Fashion does not need to be painful, and there is no need to adhere to those trends that increase our discomfort if we do not wish to. Fashion should be all about self expression and identity, so find your own way of expressing yourself through style.
Have you ever come back from a ball, hobbling across the cobblestone in your stilettos, only to take off your shoes and find your feet red and angry? Have you ever woken up the next morning with feet still throbbing? Have you ever taken off a dress or a skirt to find your body lined with painful pink indents from where the clothing dug in?
Unfortunately, all of these things have happened to me too many times to count. I love heels, and anything strapped, and especially clothes that cinch at the waist. I'm so used to the discomfort that comes with wearing these outfits that I don't even notice it any more.
That's a shame- because fashion should not be painful. Women in particular get used to wearing clothes that aren't "comfortable" from a young age. Whether it be clingy t-shirts that you're constantly pulling at that highlight every bump, or tight jeans that limit your mobility, women grow up thinking that discomfort is the price of looking good. It's hard to walk into a store nowadays and find a piece of clothing that you don't have to adjust constantly so it falls "just so" or that isn't tighter than it needs to be, or doesn't have some other factor that makes you hyper conscious of what you're wearing. So much of today's aesthetic involves looking effortless, even though achieving this look takes large amounts of effort.
Why do we tolerate a society where it's normalized and expected that women sacrifice comfort and convenience for The Aesthetic? From pocketless jackets to heeled boots, it's practically impossible to find a piece of women's clothing that isn't impractical or restrictive.
Ultimately, clothes exist to keep you covered, and, more importantly, warm. They ought to serve roughly the same purpose as a blanket (though please do not show up to your lectures in a blanket and nothing else). Somewhere along the line this idea got lost, and women's fashion became a competition to see who could design the most uncomfortable piece of clothing. I'm not saying anyone should throw out their favorite pair of heels (or, in my case, the five pairs currently sitting in my closet), but I think it's worthwhile to ask ourselves in the morning once we're dressed: is this comfortable, really? If the answer is no: am I willing to sacrifice feeling comfortable in my own skin in order to look stylish?
There's nothing wrong with deciding to wear clothes that hurt when you take them off. However, this should be a conscious decision that women make, and not the default state of being a woman. Too often in our society women are expected to automatically sacrifice their comfort for the sake of appearances. It's time to start questioning that narrative.