Despite the fact that I now wholeheartedly dress for myself, this hasn’t always been the case. During many phases of my life, the gap between the way I want to dress and the actuality of how I dress has fluctuated depending on my age, the people I surround myself with and my level of confidence.
I believe that confidence and dress sense go hand in hand; in the past I have been too nervous to wear outfits I love and in turn have generated self-confidence from wearing clothes that align with my desired aesthetic. Finding myself through fashion has definitely been a journey, one that is undoubtedly still ongoing. There is certainly an element of shame involved in wearing clothes that don’t represent the way you want to dress and making the transition into wearing exactly what I wanted wasn’t a step that happened overnight.
It sounds like such a cliché, but the place I grew up in largely played into my insecurity regarding fashion. Wearing a uniform five days a week meant that non-uniform days were monumental, and the movement into sixth form where we could dress how we pleased was something of a shock to the system. An unofficial uniform was very quickly established- leggings, jeans and hoodies were the standard, and everything else was deemed slightly odd. Perhaps I read into it too much, and wrongly succumbed to the pressure I felt to conform, but I felt like a black sheep wearing anything other than this seemingly innocuous ‘uniform’. Although it sounds ridiculous, feeling so constrained by societal expectation in school meant that the transition to university seemed full of promise: I now had the chance to dress however I wanted, with no fear of judgement or comment.
Looking back, I compare the thrill of wearing something slightly more ‘out there’ to the dull monotony of wearing the same things every day and regret the times when I didn’t just bite the bullet and embrace the nerves.
All in all, the encouragement I would give to anyone would be to be yourself. Fashion trends come and go- some you will love, some you will hate, but once you have established your own tastes, you will be able to assimilate fleeting trends into your own personal style, whilst still feeling authentically yourself.