I hope that after hearing about this word, you would have found yourself excited. A thought would have crossed your mind about what is in store for me here, just like when we are about to enter a store to buy something to ornament ourselves with. With this similar kind of excitement, I pen down my thoughts here for you.
Let’s go by the definition provided through various sources. Adornment refers to all that which is used to ornament oneself with. Just like there are varied kinds of adornments, there are varied choices as well. It can also be observed that adornment holds a position that can be different from that of the other individual in each one of our lives. As it is said, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder-so is the idea of adornment subjective.
Adorning oneself is not exclusive to any specific gender. If we look at history, traditions of fashion concerning any gender, it would be evident that it was not only for women. Its presence has indeed been more dominant among women across the world because of various reasons. But this subject is well prevalent among men too. One important reason adornment being prominent among women is the concept of ‘Shringar’, the Indian version of adornment for women. In the past, men also adorned themselves depending on the social class one belonged to. One belonging to a higher social class adorned oneself regularly, while men from other classes did it for specific occasions. Women, no matter which class they belonged to, adorned themselves, but the degree varied according to their class. At present, the social class system that was once prevalent is collapsing. With that, the approach to dressing means choosing to dress up the way we want to, certainly.
Today, there are many people out there setting the stage for current trends. At the same time, others are giving a new direction by choosing statements for themselves, not being bothered by what the revolution has to say. There is a spectrum, people fitting into different ones. But a question arises, is it ORNAMENTATION for us OR an ARMAMENT?
Let us explore different sides to this-
1. Adornment as Identity
With each passing year, the textile/jewellery/cosmetic industry has been growing at a pace not proportional to the needs of individuals. There is an increase in desires that now stands amongst one of the highest revenue earning industries. Alongside, we can also find that there is growth in the mental health area. What does this speak to us?
Today, everything around us is growing rapidly, and that which is growing is what is growing within us. But somewhere, deep within each one of us, we can sense avoid. We find ourselves lost in this age of too much information and find it chaotic. We then choose an adornment each day suitable for the chaos. As an experience, we see that once a situation arises which is discomforting to oneself, we would look towards our adornments and change them, changing how we look.
2. Expressing joy through adornments
Let us try this small exercise.
After waking up from sleep, let us just look at the mirror, look at oneself and simultaneously observe one’s thoughts. Suppose we find ourselves joyful-that we are, at that moment without our adornments. In that case, that probably means that we are using adornments to express ourselves and not as an Identity. There is a balance here, in which we find adornment as an art in itself.
The dressing is a form of art, but if one consciously goes for it. Some people unconsciously shun this art because of layering themselves/being layered in mind-body conflicts and traumas. This is another extreme of unconsciously choosing to identify oneself with adornments. A hint to identify this would be to observe oneself, whether in a day, say today when I cross by shops of adornments, does my mind go there? Do I feel like exploring that place? These experiences can be momentary also. If yes, then we can place ourselves in this category. Let’s leave those sections of people who consciously choose to go for a certain attire depending on the path they follow.
Now, this moment, let us pause for a moment and ponder on what adornment means to you? To me?
As much as I would like to say yes, I am happy, and so are all of us dressing ourselves up, but there is a hint here. Ornamenting yourself is not a problem, but the state of mind we do is the key.