Gaga and NYFW: An Identity Crisis in the Making

Riffing off Lady Gaga’s tribute to the late David Bowie, which was a riff off her Superbowl anthem performance; which was a riff off her entire music career – I had to ask myself, in a world that seemingly celebrates individuality, slaying and #FIERCE: Why are we still so afraid to be ourselves?

I know folks on all points of the spectrum that ranges from monotony to Gaga. There are those who act prim and proper – I often wonder, is there a secret jester in them just waiting for the day they feel confident enough to let it out or are they just sadly, born boring? And then there are those who err on the side of extra, to which we have yet to find an antidote for, who are so self-involved and absolutely fascinating, in a train wreck kind of way (Kimye). And then there are those who, like Gaga, somehow make us so goddamn jealous of her balls to be who she is: a hundred thousand different people and no one in particular.

As the famous Italian playwright, Luigi Pirandello, imagines a world in which identity is protean, defined both internally and externally; a paradox that gives the self both confidence and doubt; how we see Gaga may not, in fact, be how she sees herself. In fact, how I see Gaga may not be how you see Gaga, either. Which brings me to my point: the person you think lies within you can never truly be communicated verbatim to the rest of us. There will always be an interpretation. A distortion of the truth marred by our own individual life experiences and perception.

Can we be OK with that?

Fashion week is a prime example of a moment when individuality is on display for all to see. In comes a hyperbolic performance of what one thinks is a cute outfit met by either a unanimous paparazzi pizza party or complete disregard. Regram or return to sender? It’s judgement day the minute you step out your Uber; and I never know how to play it. Do I go for it or play it safe? Do I wear the big fur hat or do I just put my hair in a loose chignon.

When I looked in the mirror the morning of this outfit (and this should be a caveat to the “did you look in the mirror before you left the house” diss) I saw a fun take on ski-chic attire paired with a casual pant that says, I don’t take this outfit too seriously. Normally, I wouldn’t do two puffs in one outfit – the one hanging on the bag and the one straddling my head – but I thought: fuck it, it’s fashion week.

Would the people on the outside understand my look, let alone admire it? If the basic woman who tried to stealthily Snapchat me to her friends in our hotel lobby was any indication, the answer is no. If beauty is really in the eye of the beholder, I was about to behold outfit shaming. Which didn’t at all happen, really, except for entirely in my head. ‘There she goes,’ they’ll say, ‘the peacocking pariah.’

I was afraid to be myself. I am afraid to be myself.  Though, I doubt I’m by myself in this. I could wear couture on Sunday, if I lived alone. Couldn’t we all?

Ultimately, I wore the hat with confidence. Turns out, it didn’t matter what people had to say about me because I could’t hear a damn thing from underneath it. And perhaps, that’s the most valuable lesson of all. Some might get it; some might hate it; and others might not be interested at all. But to pretend to be something you’re not just to fit in? Why that is sin sin sin. BLASPHEMY. Commercializing what you’ve already got? That is genius and one day I’ll dedicate a post to that as soon as I figure that out.

Next time you find yourself second-guessing, prioritizing what others may think of your display of individuality over the very act of being yourself remember that no one will ever really be able to see exactly what you see in the mirror. And frankly, when is that ever not a good thing?

And if you wanna copy my identity, shop my look here:

BCBGMAXAZRIA Spring 16 Runway jacket // BCBGMAXZAZRIA snakeskin clutch & furry hat // One Teaspoon jeans // Zara white turtleneck // Chinese Laundry Julius peep toe booties // Maripier Morin x BonLook sunglasses // Zara pom pom

Jetset Justine NYFW Street Style 12 Jetset Justine NYFW Street Style 11 Jetset Justine NYFW Street Style 05 Jetset Justine NYFW Street Style 10 Jetset Justine NYFW Street Style 09 Jetset Justine NYFW Street Style 07 Jetset Justine NYFW Street Style 01 Jetset Justine NYFW Street Style 08 Jetset Justine NYFW Street Style 04

19 Comments

  1. Natasha
    February 16, 2016 / 11:01 am

    So well written. So true! Sometimes you just gotta go for it!

    • Justine Iaboni
      February 16, 2016 / 11:15 am

      Ain’t that the truth! Thanks so much for stopping by and reading! xoxo J

  2. February 16, 2016 / 11:03 am

    Hilarious! You are ROCKING the fur hat, and whoever doesn’t appreciate it, just doesn’t understand what it is to be a Canadian in the midst of winter. Your outfit is very rocker-skier and I definitely love it! O Canada!

    • Justine Iaboni
      February 16, 2016 / 11:16 am

      Aw thanks so much! That hat was indeed very warm… too bad it didn’t snow the day I wore it. Would’ve made more sense! Thanks so much for starting a conversation here :) Love chatting with you! xoxo J

  3. February 16, 2016 / 11:11 am

    “I was afraid to be myself. I am afraid to be myself. Though, I doubt I’m by myself in this.”
    You’re certainly not by yourself in that.
    Great article.

    • Justine Iaboni
      February 16, 2016 / 11:18 am

      Hey stranger!!!!! Hope all is well. Definitely miss you! Thanks so much for reading my post :) Glad you enjoyed. Wish we lived in a world where we could be totally uninhibited. Now that would be fun :) xoxo J

  4. February 16, 2016 / 12:36 pm

    Your outfit is amazing! Love every detail of it. And the content..interesting and hilarious as always.

    AGNESE from http://www.theblogness.com

    • Justine Iaboni
      February 16, 2016 / 12:58 pm

      Thank you so much, Agnese! Ah – so glad you enjoyed the outfit and the post. Thanks for stopping by, as usual! xoxo J

  5. February 16, 2016 / 12:40 pm

    I love this post. It always feels like such a fine line between wearing what you want and being considered “stylish” by other people, when in reality they’re two different things. Oh, and:

    “If the basic woman who tried to stealthily Snapchat me to her friends in our hotel lobby was any indication…”

    story of my life. lol.

    xx

    • Justine Iaboni
      February 16, 2016 / 1:00 pm

      LOL right?????!!! It’s like our own internal style compass vs. the world. It’s hard not to want to have other people’s approval, admiration, acknowledgement but sometimes you gotta be comfortable being you regardless of the external. It’s definitely a hard act to balance!

      Thanks for stopping by and I’ll let you know if I see any secret snaps of you (and vice versa, please!!!) Although I doubt we follow any basic b’s

      xoxo J

    • Justine Iaboni
      February 16, 2016 / 3:58 pm

      Thanks, D!!! xoxo J

  6. February 16, 2016 / 8:34 pm

    As usual, your post didn’t dissapoint. Well said and great outfit.

    • Justine Iaboni
      February 16, 2016 / 10:49 pm

      Why thank you, Roslyn! So glad you stopped by to read :) Hope you’re well!

  7. Rachel Hawtin
    February 16, 2016 / 8:59 pm

    Love this! I used to rock a hat just like that in high school and I loved it and didn’t care who else did or didn’t! Being your self if the ultimate reward!

    • Justine Iaboni
      February 16, 2016 / 10:51 pm

      This is the second hat I’ve had that is this style and have struggled with both to make them work – but at the end of the day, they are warm and awesome. Who cares if I look like an RCMP on a stroll in Banff. And you’re right, being yourself IS the ultimate feel-good.

      Thanks for stopping by! xoxo J

  8. February 17, 2016 / 12:10 am

    I love, love, loved reading this girl! Love your comment, “Turns out, it didn’t matter what people had to say about me because I could’t hear a damn thing from underneath it.” That made me laugh so hard because you said that when I saw you there. But honestly you have some real truth here. I love the saying, stay in your own lane, and your post reminds me of just that. Hugs!
    VelvetandVino.com

    • Justine Iaboni
      February 17, 2016 / 12:31 pm

      Stay in your lane, boo. HAHA I love that expression, too!!! See, you experienced first hand the struggle of wearing that fluffy hat. Admittedly, your outfit was much more classy :) So happy we got to hang out a bit in NYC. XOXOXO J

  9. February 18, 2016 / 5:53 pm

    Fire look! I love your jacket. This post reminds me of one you did last year (maybe even 2014?!) about wearing an “out there” outfit in Toronto when some boys snickered (I think you mentioned they were wearing something from a mass-produced brand…) Why can’t people just internalize any disapproval instead of openly mocking it.

    There are some looks I’d definitely like to rock with impunity, that I know would get stares. Like backless dresses,sans bras to hell with my 34F boobs. Alas, maybe when I turn 47 & just don’t give a damn ;)

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