Strolling areas around the island is like flipping magazine pages. Different area, different crowd, different story. A proverb once said ‘Don’t judge a book just from its cover’. On the island, though, it is inevitable to presume of where someone comes from merely by their looks and appearances. Well, is it bad to distinguish them or is there something to learn from it?
A part from other cities in the archipelago, Bali indeed projects exceptional scenes from one district to another. A series of tourist groups describe how they create particular images of where they come from. Undoubtedly fashion preferences influence their images since certain people unconsciously determine certain wardrobes to describe certain nationalities or personalities. Taking this matter away from racism or such sensitive topics to talk about [i.e. stereotype], jotting down this essay I personally do not mean to offend anyone. I merely observe from what is happening around me, from what I often see and how the communities actually create such stereotype naturally by their appearance. What you have to do to notice this is to look closer and a bit sense of detective to conclude every visible aspect.
First of all is the Urbanites. How to spot them is easy. Once you see some people wearing clothes as if going to an indoor mall with AC all around. They often wear layers such as a long spaghetti strap dress with shirt inside or a long vest with tank top inside paired with long jeans and heels. Not to be specific to a nationality but couples times I find Koreans and Jakartans do this. Not to forget a sun hat (even if it is indoor) and plus flawless makeup and hairdo all the way. Their appearances actually are similar to personality number two: Millennials. The difference is Millennials will bring extras with their existence anywhere they go from headpiece(s), statement accessories and bags to uncountable properties for Instagram materials.
The third personality is the Beach Worshippers. It is not some news anymore when you are tangling at the edge of the ocean, getting tickled by the sands and seeing so many people passing you with only one thing on their body or at least two (read: top and bottoms or only bottoms). It is pretty normal when you see this scene around the shore. Oftentimes, however, I was a bit judgemental on the surfers with no top and footwear, riding a bike after splitting the waves. I mean sometimes they cross the street when the sun sets in the middle of the day with only a piece on their figures. Another case, recently I was in a car with AC sweeping my sweat while I saw a lady on the back seat of a scooter wearing a lowest cut of top and some super-hot pants. It was around 1pm and I headed to Uluwatu where the Little Miss Sunshine can be Mrs. Devil Wears Prada. I couldn’t help but wonder, wasn’t the lady afraid of sunburn or else, skin cancer? She at least could wrap her body in a light outerwear before eventually opening the pretty things inside at the beach.
The last but not least is the hippies. To be honest, they are sort of my favourite as they are too good to be true besides their choice of colours, fabrics and patterns somehow match and suit the soul of living in some parts of the island. Canggu and Ubud are known to be their places and if my observation does not go wrong, the trend of this style is started by Australians along with their nature to be vegan and vegetarian. They mostly pick typical attire including flowing dress with warrior sandals, and half shoulder blouse with short pants or sometimes boho skirt. Walking around the paddy fields with messy beach hair is a perfect sense to describe this personality.
Okay, so what is the point of this actually? Are they doing something wrong? My answer is of course not. Nothing is wrong about what to wear or where to wear it. People have their own rights to wander every corner wearing their most comfortable choice of clothes. It is just sometimes we are not aware of the fact that what we wear is who we are. Most of the time, people perceive us on how well we dress, on how serious we are for getting ready to show our personality to public. And again, unconsciously we create stigma through our appearance as first impression comes from the eyes then to the talk. If you agree with this, you know what to do, right?