Style Psychology: Ugly, But Cool
Have you ever been attracted to something (or someone) you never would have considered your type? You know, something that doesn’t fit into your usual style, something that doesn’t “look like you?”
I never bothered to take psych in college, so I’m not sure if this particular condition has a name, but I do know it’s happened to me before. I still regret not buying some of the ugliest rings I’ve ever laid eyes on (they were on clearance, no less!) because I loved them so–and it’s been at least five years. The thing is, they were ugly but cool.
To delve a little deeper into this extremely important and world-changing psychological insight, I decided to conduct a bit of fantasy internet shopping in an attempt to create a look with items I am simultaneously repulsed by/attracted to:
1. Scarf, Urban Outfitters. Okay, I actually like this scarf, but I needed something to balance out the items I don’t like.
2. Denim jacket, Old Navy. I promised myself years ago that I would never wear regular old boxy-cut denim jackets again because I was burnt out on my (surprisingly Helmut Lang-ish) Old Navy version and SO tired of seeing everyone else in them. I guess Old Navy strikes back.
3. Sonia Rykiel dress, Milk Boutique. This is the kicker, folks. Everything about this dress is not me. I hate plaid. It’s pastel. There’s a big bow on the chest. It’s not extra short or extra long. It looks like something a milkmaid would wear for chrissakes! And yet…something about it calls out to me. It draws me in–unwillingly, but inexorably. What is that?
4. Bracelets, Anthropologie. I’m not usually into fairy-dust beribboned girly-girl stuff, but hey. What can you do?
And for the grotesque grand finale:
Jeffrey Campbell shoes, Free People
So much about these booties(?) is wrong: the slightly curved platform, an open toe reminiscent of pig’s feet, clown-ish front lacing . Let’s face it, they’re ugly.
But I bought them. I bought them instead of one of the other pairs I was considering even though they don’t really meet the criteria. Why? Because, as a heavily inebriated yet surprisingly insightful friend told me this weekend, “Yes, they’re ugly. But they’re cool.”
So that, my friends, is my official scientific explanation for the “don’t like it but am strangely attracted to it” phenomenon. Am I completely off base here? Or has it happened to you, too?