The term “fashion” has a wide variety of meanings and interpretations, from an unnecessary waste of time to the highlight and vital part of a person’s day. For some, staying on the top of fashion trends is as important as eating three meals a day, while for others–well, they just don’t care.
The Turkish fashion spectrum incorporates a beautiful range between two extremes: the Barbie Look and the Village Look. Although most people will rarely move to either end of the spectrum and rather stay in the middle, some inhabit one extreme permanently. And why not go all out when it comes to fashion?
The Village Look is not just for people who live outside the city in small towns and villages. It appeals to those who don’t want to spend hours each day assembling outfits. Some essentials for pulling off this style is owning a leather jacket and multiple pairs of sagging sweatpants. One must also regularly wear a pair of “one size fits all” elastic-waisted, floral, baggy pants. This traditional article looks like one is wearing a diaper down to the knees. It is also acceptable to wear pajamas out in public. Yes, a person can walk down the street in their fluffy pink bathrobe or go to the local store in their polar fleece polka-dotted pajama set. When it comes to hair, one can go for the super slick “I used an entire container of gel” hairstyle or the “I just woke up” appearance, which both work extremely well with the Village look. Lastly, an absolute necessity is to always wear flip flops and slippers that are at least three sizes too small.
The Barbie Look is for those who are at the top of the latest international fashion, creating a unique Turkish spin on some of the most popular Italian and French clothing and make-up trends. Since public appearance is everything, dressing glamorously for every occasion is essential, even if that means going through five outfits per day. Weddings are definitely the highlight for the Barbie Look; everyone looks like they walked through a make-up blizzard and stepped out of a Disney princess movie. Overdressed? This word doesn’t exist in the Turkish people’s fashion vocabulary.
For the Barbie Look, shoes are the summary of the whole outfit. If a person doesn’t have a pair of white Nike, Adidas or New Balance sneakers in their wardrobe, they just can’t pull off this look. It doesn’t matter how poor the family is; all their teenagers, kids and even babies must own a pair of brand-name shoes. And no need to worry about the expense of buying brand-name clothes, because people can just have the brand-name labels sewn into their clothes at the bazaar. Additionally, every person must own at least five pairs of denim jeans. It doesn’t matter if they have other pants or not, but they have to have a pair of skinny jeans, white jeans and mom jeans, all of which should always be cuffed. Finally, to finish off this snazzy look, men must have a beard, mustache, and greasy man bun. The beard can be fully grown or still growing, but they need to go for the “half shaven” appearance.
And so, whether aiming for the Turkish Village Look or Barbie Look, one must make sure to meet these criteria, because to really make a statement in public, a person needs to commit completely to one of these styles, rather than diluting them with other stuff. And despite some weird trends, Turkey is one of the most influential countries in the fashion world. They have been given the opportunity to change the world. The real question is,”how will they do it?” Will it be through baggy, village pants or cuffed jeans?