The day I realised that I have so much for to offer than just the way I look or clothes I put on my back, was the day I got happier. Sounds obvious, but there was a time when I placed too much importance on my wardrobe. It soon grew into a task that made me unhappy, always having to “keep up” with the latest stuff because I felt I should and feeling like having an up-to-date wardrobe was a reflection of who I was. It’s expensive too, to buy things you don’t need. That’s just being young and impressionable. That’s what being bombarded with celebrity billboards and TV adverts results into. People will only like you if you buy these clothes, they whisper.
Now, clothes are lower down the scale of importance for me. And I don’t get attached to clothes. The clothes are not me, they just make me happy and normally put me in a good mood. I’m happy to regularly clear out or send things to the clothes bank because I like to change regularly. Not putting too much pressure on my fashion sense made me a happier person. Not growing too pressured to look a certain way or wear a certain thing. Sounds simple, but I grew up in an environment during my teens where being “hot” was clearly a key metric of success. I struggled with that concept: I could never pat someone on the back for just being good-looking. Maybe this is why I don’t ~get~ Victoria’s Secret. I get it, they’re thin and pretty, but I don’t know anything else about them. So I find it hard to celebrate them for just being thin and pretty. It’s not exactly an achievement, in my eyes.
I love clothes, I love dressing up, I like wearing something makes me feel good. But “feeling good” nowadays more or less just means “feeling me” instead of feeling validated by what’s “in” to everyone else. Wearing something because it’s “on trend” never made me feel automatically good. I don’t like the idea of just getting “likes” because you’re the first person to get the new coat that everyone wants. Finding a gem in a vintage shop or finding an out piece that I’d forgotten about would, however, bring me joy. For me, playing catch up with the fashion industry would just pull me away from wearing the things that made me feel most comfortable and confident. I knew that I could be in the fashion rat-race, but the thought of it exhausts me.
“You know more about fashion than me,” I sighed the other day to the younger cool girls around me, who get the latest clothes straight from the “new in” tab on all the best most up-to-date fashion websites. Then I realised that I shouldn’t put myself down for not being “with” all the trends all the time – it doesn’t necessarily mean I don’t know anything about clothes. I understand that it’s fun keeping up with the rapid cycle of the fashion industry – it’s a billion pound industry, and shopping is FUN. I love trend-spotting. But the fickleness of it confuses me. I used to get mocked for wearing oversized denim jackets when I was younger, insecure that they were always too big, but I wanted them that way because I’d like the bulk of them. I vividly remember a non-uniform day at school where people poked fun of me because of that jacket. Then fast-forward years later everyone was saying that “oversized denim jackets are a THING!” I wondered how something can go from being mocked to being cool again – only because someone else says it is? I know kids are harsh, but grown-ups are harsh too, especially about what women decide to wear.
I don’t want to always wait until something is “cool again” or “back in again” before I want to wear it. I don’t want a seal of approval: I want to wear it because I just want to. It’s quite freeing, cutting yourself loose from following “what’s hot” all the time. I don’t want to wear something that “suits my shape” or “complements my physique”, I want to wear something that I JUST LIKE. Sometimes you can’t always explain why you like something. You just do. It might mean you don’t always wear the “coolest stuff”. And that’s OK. Getting validation from wearing the same designer shoes as everyone else has never felt very fulfilling, personally.
My sister is living with me at the moment, and we used to share clothes (albeit it, she is much smaller than me so just jumpers and tops really). But as she rifled through my wardrobe this time round she couldn’t find anything that she wanted to wear: “all of this is very you“, she said. This was the first time really that I’d realised that I’d definitely found my own thing – I’d found clothes that reflect me. High-necked tops that suit short hair, headscarves, leather. My polo necks, patterned culottes, big earrings, heels, long jackets. It sounds small, but the fact that we couldn’t share clothes anyone meant that I’d found my own thing and therefore someone else felt weird wearing my clothes.
Here are a few things I always remember when it comes to faaaaaaaashion:
- Not taking it too seriously
- It doesn’t make you less of a person buying the cheaper version
- If you like it, that’s enough of a reasoning to get something
- If someone else doesn’t like it, that’s OK! You’re the one wearing it
- Buy what you like and you will start to see a pattern of what your “style” is
- You don’t always have to ask someone’s opinion on something
- It’s OK if change I change my mind and experiment often
- Am I wearing this because I want people to comment on my clothes, or do I just really like it?
- Do I feel like me?
Here are the rules I follow, when it comes to fashions…..
OH WAIT – THERE ARE NO RULES.