Retail subculture

Greek or American fashionistas share equal amounts of obsessive compulsive behavior when it comes to clothes. Fashion and its ability/promise to glamorize our simple existence is at its best this time of the year (see pre-Christmas & meta-Thanksgiving).

Some things though, differ. A lot. And it’s not just marketing and prices and trends and shop-window displays. Yes, juicy is way pricier in Athens than in any state of the continental US. So are a lot of other American (or not) brands that are currently amidst a fashion must-have turmoil. BUT there’s something else there. Something bold, cultural and strikingly different between the two countries. It’s the way people wear the stuff. And the way wearers and sales girls in Athens share an incomprehensibly unrelenting stick-up-the-a… air as though the rest of us are not worthy of being in their presence, cause the air up there where their nose is contains particles of who-will-ever fu**memonia that they mistake for funky behavior.

Don’t get me wrong. I do believe Greek women do the clothes justice. But having gone through the trouble of wearing the right hair and makeup and doing their nails just right and accessorizing just enough or just enough over the top only to adequately impress the sales madams to give them the time of day EVENTUALLY takes a great big toll on them. And they believe the storyline. They are queen. The joke turns to reality and reality & marketing become one.

I’m not saying things in the US are so much better. I am sure both cultures share their fair share of up-tightness (let us stay on the polite side). Yet, I can not for the life of me remember an instance where a sales person in DC, Baltimore or New York took a shot at making me feel irrelevant or an annoyance. Who knows? Maybe it’s the hair, or the laid back look or not bothering to do my nails or find the most striking shoes for the outfit. Maybe after having crossed the limit of a certain amount of time in the U.S. one can no longer grasp the cultural implications every single piece of attire carries. And the hair, of course. And the nails.

It’s funny how the very things I used to think were off in the U.S. I now feel are off in Greece. Have I changed or have I created my very own ideal fashion dosage that presumably should work in both countries?

One way or another, style does not equal or preclude substance and individual needs, cravings and ideology matter more than underlying cultural orders. I suppose I’d have to side with the relaxed American attitude here or the greater french “je m’en fous” ideology, if that’s all right with you…


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