pants and Aeropostale thermal. These are nicer items that I have that haven’t been destroyed. I also wore a lot of make up which was a change because I tend to not wear any to work because I have the tendency to always rub my eyes. I also added a bright glitter pink bow. This I also bought on impulse and never wore so thought I should wear it.

My main reaction was from co-workers mainly complimenting my make up. My manager also commented on my bow and said how much he loved it. People were a bit friendlier but nothing shocking. I think people took my opinions more when I was suggesting products rather than saying thank you. My co-workers have seen me dresses up however, it was shocking to see how big a difference make up can make with the females. Overall, I am always busy at work moving a lot of things and working in the back. Therefore, it was a positive change but wasn’t as practical for what I was doing for the day.

Overall, this project was an enjoyable experience which allowed me to wear things I have had forever but never worn! It allowed me to definitely be out of my comfort zone in more ways then one and looked at all the topics we have looked at over the quarter. Although todays dress is in no way comparable to the elegance and personalization as it once was there are still pieces that are identifiers. Whether people chose to be apart of a group, dress to impress, or dress for themselves they are ultimately dressing for some reason or another. I have learned I should take the time every now and again to dress up even if it is for work and don’t buy another thing unless I am going to wear it! The extra effort can be worth it and it inevitably why I majored in fashion and I need to grow up and break out of my “student” dress I have come to LOVe so much!

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Posted in: ART 302