The Big City/Small Town Clothing Divide: Romany Anderson

After chatting with Sam Thompson last week about how he feels about the idea that there’s a big city/small town clothing divide, I spoke with Romany Anderson to hear another voice on the matter.

Originally from Stockton but now studying history of art at Goldsmiths, living in London has allowed her to see the potentially blurred line of culture between the two places, and how both locations affect how she dresses.

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Big City/Small town clothing divide. What do you think? Is there much of a difference between what’s worn in small towns in comparison to big cities?

I think to an extent there is. In the city I live and hang about in a heavily student populated area which has a big music and art scene so I see a lot of people experimenting and playing about with how they look which can range on extremes, but you do get that at home too! Especially amongst those types of scenes. I think it’s just on a much larger scale here.

When at home, has there ever been any instances where you haven’t worn an outfit that you would wear in London in fear of standing out too much or being judged?

I haven’t completely shy’d away from wearing an outfit but i’ve caught myself toning down elements of it and not gone ‘all out’ and extra whereas in London I don’t tend to hold back as much. I think i’m more conscious about drawing attention to myself when i’m back in a smaller town whereas in London it’s less of a big deal and people don’t really bat an eyelid which sits perfectly with me.

As a female, do you ever feel threatened while wearing what you want?

Yes and I find it to be just as bad wherever I am sadly. Actually I think home is less threatening just because i’ve found people are way more forward in the city. I’ve had a lot more experiences of people coming up and commenting, following or touching me and it really took me aback when I first moved here. That happens whatever you’re wearing though.

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When you moved to London, did you notice a big difference in the acceptance of different fashions? Do you now feel like you would be comfortable wearing more “”out-there”” outfits than you would at home?

Yeah definitely, i’m a massive people watcher so it’s cool to see loads of styles integrating especially on public transport where you can witness people kitted out in fashion that resembles 80s club kids on their way out next to someone in uniform on their way back home and nobody’s really making a deal out of it. I wouldn’t say i’m generally very extravagant with what I wear but living here has definitely encouraged me to try out new things and most importantly *actually* wear it out not just play about with it in the comfort of my own room.

I think it’s completely down to exposure! There’s loads of people coming and going in the city so there’s a wider diversity in styles that pass through so people aren’t as alarmed if others look different, whereas in a smaller town it’s a lot more contained.

Do you think this gap created between big cities and small towns will ever close?

I reckon cities will always allow a sense of freedom more so than smaller towns due to differences i’ve mentioned previously but I do think the gap is closing slightly. I’ve never really known any different but I think with the internet / social media playing such a big role in our daily lives we’re constantly scrolling through so many different styles from all over the place so whether you actually like the looks or not you’re aware that they’re out there and therefore it’s not as alarming when you’re faced with it in real life. There’s also things I know i’ve taken influence from and worked into how I present myself that I’ve seen online that maybe otherwise would have never reached me until I moved away from home. In that way it’s definitely closing in.

What advice would you give to someone living in their hometown who feels like they can’t be themselves in fear of judgement?

I understand it’s daunting but I find it sad when people think you have to move elsewhere to be yourself, so I guess to try to do it for yourself at home even if it’s just baby steps. I don’t have any super wise advice to give but if you put on things you yourself feel comfortable and confident in I don’t think you can go far wrong. Also I believe a lot of people look with intrigue rather than negativity so try not to let any looks you may get put you off. 

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