Hey Ladies and Gents,
I’m coming to you today with a serious issue that is plaguing the fashion sense of millions, for real. I am such an advocate for personal style and expression because I believe it truly sets you free, like telling the truth! My absolute favorite part of the day isn’t defined by a timely meal, or seeing my lovely family members’ smiles (although they matter a lil’ bit), it’s in getting dressed each day! I know it sounds kind of ‘damnnnn, that’s colllddddd’ , but like I said, the truth shall set you free. Anyone that knows me, knows that I have a very unique sense of style, that I’m confident in it, and will encourage others to try something outside of their closet comfort zone in a heart beat. Proof…
I try to think back to when I started to define my personal style, and it brings me to a characteristic of myself that has nothing to do with style, clothes, or fashion. In school, and at home, I was the ‘goody two-shoes’ who actually liked school, and LOVED the attention that I got for being different in that aspect. Getting good grades was important to me, and when I realized that everyone wasn’t pulling it off, I was like “Oh yes, this is MY thing!” (nerd much?). Since then, I’ve always liked having those little this-is-my-thing moments wherever they manifested, and that’s when my personal style in dress took on that ideology. I couldn’t fathom why everyone wanted (and still wants to) look alike, why is that fun? Eww. I can’t front though, I remember being a kid and wanting the high top Reeboks that all the other kids were wearing, but that’s different to some extent. I’ve found that teenagers especially conform to the “fashion elite” of their generation, who dictate what’s hot (even when it’s really not), and they feel that they have to have these things in order to fit in. My thing was, and still is, if I can’t wear what I REALLY want to wear and not fit in, then that’s not the space I should be trying to squeeze into. Maybe everyone doesn’t think the same way I do, obviously.
I started to watch my personal style define itself when I was about 16. I moved in with my dad and stepmom, and Mom is the epitome of a fashionista! No, her closet will make you green with envy! I loved watching her process of searching through her OCD-like closet, with everything neatly and precisely in a special place, finding potential ensembles to try on, and then like trial and error on a hard math problem, POW! She’d have the answer, the perfect outfit, all unique in her own way, topped with a pile of confidence and a cherry of sass. I loved that, I wanted to feel like that when I got dressed. As I stated before, I always liked having my own thing going on, but it was very present in other aspects of my life and not yet in the fashion department. I was still all ‘overly fitted butterfly rhinestone encrusted jeans with a striped shirt’, mad corny. I studied Momma’s style, and I began to develop my own. She encouraged me, let me “shop” in her closet, and she is the reason I have solo impromptu ‘photoshoots’ for Fabebook -_-. It was fun, and I got to watch my style grow over time. By the time I was in 11th grade, my classmates would anticipate what wacky-cute outfit I’d be wearing to school, and ask if my stepmom helped me pick it out since I bragged about her constantly. The whole thing was just too cute.
I sort of feel like it’s my mission to help those stuck in the bubble of style conformity, to get out! I also have realized that it all comes down to confidence and conviction, and if you don’t have either of them then the road to betraying the copy-cat style cults won’t be easy. It’s still not easy for me although it may look that way. People in my family STILL make comments like, “Why can’t you just dress normal for one day?”, “Why do you dress so weird?”, “What kind of craziness do you have on today?”, but it is counteracted by my ‘I like it and don’t give a damn what you think’ attitude and the compliments from other style blessed folks who “get me”, especially my funky-hip New Yorkers! (I heart you!). I ALSO find that those same people who say I ‘dress weird’ wish there was love button on my Facebook pics, and make comments like “I love that you’re so daring with your style”, “Where did you get that dress from?”. Interesting, right? When those moments come, I realize that they may be in the group that really wants to be unique unto themselves, but feel they won’t be accepted if they don’t fit the style profile that’s in popular demand at the time. I let them know how free I feel, how NO ONE else will put an outfit together like I can, whether they have the same dress or not, and how it’s all about saying “I’m going to wear what I feel expresses me the best”, that’s it. Yeah I’m on a soap box right now, but I feel like the issue needs some attention, along with the people who are scared to NOT look like everyone else.
Am I the only one who sees the style conformity thing still plaguing closets worldwide? Tell me it’s not just me! I’d love to know how you define your personal style, and who helped you discover yours. Were you/are you a victim of #TeamEverybodyHasToLookAlike, but escaped? I’d love to hear your point of view…
Thanks Mom, for showing me that all I needed was confidence to bring my personal style to life!
Sincerely,with style ~ Sharontina B.