Today I am contemplating a question I posed to a friend in response to her therapist digging into her about a portion of her clothing choices. Having previously been knee deep in her gorgeous closet, accessories, jewelry and handbags, I have an idea as to how or why my friend dresses. We’ll call her Chelsea* (*name changed to protect the fabulous). In the three full, 9-5-style days Chelsea* and I spent together purging her wardrobe, Chelsea* was able to tell me every single memory or purpose tied to each piece of clothing. The when, where, why, and how of a pant-suit, a sweater, a beach cover-up. I realize that Chelsea* dresses for what she deems a specific role or responsibility to require of her. This could be churchgoer, concerned and put-together PTA parent, hot housewife, swim practice support, rock concert mama, etc. Absolutely fascinating. She has also come to realize which of these purposeful options makes her happy and makes her feel put-together; comfortable in her skin. Big win in my book.
Now here’s where I took it…
How many of us dress for what we deem some job, activity, calendar invite, or family member requires of us? If I apply this question to my life, and my deep, deep...I'm talking spiritual...affinity for the color black, I can tie that directly to my rebellion against my grandmother. My Nana, has always had a love for multi-color, usually pastel outfits, adorned with a brooch or some fun and bright necklaces. In my childhood, the moment I donned a pair of black shoes, my Nana told me she hated the color black and that little girls shouldn’t wear it; that I should go for a much softer choice. A rebellious youth, many unsuccessful attempts to like and wear the color pink, and the emergence and acceptance of OPI’s dark yet elegant nail colors and here I am thriving and shouting my love for black from the rooftops. This is where my “edge” comes in and why that adjective pulses through my body. Edge gives me life and a passion for building my own and others confidence in their personal style.
I chose that path as a defiance, not because I wanted to please someone else, whom I certainly have always loved and respected and who eventually grew to understand my love affair and even compliment me on some of it. Fun Fact: My Nana is one of the first few to really appreciate the black (you guessed it) tattoo on my foot. (I’m a big fan of people, particularly family, surprising you with their unfailing love and support).
So here we are with two polar ideas with one root:
Idea 1. Conformity
Idea 2. Defiance
Root: Identity & Purpose
Is there an idea, a style, and identity that you are trying to create through your clothing? I would hope so.
Fashion is one of the last things that just “happens” to you. You have to be inspired, willing, and open to build an identity through your clothing. You have to be unapologetic as to who you are. But most importantly you need to define your identity, otherwise you are swallowed by a lack of it.
If I look at the above offered extremes, I encourage you to choose a balanced and happy medium between giving in to or fighting back on, what others expect of you. Do what YOU expect of YOU and above all else, what feels comfortable or natural. Do what allows you to feel unquestionably beautiful, sassy, elegant, daring.