What does fashion mean to you? Its not vain, its not selfish and it doesn’t make me ‘stupid’ or ‘thick’. Just some of the remarks I’ve heard because of my love for fashion. But why is that? Far from being about expensive brands, Instagram posts and the latest trends (admittedly they’re crazy a lot of the time). Fashion is unique, personal and full of endless possibilities, for every taste and pallet. But Why in a world where we’re freer than ever to dress/love/live how we want are we still judged in such terms? To me fashion is much more than trends and labels its an aspect of my personality, much like my sarcasm and love of hummus. My wardrobe is a part of me.
Ever since I was a child I’ve loved clothes and I always looked pristine. Not in the ‘I only wear labels’ way, but by that if I got one spec of dirt on my outfit I’d change. On an average day I could change outfits 4 times. My mum said I would leave the room in an outfit and come back in another – this was at 6 years old (so you can imagine what its like at 26). Though I wasn’t the girl who walked around in her mother’s heels (she didn’t own any – hiking boots and Levi’s were her wardrobe). My love of clothes was in-built. I would put on fashion shows. Shouting ‘are you ready!?’ to my mum and our next-door neighbour before I walked in modelling my latest outfit; shoes, pyjamas, knickers (yes really, no I don’t model anymore). Everything meant something to me and I wanted to show everyone no matter how small.
However, as the years passed, and I entered my teenage years unlike most teenagers who find themselves at this crucial stage I lost myself. It was drummed into me that only beautiful skinny girls could wear fashionable clothes or indeed any clothes that showed an ounce of skin or personality. I was a little bigger (all that damn hummus and bread!). I had acne and frizzy hair. I lost my love of fashion and gained a fear of wearing anything that showed a shape. Bring on baggy jeans, hoodies and years of no shopping.
The concept of having to cover every inch of my skin lasted for over 10 years. Through an eating disorder, through a whole load of epic highs and lows. Until one day I realised life was too short! Not only to ixsay pizza and chocolate but also to not wear what I wanted. Obviously, I can’t and don’t place my self-worth in fashion and no I didn’t get better because I bought some (really) pretty clothes but they certainly helped me to realise that mine (and everyone else’s) choices when it comes to what to wear are incredibly powerful as well as personal.
I think the best part of growing up and finding my individual style is that I no longer buy clothes because people say it ‘flatters my shape’. I don’t not buy clothes I like because someone says I don’t suit it. FYI the whole flattering thing is BS! The most freeing feeling is just wearing what you want regardless of shape and just loving what you’re wearing and who you are.
What fashion means to me is still the same as what it meant during those living room fashion shows I did as a kid. My shape didn’t matter then and neither does it now. I didn’t restrict myself to trends or what other people thought and neither will I now. It was about how I felt and how much I loved wearing the clothes. Every item told a story. My clothing is a statement and I love each piece. Its fun, its expressive without speaking, it’s an armour, its confidence boosting and its just great to stare at your wardrobe sometimes. Although, I’ll never admit how often I do it! By writing about fashion I hope to inspire others to feel confident not only about what they wear but who they are. No matter what society and (most importantly) even yourself says sometimes I want you to ignore the label, trends and anything that contradicts what fashion is all about – personality and choice. Wear whatever the hell you want and make sure to strut!