Alter Identity Project

Friday November 15th, 2013

For this project, I bought this floral tank dress at Goodwill for $4 and I was pleasantly happy with the price. I choose something that was quite simple so I can wear it differently, plus it had floral print and it was in a shade of pink.

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*At the thrift store, Before picture.

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In the related text Identities Through Fashion, the authors wrote “fashion is a way of defining social affinities and, simultaneously,  a way of defining ourselves as distinct among our peers.” (pg 29) The picture above is how I would define myself, I like to be trendy but casual, comfort with a little attitude in what I wear. I dress to express my creative side, the type of music I’m into and also my social status.

ALTER IDENTITY DAY 1

Saturday November 16th, 2013

Surprisingly I went home unexpectedly for the weekend and it was actually perfect timing for my family to see me in this. So here I am, posing super girly and wearing the first girly outfit I put together. The floral dress, pink lipstick, fake eyelashes (you probably can’t tell), a pair of wedge heels, and I added a brown belt.

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My Experience For The Day

I wore this on my way home to Fresno, in the central California Valley. I stopped to get gas first and I felt really uncomfortable. I just didn’t feel like myself and I had to be cautious since I was wearing a dress. I didn’t want to get out of the car but of course I had no choice, I needed gas. I notice a guy who was also pumping gas on my left starring at me and I just couldn’t wait to be done. So I will say I kind of cheated, I didn’t end up wearing my wedges during the 3 1/2 hour drive and switched to a pair of boots because I was not use to driving in heels. But I put it back on when I arrived home. On my way to Fresno, there was this guy who was riding his motorcycle. He was on right side and made eye contact with me. I noticed he did a double take, and the for the next 10 minutes I was completely annoyed by this guy. He would cut in front of me and then slow down, pull to the side of me and stare at me, then go behind me. The thing that surprised me was when he rode his motorcycle behind me and he stood up and did a trick. I was completely shock and I was thinking if this was the response from what I was wearing. He kept rotating from my side, to the back, to the front and then finally he sped up and left. He definitely was showing off to me, but I was rather annoyed that impress. I stopped at my sister’s place since my mom wasn’t home yet. She was quite surprised, asking me like “What the heck.. Why are you dressed up? Did you come back from somewhere?”. So I decided to ask her a few questions.

Video Link: My sister Nancy Lee —> VIDEO

I then asked my niece, who is super super girly by the way.

Video Link: My niece Elaine Moua —> VIDEO

Arriving at my mom’s place, I also gave her a super short interview.

*Subtitles in the “about” section below.

Video Link: My mom —> VIDEO

Although she looked like she was too busy stuck on her phone, I promise you she loved it. She even made me try on some stuff for her.

*Proof, she kind of forced me into her boots. Subtitles in the “about” section below.

Video Link: My mom and the boots.. —> VIDEO

Not to mention, she made me try on her poncho coat, her sparkly heels, a skirt she bought, dresses, and many more. I was thinking what did I get myself into because my mom was really enjoying this, fitting me into all these things I would never wear. I was exhausted…

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But before I could take all this off, I had one last stop for night. I went out to have dinner with all my brothers and since I hardly see them, they didn’t think much. Since I’m a girl, they just thought it was normal for me to wear a dress. My sister for some reason did not want to carry her purse, so she made me carry it. I felt a little tortured because I’ve been wearing this all day and I hate carrying purses. Don’t get me wrong, I like carrying shoulder bags and mini side bags, but not the ones you carry around your arms.

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My first experience at this restaurant wasn’t that great but this second time around it was actually better, I felt like we had more customer service and all the men working there all said bye to us. I can’t say for sure it was because the girly version of me was there or maybe they just had great customer service today.

What I Learned Today

Anyhow, I learned a lot on this day, that I take at least an hour to put on fake eyelashes and how uncomfortable they are, that I had to sit straight up at the table (since I was wearing a dress so I couldn’t cross both my legs nor slouch back), that my mom seems to like me better wearing girly things, and that I don’t have much confidence in a dress.

 

ALTER IDENTITY DAY 2

Friday November 22nd, 2013

Today I got ready and headed out to the mall as my super girly self. Before I went out, I recorded my best friend/roommate’s reaction when she got home from work.

Video Link: Hnou (BFF) —> VIDEO

I didn’t record much but after that she told me I look foreign like I just got here from Southeast Asia, that I look like a fob, she mentioned how I looked too dressed up, and she was joking about how she didn’t know if she wanted to walk around with me. (She’s not used to this look.) I wore the floral dress and styled it with a khaki rain coat since it was going to rain a little. I added a pair of wedge heels which I’ve only worn once on an occasion, wearing fake eyelashes, purple heart earrings my mom gave me and I’ve never worn, a gold necklace and my best friend’s vintage side purse.

* Wearing fake eyelashes and a bright pink lipstick.

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*At the mall.

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My Experience For The Day

As I was pulling up to the parking lot, I hesitated. I wanted to go home and change but my best friend said we were already there so just get it over with. I had to go to the mall for my other class assignment so since I wanted to tackle two assignments at once I decided to just go in. I asked my best friend to be my observer and eyes, looking for people’s reaction. Before we entered into Macy’s a boy kept starring at me whom both me and her noticed. Going in and shopping, I kept complaining to her how uncomfortable I was. I actually couldn’t look at people in the eye, I just felt like I was too over dress for shopping. There was this one woman who walked passed us and looked at me very straight forward, she looked at me until she passed me. I was asking myself if I looked silly or something. Many people was at the mall since holiday is nearby and  a lot of girls kept observing my outfit. Throughout half of my time in the mall, I was very tired. My feet definitely was in pain, I had to sit down a lot and waited for my best friend since she did most of the shopping. I couldn’t enjoy shopping really, I was uncomfortable and didn’t feel good about myself. I entered to stores that I normally wouldn’t, like Abercrombie and Fitch, Hollister and American Eagle. When I was at some sections at Forever 21, I felt like I didn’t belong there because of how I was dressed. Also when I was at Charlotte Russe, while I was grabbing some beanies, the woman who worked there gave me a weird look. Halfway towards the ending at the mall, I slowly started not to care about what other people thought about how I look like. My wedge heels were killing me and my best friend wasn’t ready to leave yet since she was doing some Christmas shopping. My right eyelashes started to peel halfway off so I told her we had to leave, I was not going to stay any longer.

What I Learned Today

I reflected a lot about today’s experiences. I learned that I had no confidence in wearing a dress, that people’s reactions made me felt uncomfortable, and that maybe I’m just thinking too much about their reactions as well because I wasn’t so comfortable in what I was wearing. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be, and I learned that the longer I wore this I would eventually careless. (besides the heels.) This phrase from Identities Through Fashion, “Identity is formed based on the adolescent’s primary love figures from childhood and current relationships with family members, intimate friends, teacher and so forth who become the mirrors of the adolescent. … All this information becomes the material he uses to build his personal identities.” (pg 140) made me realize one thing, how I wasn’t surprised how my best friend reacted. We’ve known each other for almost 9 years, besides her I have two other close friends who I’ve grown up with. I noticed all three of them dislikes wearing dresses as well, that made me understand that my peers are also influential in a part of my decisions.

ALTER IDENTITY DAY 3

Saturday November 23rd, 21013

Taking another long 3 hours to get ready, I went out to have dinner with my best friend. For this girly look, I pinned my dress back to make it a bit tighter. My best friend let me borrow her pink blazer, her necklace and her bracelets. I added some pink lipstick, once again wearing the fake eyelashes, a pair of black heels, a pair of pink studded earrings, and a vintage side bag. I’ve never been so pink.

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* I forgot to take a picture inside the restaurant so I took one when I got home.

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My Experience For Today 

I honestly couldn’t stand looking at myself in the mirror, and I couldn’t believe I was going to be wearing a lot of pink. It’s weird adjusting to wearing a lot of dark colors to a full light outfit. My best friend said I look more girly than the day before. I made her dress up with me because I didn’t feel comfortable being the only one all dressed up. We were going to The Cheesecake Factory, so I thought it was appropriate to dress up like this even though I normally wouldn’t dress like this. As we got there, it was so really busy. The parking lot was ridiculously full and we couldn’t wait after several attempts to find a parking, plus I was not going to walk that far from the parking lot. I was really hungry so we ended up going to BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse. When we got there, I felt a little over dressed. Majority of the customers were casual with sweater and jeans. I felt a bit out of place, even though the grandma next to us and some of the guys were eyeing at me, as we sat down I didn’t care much because I was too hungry too care. From the public response, I just got a lot of stares. Not to mention, a man sitting at a high chair with his girlfriend was looking at me. I hope he didn’t get caught. I got a lot of stares maybe because I was in pink. When I went to the restroom, a man at the table in front of me looked because he can I tell I was having a little trouble walking in these mini heels. It was honestly due to the slippery tiles. I noticed my sitting poster was really a change, I had to sit with  my legs cross and I was extra cautious eating because I didn’t want anything to spill on the blazer.

What I Learned Today

I realized today that although I was all in pink, I was didn’t feel as uncomfortable as yesterday. Probably because I was sitting instead of standing for hours. In Identities Through Fashion the sentence “the colour, tone or texture of clothes: they are useful for expressing distinctions in terms of sex, age, occupation and ethnicity.” (pg 96) can relate to how I feel wearing this outfit. When you think of someone wearing pink, you automatically think the sex is female, that she is super feminine,  and that she is a teenager. If you were look at the type of pink clothing I was wearing you would think I am a teenager but since I have a blazer, it says that I am an adult since some teenagers would not think blazers are not that fashionable and yet more of a formal wear.

 

CONCLUSION:

What I learned about this experience was mostly about myself,  the answer to why I disliked wearing dresses so much. I don’t wear dresses on a daily bases or as a normal outfit is because I feel that I look like a kid. I’m already petite enough so wearing girly dresses make me look even more like a little girl. Since pink is too feminine for me, I lean more on the bold/dark color which represents a more masculine feel. I learned that fake eyelashes takes way to long let alone getting ready and they’re super uncomfortable, being girly has too many details with the accessories and purses, that I can not stand wearing heels all day, and how extra cautious I had to be wearing a dress (even with shorts underneath). After this project and wearing dresses out in public for some days, it made me realize that wearing a dress isn’t so bad. Although I wouldn’t wear a super girly dress in public again, I am actually thinking of wearing my traditional Hmong clothes for the Hmong New Year celebration event this year as another challenge for myself (I will face a huge crowd). Even though I got more starred at being my alter ego, I learn to not think so much. Lastly through this experience, I give credits to those girls/women who are able to dress up everyday in heels, dresses, bows, pink and eyelashes because it is time consuming.

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