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When I was a teenager, I was obsessed with appearing fashionable. I wanted branded clothes, shoes, and accessories. I wanted people to look at me and say, “that boy has style.” Everything I wore was a statement, particularly that of my budding sexuality. And everything I did as an adolescent and even into my late teens, was patterned after someone else. If I saw a celebrity wearing this or a friend wearing that, I had to have it too. I was obsessed with trends, and always wanted to be in-the-know.

And yet when I finally landed a job, and found myself dealing with the rigours of the working world, I found myself less interested in what I wore, what I had, what I bought, and to a certain extent, where I travelled. It’s ironic because now that I can afford to do so, I care less about the externals than ever before.

The way I dress today is primarily based on function and comfort. Fashion is merely incidental. I place value on looking decent, not on trying to stand out in the crowd. Gone are the skinny jeans, and tees with eye-catching graphics; gone are the pointy shoes, and staple metallic necklaces. Gone are the wild prints and patterns, the queer shirts and fancy jeans, the knockout bags and accessories. These days I like everything simple.

My closet is mostly in shades of black, white, and grey, with clothes bought from department stores, thrift stores, and souvenir shops. There are branded items here and there, but only as a result of seasonal sales. I rarely pay for something branded in full price. Most people won’t know the label of what I’m wearing anyway.

I also a stock of plain trousers, some good fitting jeans, and chino shorts. But that’s about it. There’s nothing made of silk or fancy fabrics, nothing too fitted, nothing fashion-forward. I don’t think I have style, and if I do, it must be questionable. Nevertheless, I prefer to really just blend in with the crowd. Even my dress shirts aren’t anything that would make you look at me. They would hardly scream corporate attire.

But as long as I look decent – I’m taking the MRT anyway, so much for pristine and crisp Onesimus shirts – I’m quite confident and comfortable with how I look. The same can be said with my shoes. I only have simple leather shoes and some comfortable loafers. And though in high school I despised them, I prefer sneakers now and even chucks when I’m going out with friends. Like I said, function over fashion is the philosophy I subscribed to these days.

See, working has exposed me to reality. When you’re commuting daily, you see the poverty in this country, and wearing something fancy not only looks out of place, but could even be the reason why you get mugged. Even my gadgets are hardly anything worth noting. I don’t own any iPhone or tablet computer. In fact, I hate anything touch screen because I find it such a pain to use.

I still like things with keyboards. When you spend a great deal of your work and home life writing, touch screen gadgets are a curse. And trust me, if you don’t have your own car then having expensive smartphones is not exactly logical. I always tell myself I’ll only buy one when I can afford to use it inside my tinted, arrogant, honking SUV. After all, it would be less stress worrying about snatchers inside jeepneys.

Hopefully I don’t come off sounding like an old man. I’m still quite young but I’m already getting tired of keeping up with everything new. Of course, I have a blog and social media accounts. But that’s about it. I’m afraid my parents are even better at these social networking sites than me. The truth is I’m beginning to be less interested in making a fuss about how I project myself to other people. Contrary to what most people say that fashion is about being you, it’s still about being you for others to see. I’m no longer fond about the “for others to see” aspect.

At the end of day we’re all going to die and what I wore or possessed won’t really matter, unless of course I made a living out of fashion or technology. I’d be dead, and I’d rather be remembered for my actions than my shirts. Now, more than ever, a simpler lifestyle suits me. I’m tired to hurrying in my life and obsessing about things I want but cannot afford. I’m quite happy with the things that I need which I already have. I’m not denouncing fashion per se. Hell, if there’s a really nice shirt from H&M for sale I’d probably buy it. But it’s not going to be the be all and end all of my life. I’m so much more than the clothes I wore. In fact, I’m so much more underneath the fabrics.

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