“Style is a deeply personal expression of who you are, and every time you dress, you are asserting a part of yourself.” – Nina Garcia.
My love of fashion doesn’t stem from an obsession with shopping (although I do quite enjoy that), but instead from a deep desire to express my inner self daily. For some mysterious reason that I am continuously trying to unravel, fashion is one of the two primary lenses through which I communicate with the world (the other, of course, being words) and — problematic or not — is one of the first things that would pop into mind should anyone ever ask me to describe myself.
Irrelevant of trends, our personal styles evolve over the years as we ourselves unfold. While clothes are often a way for us to try out new personas, they also are a means to solidify the character we are currently playing. They are an impermanent commitment to the human we are today and the journey that we have taken to reach this point.
While I often can’t tell in a given moment, when I look back at various stages in my life, I can track what was going on in my personal life based on the manner in which I opted to dress. Major life changes, which prompted a re-evaluation of my sense of self, in turn, led to a shift in style.
And (as you so cleverly will have realized from the title of this blog post), recent months have seen a significant shift in my style. Most noticeably, I have found myself gravitating towards more structured, masculine style pieces and have built up a collection of trousers more rapidly than I ever could have imagined. Given the fact that at one point, this blog was solely comprised of me twirling around in feminine dresses, this is quite a modification.
At first, I credited it to being back in Ohio during the winter months. But, when I lived here in high school, I managed to survive wearing skirts and dresses with tights every snowy day. I didn’t even own a pair of jeans back then! My second guess was that I was merely bored with the dresses I have in Ohio. But, a highly scientific experiment which involved me going through my dresses and counting how many I had worn either recently or ever (a very measly number), scratched that explanation.
Then, as they so often do, the ‘AHA moment’ came.
For the past few months, I have been in the process of re-evaluating myself and re-envisioning my life – something that has undoubtedly affected how I dress. My outfit formulas have been more powerful, less fussy, tenacious in feel, and less delicate in look. The lines are sharper, the contrasts greater, the materials more robust. They are far less suited for men (although one could argue I was never great at that anyway) and far more suited to me just getting on with my life.
I have been taking more risks, which has resulted in me looking less put-together, less girly, less predictable, less I’m-doing-this-because-society-tells-me-to-do-this. I wear less makeup, and I take a shorter amount of time to get ready, I outfit repeat more frequently than ever before in my life. Somewhat ironically, my outfits feel less like they are screaming for attention. Instead of feeling like a supporting role in a play — one whose movements and dialogues are dictated by someone else’s wavering opinions and requirements — I finally have a monologue.
What I love about this evolution is that it just kind of happened. Life happened, I allowed nature to take its course, and I adjusted, modified, and accepted what I was and the new position I found myself in. I didn’t become single and instantly look to become different. I had no interest in cutting off all my hair, getting a sleeve of tattoos, or doing anything drastic. (For the record, I had no desire to become anyone different from who I was.)
Instead, I granted myself time to re-learn who I was, to get to know her, to welcome her and nurture her in a way that she wasn’t granted before.
Becoming single meant that I had to start a new relationship with myself and, just like with any new relationship, it is both an exhilarating and downright petrifying process.” — my journal.
During this process, I found (in Austin) bright- blue, high-waisted vintage leather pants that are so unflattering my love for them knows no boundaries. To contrast them I tucked in this fabulous off-the-shoulder white shirt with puffy sleeves that is the closest thing to “office-wear” that I own and a semi-sexy, mostly-utilitarian take on a crisp button-down shirt.
All in all, fashion has once again proven its purpose as tying me to the moments of my existence, of helping me connect to my emotional and physical sensories, and of being a literal and figurative fabric and thread in my life.