I just wanna wear what I wanna wear. Is that just so basic or what?
In response to the U of A Starter Pack. A little bit of background: here at the University of Alberta campus in Edmonton, some girls have really taken a liking to pulling together an outfit by wearing plaid, converse (most likely white), a ball cap, and a Contigo travel mug. Gemma Marcincoski aptly dubbed this the “University of Alberta Starter Pack” and posted it on the UAlberta Confessions Facebook page. This post went viral, and in the comments it was declared that this is definitely something a basic would wear.
What’s a basic? Well this time last year I would have told you that a basic (noun, not verb) or a basic bitch is a girl that wears uggs, leggings, a circle scarf, and drinks Pumpkin Spice Lattes. But seriously, the PSL comments are getting a bit old folks. Unless that PSL is in a Contigo mug, then your joke is still relevant.
But on a broader scale, calling someone a basic is a way to “pejoratively describe people who like popular, mainstream products”. In other words, calling someone a basic is an attack on their person for buying into popular trends. Calling someone a basic is at best calling them a little boring, and at worst calling them a robot-of-a-human.
Now that I’m done catching up everyone who missed 2014, let’s talk about this. Don’t get me wrong, the collage is hilarious, but as a young lass that likes to keep up with trends, I resent that my originality and even intelligence is questioned if I’m wearing “the uniform”. I’m not going to tell you that this is horribly offensive or that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I will defend basics as rational purchasers (’cause I’m a marketing student).
I’ve owned uggs, don’t care for pumpkin lattes, worn leggings, lived in Converse, tied plaid around my waist, and didn’t get the Contigo memo. For the most part, these are useful, functional products. Uggs really do keep you warm in the winter, leggings are a great alternative to sweat pants, and Converse truly is the most versatile shoe ever. I could see why people would criticize completely absurd or uncomfortable products that girls started wearing for no reason. But c’mon, we’re young girls that like to be comfortable. And if something is comfortable and on-trend, that’s all the more reason to wear it.
So my point is: unlike our critics would have you believe, maybe we’re not all dumb, mindless zombies that blindly bow down to the Tumblr fashion verdict. On the contrary, these products are popular because they are good products, both in their functionality and appearance (Uggs being the one very ugly exception). Buying the “it” item was still a rational purchase decision, with the awareness that it’s a popular item that happens to suit your needs.
So don’t tell me that I’m desperate to “fit in” because I spent $80 on lululemon leggings. I spent $80 on lululemon leggings because I saw girls wearing them, thought “damn, that looks fantastic”, assessed all the advantages of owning a pair, tried them on, thought they looked good, and bought them. If it didn’t look good or suit my needs, I wouldn’t have bought them. Most people don’t just blindly follow trends, they follow trends that work for them.
But yes, I will admit that tons of girls were wearing lulus before I owned a pair. Indeed, I bought them because other girls owned them – how else would I have known about it? But of course, this is exactly what a basic would say. Clearly, the fact that I bought something that other people were wearing before me is irrefutable evidence that I am a slave to mass culture and have no rational decision-making power. I should have been scouring Etsy for one-of-a-kind clothing, anything less really says a lot about my intelligence as a human being.
And guess what else, you non-basic people you: the fact that something is popular doesn’t faze us. It doesn’t matter if everyone else is wearing Chucks as long as it’s a faithful shoe. You’re criticizing us for wearing something popular, but you would not buy something because it’s popular. And that’s really too bad, because you’re missing out on some really kick-ass shoes just to look original. It’s kind of like when some hipster – oh I’m sorry, do you not like labels? – decides they hate The Beatles because they’re “overrated”.
Look at me being so basic with my plaid tied around my waist while wearing all stars. Gals: wear what you love and make it your own. Buy whatever you want to buy, and infuse it with your own personality. Follow trends if, and only if, they suit your taste, sense of style, body type, and needs. Shown above: demonstrating my ability to discern that while 2/4 items in the Starter Pack suit my personal style, a ball cap isn’t in the mix.
Dress: Aritzia. Plaid: Ralph Lauren Denim. Shoes: Converse.