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Kitty Gnar-Gnar's avatar

Magic Mage

So I started taking a class on fashion analysis recently, and that is some fascinating s**t, I tell you what.

The first piece of information we receive on a person when we meet them for the first time is what they look like, and how they dress- it's a method of communication, and possibly the most unique and powerful non-lingual method we have of communicating with each other. It takes mere seconds for the human brain to look at someone and make a judgement- wholly automatic- about who they are, what they do for a living, and whether or not they are compatible with you. And this impression is terribly difficult to shake- it's called the umbrella effect.

We get a kind of watered-down version of this on Gaia- people can 'see' you for the first time a multitude of times, since most of the other visual (non-lingual) cues that cause the human brain to recognize individuals can be entirely rewritten and re-molded on an avatar with a few clicks of a mouse. But I would saaaay, that how someone looks at the start of a conversation definitely might color your impression of them through that interaction, yes?

So what do your clothes say?

No, I mean, really. Think about it. Beyond the obvious s**t like 'I like cute stuff' or 'I'm furry' or 'I like doctor who'. What you put on that avatar speaks volumes about you, whether you realize it or not. What you like. What you wish you were like. What you value, what's important to you. If you're shy, or outgoing, or responsible. The job you wish you had. (me I just wish I got paid to be the wizard I already am)
Is there a difference between what you want to say with the way you dress, and what you're actually saying? Self-expression is a hell of a tricky thing to get the hang of, and not everybody automatically knows how to project the kind of impression they want to.

In my textbook here it says that typically, social people dress highly decoratively regardless of current trends, confident people dress in the very latest fad- ahead of the curve, even, shy people dress as similarly to those around them that they can, and responsible people dress practically and economically. Does your avatar slot into one of those? Does your avatar slot into the category that you think is in-line with your personality? Do you conform to fit in with people around you? (lol, loaded question I know. don't get offended, it's psychology, you're not exempt.)

Evidence strongly suggests that early hominids did not in fact start wearing clothing for warmth, but purely for adornment. This s**t is quite possibly older than the wheel.

Much like the language of fans or handkerchiefs, clothing can be used to send a very deliberate message as well! Like dressing up as gay and fabulous as possible in response to some mouthbreather calling you a 'f*****t'. Ever done something like that? I'll show one of my favorite examples of this in another post if you're interested.

And I should stop there, because that's already a lot of questions to pick and choose from. You don't have to answer all of them.

-And if you didn't read any of that, and as a bonus round for those of you in the audience who're awake, tektek up an avatar of your own IRL self and set it beside your avatar, and try to analyse the difference.

I don't know how to end posts, the movie, the game.

...You have until I finish this bottle of Jim Beam before I stop replying. Go!

...Right, my absolute top favorite example of shitting someone by clothing alone:

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Destiny of the Daleks, the first Doctor Who episode featuring Lalla Ward as Romana II. And check out what she is wearing there.

That is the exact same iconic ensemble as Tom Baker's Doctor. But in a lovely tasteful pink and white.

That, my friends, is how you take the piss out of someone, Time Lady style.
Lazarus Larkin's avatar

Gaian

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Why yes, there is a part of me that really, really wishes I was a burly dude with awesome sideburns... no sense keeping that a secret rofl

This current avatar, I dressed this way precisely because I was trying to get out of my standard comfort zone of avatars, which I usually dress in more of a fancy historical (usually Victorian) style.
Kitty Gnar-Gnar's avatar

Magic Mage

Lazarus Larkin
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Why yes, there is a part of me that really, really wishes I was a burly dude with awesome sideburns... no sense keeping that a secret rofl

This current avatar, I dressed this way precisely because I was trying to get out of my standard comfort zone of avatars, which I usually dress in more of a fancy historical (usually Victorian) style.

Ahhh, oh well. XD That's the grand thing about Gaia dress-up. Wish fulfillment.

Your current avatar kind of looks like it fell out of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. I like it.
Frothy's avatar

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My current avatar communicates that I am impatient for Valentine's Day for the only other time besides Easter when I dress in frilly things. Pink for everybody! Hearts everywhere!

The problem with trying to translate that sort of thinking onto an avatar site like this one- and I'm sure you already recognize this- is that our avatar arrangements are so much more fluid than our real world tastes. There are also less real world factors that can influence choice; money, for instance, is decidedly less of a factor than in the real world.

There's also the inherant anonymity that simultaneously frees us to express ourselves through our avatars however we please because we could be anybody, but at the same time hinders us for the exact same reason- we could be anybody, what does it matter how we dress? Without direct real world interaction, direct real world consequences, there is less invested in the image put forth by the user.

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Kitty Gnar-Gnar's avatar

Magic Mage

Frothy
My current avatar communicates that I am impatient for Valentine's Day for the only other time besides Easter when I dress in frilly things. Pink for everybody! Hearts everywhere!

The problem with trying to translate that sort of thinking onto an avatar site like this one- and I'm sure you already recognize this- is that our avatar arrangements are so much more fluid than our real world tastes. There are also less real world factors that can influence choice; money, for instance, is decidedly less of a factor than in the real world.

There's also the inherant anonymity that simultaneously frees us to express ourselves through our avatars however we please because we could be anybody, but at the same time hinders us for the exact same reason- we could be anybody, what does it matter how we dress? Without direct real world interaction, direct real world consequences, there is less invested in the image put forth by the user.

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It's an interesting dichotomy! Gaia can let people be more true to themselves, by virtue of removing a lot of financial and practicality restrictions- I feel like a lot fewer people wear an avatar like a disguise than you'd think. But you can change in an instant, on a whim, just to be contrary.
Lulu the Mainspring Lady's avatar

Dapper Genius

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In terms of IRL, I've spent the end of last year and the beginning of this one slowly building my confidence, and along with my shiny new attitude- essentially 'This is me, I love animals and people, I'm a writer and this is a lifestyle as much as it is a vocation; also men cannot intimidate me anymore so just tryyyy itttt and see what happens- I do look different.

I've become tremendously ******** proud of the things that both give me experiences others can't share directly, and sets me quite permanently apart in ways that make me a bit sad sometimes. sweatdrop But I have my kindred spirits- you amongst them biggrin -and a girlfriend who I'm sure is glad that I feel like I've gotten substantially tougher. ninja

But on topic,I have definitely begun to dress more in accordance with who I actually am and how I actually feel. And you know what? I am a million times more confident doing that than dressing 'normally'. It's psychological, I think- who you are is on your sleeve. It's just there. Come at me. This is extending to body mods, as well, ie. the plethora of holes I'm putting in my ears and a tattoo I'm sort of diddling with the idea of (full cyborg arm, yes >_> ).

I believe this carries over to my avatars- even though I'm really only using the one. Loud, colourful, attitude-y, wingflittery, out there, making a statement.

And (I actually just told you this story but for the purposes of this thread I'm gonna tell it again LOL) it has an effect on how -I- behave. Perhaps that's the other side of the whole shebang:

I was in the park, minding my own business, sitting on a bench dressed in accordance with making myself feel god damn good.

User Image

... when a rather large, bodybuilder-type with the big douchey sunglasses came out of nowhere and started yelling at me. I'm still not quite sure what his problem was, but he was pretty sure he could scare me out of the park. Ordinarily, I may have cowered and ran away. The man WAS a lot bigger than I am- and I'm no slip of a thing.

But no. I was out enjoying my life. I wasn't hurting anyone. And something, in a strange way, cracked- bullSHIT I was going to let anyone scare me off like that. I looked him right in the eye and told him more or less that he can't ******** intimidate me. And hearing myself say it made me mean it that god damned much more.

He could have punched me, for all I cared- it wasn't the point. I was making a statement, and that statement wasn't just in what I'd said. It was in how I looked. It was in what I did. It was in all those little things that get mirrored in their own ways in our Gaia activity, but in a more direct physical macrocosm. Well, he ended up backing down (sort of, he did spit on me) and left the park.

Self-expression is more than the image struck within another at first engagement- more important, I think, is how it affects how YOU shape your interactions. I know when I don't feel good about myself I don't put the best foot forward. It would make sense if this extends to Gaia avatars. I feel pretty 'myself' in this avatar, in that it's as abstractly ideal as I can picture. If I were to have an idealised IRL version of myself, it'd be more along this line.

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Lulu the Mainspring Lady's avatar

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I just got a Pink Box.

I take this as Gaia concurring that I am ******** legendary.
Frothy's avatar

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Kitty Gnar-Gnar
It's an interesting dichotomy! Gaia can let people be more true to themselves, by virtue of removing a lot of financial and practicality restrictions- I feel like a lot fewer people wear an avatar like a disguise than you'd think. But you can change in an instant, on a whim, just to be contrary.


I would argue that it's less disguise and more wish fulfillment. Many users, particularly the very young and those inexperienced with dress up sites, initially use their avatars as a means of expressing their personal, real world style with hints of the fantastic in a very linear way. For instance, the female avatar dressed in clothing items that could be found in a real world retail setting with "normal" hair and facial features but then she's got a Gwee on her shoulder. I think that's why so many younger users or "learning" users take avatar criticisms (when they ask for them) so personally. They see their avatars as themselves- literally, themselves made into pixels- and they're dressed in all these items which individually they think are amazing so the sum of the items should also be amazing, right? Never mind that they're in black booty shorts, neon pink ski boots, a blue top with a red hair bow and yellow sparkly earrings or something.

It's only as they mature or grow to understand that there is no limit to what they can create- particularly across race, gender, or even species- that they start to formulate a pseudo fashion sense of their own.
Reichiru Tomoe's avatar

Stalker

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Hmmm

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Well, the Edmund's are easy. Compensating for my forever alone syndrome. lol

If I really want to try and psychoanalyze my choice of avatar, I could go with the fact that I have worn the same thing since, like, 2008 with some small upgrades. I dress for comfort in IRL and tend to be pretty low maintenance. I have no one to impress sitting at my computer. Having the same avatar for several years might reflect that same trait. The avatar is easy and uncomplicated; comfortable. I get irritated going through my inventory trying to make a new avatar, much like I get irritated when I go shopping.

Although, the original inspiration for the outfit was I started with purple hair and was all "crap, now I have to find purple items to match."

And LOL I just got a pink box too.
Kitty Gnar-Gnar's avatar

Magic Mage

Luboticus
In terms of IRL, I've spent the end of last year and the beginning of this one slowly building my confidence, and along with my shiny new attitude- essentially 'This is me, I love animals and people, I'm a writer and this is a lifestyle as much as it is a vocation; also men cannot intimidate me anymore so just tryyyy itttt and see what happens- I do look different.

I've become tremendously ******** proud of the things that both give me experiences others can't share directly, and sets me quite permanently apart in ways that make me a bit sad sometimes. sweatdrop But I have my kindred spirits- you amongst them biggrin -and a girlfriend who I'm sure is glad that I feel like I've gotten substantially tougher. ninja

But on topic,I have definitely begun to dress more in accordance with who I actually am and how I actually feel. And you know what? I am a million times more confident doing that than dressing 'normally'. It's psychological, I think- who you are is on your sleeve. It's just there. Come at me. This is extending to body mods, as well, ie. the plethora of holes I'm putting in my ears and a tattoo I'm sort of diddling with the idea of (full cyborg arm, yes >_> ).

I believe this carries over to my avatars- even though I'm really only using the one. Loud, colourful, attitude-y, wingflittery, out there, making a statement.

And (I actually just told you this story but for the purposes of this thread I'm gonna tell it again LOL) it has an effect on how -I- behave. Perhaps that's the other side of the whole shebang:

I was in the park, minding my own business, sitting on a bench dressed in accordance with making myself feel god damn good.

User Image

... when a rather large, bodybuilder-type with the big douchey sunglasses came out of nowhere and started yelling at me. I'm still not quite sure what his problem was, but he was pretty sure he could scare me out of the park. Ordinarily, I may have cowered and ran away. The man WAS a lot bigger than I am- and I'm no slip of a thing.

But no. I was out enjoying my life. I wasn't hurting anyone. And something, in a strange way, cracked- bullSHIT I was going to let anyone scare me off like that. I looked him right in the eye and told him more or less that he can't ******** intimidate me. And hearing myself say it made me mean it that god damned much more.

He could have punched me, for all I cared- it wasn't the point. I was making a statement, and that statement wasn't just in what I'd said. It was in how I looked. It was in what I did. It was in all those little things that get mirrored in their own ways in our Gaia activity, but in a more direct physical macrocosm. Well, he ended up backing down (sort of, he did spit on me) and left the park.

Self-expression is more than the image struck within another at first engagement- more important, I think, is how it affects how YOU shape your interactions. I know when I don't feel good about myself I don't put the best foot forward. It would make sense if this extends to Gaia avatars. I feel pretty 'myself' in this avatar, in that it's as abstractly ideal as I can picture. If I were to have an idealised IRL version of myself, it'd be more along this line.

User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show.


*falls over*

man you just gave me a whole lot of feelings. i don't even know what to say now.

That is just goddamn inspiring. It's fantastic that how you dress has made such an impact on your confidence- wear the clothes of the person you want to beeeeee and it makes a difference. I too have noticed a version of this phenomenon as I slowly creep towards dressing like a Victorian man of leisure and low character IRL. I don't shake so bad I have to sit down anymore when I get hissing mad at college administrators or heroin addict relatives! haaaa.

That avatar is self-expression at its very finest.
Kitty Gnar-Gnar's avatar

Magic Mage

Frothy
Kitty Gnar-Gnar
It's an interesting dichotomy! Gaia can let people be more true to themselves, by virtue of removing a lot of financial and practicality restrictions- I feel like a lot fewer people wear an avatar like a disguise than you'd think. But you can change in an instant, on a whim, just to be contrary.


I would argue that it's less disguise and more wish fulfillment. Many users, particularly the very young and those inexperienced with dress up sites, initially use their avatars as a means of expressing their personal, real world style with hints of the fantastic in a very linear way. For instance, the female avatar dressed in clothing items that could be found in a real world retail setting with "normal" hair and facial features but then she's got a Gwee on her shoulder. I think that's why so many younger users or "learning" users take avatar criticisms (when they ask for them) so personally. They see their avatars as themselves- literally, themselves made into pixels- and they're dressed in all these items which individually they think are amazing so the sum of the items should also be amazing, right? Never mind that they're in black booty shorts, neon pink ski boots, a blue top with a red hair bow and yellow sparkly earrings or something.

It's only as they mature or grow to understand that there is no limit to what they can create- particularly across race, gender, or even species- that they start to formulate a pseudo fashion sense of their own.


3nodding Yes good this 100%. It's like how someone's personal style grows and develops as they grow up- you start out just wearing clothes, but the more you figure yourself out, you start wearing outfits.
Kitty Gnar-Gnar's avatar

Magic Mage

Reichiru Tomoe
Hmmm

User Image User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show.

Well, the Edmund's are easy. Compensating for my forever alone syndrome. lol

If I really want to try and psychoanalyze my choice of avatar, I could go with the fact that I have worn the same thing since, like, 2008 with some small upgrades. I dress for comfort in IRL and tend to be pretty low maintenance. I have no one to impress sitting at my computer. Having the same avatar for several years might reflect that same trait. The avatar is easy and uncomplicated; comfortable. I get irritated going through my inventory trying to make a new avatar, much like I get irritated when I go shopping.

Although, the original inspiration for the outfit was I started with purple hair and was all "crap, now I have to find purple items to match."

And LOL I just got a pink box too.

Interesting! Low-maintenance in both reality and fantasy. And hey, Edmund's a good pick for a fictional waifu. ninja

XD I remember the one time I tried purple hair IRL for like a week, I looked at my closet and went

... well

crap neutral
Hmm I'm not sure what my avi's say about me. Maybe that I like fantasy stuff. That I secretly want to run around all day in my underwear? Who knows. My real life outfit currently consists of pjs. I tend to wear praying mantises a lot, does that count for something. *Cuddles her buggy babies.*
Flavienne's avatar

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Yeah, I love my short shorts + leggings/knee-high socks + boots/sneakers. whee Well, I guess most of the outfits I make for this avatar match my RL taste in clothing. I guess my attitude when it comes to outfit choices both here and IRL are the same. I don't care if people think my choice of clothing is different or even weird (Flat shoes seem to be popular with girls here; I never wear those. I don't do girly.). On Gaia, when a nice new item is released I tend to be tempted to get that item, but I usually change my mind once I see too many avatars wearing those items/combos (eg. Bremen and Keiko). As if my avatars looked unique. :)) I usually don't pay much attention to matching and stuff. Basically I think it shows that "I don't care what you think, I just want be unique" side of mine. And finally, the whole musician/guitarist thing? It symbolizes an insecurity of mine. I'm actually really jealous of my boyfriend's musical talent.


That class your taking sounds interesting. Heh, maybe because I once planned shifting to fashion design. sweatdrop
Marie-Cris's avatar

Salty Phantom

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...

That I make really crappy avis?

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It's actually how my avi looks like under the wigs and cat skin; and I do show off my hair in various avis. IRL, my hair curls at the end, particularly when it dries without heat.

I think I'm somewhat of a in-denial-wannabe. I'm rather anti-social, but a lot of the time when I go out ((unless it's too hot and I'd feel more comfortable as a dag)) I dress up in a neat casual, which means jeans, boots, a dress-up, and a fair bit of jewellry; not flashy jewellry, generally earth-toned stuff, sometimes fake pearls ((depending on the outfit)) ... nothing that you'd call "bling" ((so why my sister keeps buying that crap for me for my birthday I'll never know)). I love to read and write, hence all the books; there are a lot of books in our house. Though, if tektek had had it, I probably would have surrounded my avi with animated movies and CDs, as my collection of those is far bigger than my store of books ((and it's reverse for my partner; it's just how we spent our money growing up)).

My Gaian self is symbolic with certain items; the music notes, mainly, as I've always loved to sing, and even studied Classical Voice at the Elder Con in Adelaide ((before I went broke and got sick of living in a basement where I'd wake up to earthworms on my carpet every morning XD)). The cat fur is a hint to not only the fact that I like cats ((I'm not an obsessive cat-lover, I just like cats. And love the ones we own. Plus our dog, but I can't be two animals at once)), but also that my Chinese Zodiacal animal is the Tiger ((Fire Tiger. Roar!)).

Oh, and the cat is there in memorial of my partner's departed cat, Cricket, who we lost in '11. I knew him only for a short time, but I loved him.

Everything else ... I think it shows how much I wish I could dress up in really pretty colours and clothing, but that my body won't allow it. I must add, though, that a lot of the time I'm just trying to create a good outfit with a certain item in my inventory. Today's showpiece happened to be the Black GetaGRIP Skirt.

...

I ramble too much. sweatdrop

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