Friday, 5 November 2010

Fashion and Me; A true Story


aged 16.
(I really wish I had some photos to illustrate some of the things I talk about in this post but they're all on the old desktop at home. I promise I'll dig some out and embarrass myself when I go home at christmas)


Let's face it, we all wear clothes. It's a effective way to avoid being arrested. We all wake up in the morning and open our wardrobes and pick something out to adorn us for the day. Some days this choice is completely at random, some days we dress for an event in particular, some days we just wear what we feel.
Being interested in fashion is not really a shocking interest. To some extent we are all interested in fashion. Some people may argue not, but the fact remains that we all make concious choices about what we wear, how we chose to express ourselves, every single day.

But there are some of us, like myself, who see dressing as an art. Who feel that selecting clothes and making outfits is as artistic as dance or song. That dressing is a talent that can be perfected. We are the people who take photographs of our outfits to show the world what we're wearing. But I didn't always used to be like this.

I came to fashion fairly late.
As a kid I despised getting clothes as presents. If I started to feel something squishy under the Christmas tree, my heart sank.
My mum was always effortlessly stylish. She loved to shop. I, however, as an overweight child, hated the constant struggle to find something that not only fit, but looked good. This battle was never-ending.
I used to hate being dragged round the shops on a Saturday. I never really had a lot of time as a kid, and clothes just weren't important. I'd been dancing since I was 2 so the majority of my clothes were really my school uniform or my dance uniform. And dance uniforms were serious business.
If I had tap, I had to have the exact right leotard, and the matching silver sequin belt and scrunchie. And black socks. Any other colour were strictly forbidden.
I never packed my own dance uniform, but the pressure was high for a child. Modern meant the white scrunchie and the navy lyrca leotard with a white belt. Not flattering on a chubby nine-year-old.
Shows meant months spent working on itchy and uncomfortable costumes, and even my mum would be yelled at if they weren't perfectly stitched. Clothes seemed like more effort than they were worth.
I was always a bit of an attention seeker, hey, what's changed? and I remember in primary school being frustrated with the boring day-to-day uniform, and one day started to wear brightly coloured tights with my plain skirt. I became known for this. I remember when we were finally allowed to wear trousers for school, I stuck with my skirts and bright tights. See, I was such a trend setter back then!!

All I remember wearing as a kid was anything matchy-matchy. If I liked a top I'd buy trousers in the same print, or a skirt. One time I think I also bought shoes. I think this was my idea of being stylish.

Uniform at high school was strict. I went to a small Catholic high school and incorrect uniform was te most punishable offence. Our striped tie had to be at a length where a certain number of stripes were visible, skirts could only be a certain length, blazers much be worn even in the blazing hot summer and shirts must always, always be tucked in. Always. There was no room for bright tights here.

I started to wear makeup to school in year 9 and this later progressed to a little more experimentation with my uniform.
I was about 15 when I realised how much of a statement I could make with my clothes. I was going through my angry, self-expressive phase and I wanted a pair of converse. I bought my first pair from ebay, and later a pair of big, chunky Vans shoes. For the first time my uniform felt restrictive. I couldn't express myself. I would wear striped knee-high socks and tartan skirts and clip pink extensions into my hair. I would by tshirts from concerts and people would not with approval at my music choice.
This was my first experience of using clothes as self expression. I could be spotted from 100 yards away and instantly everyone would know what kind of music I liked and who I was. For some reason this didn't strike me as stereotyping. It struck me as being accepted.
On non-uniforms days I would dress up in all of my black and white ensembles. I loved the way I dressed.
I would wear sweatbands on my wrists to school just to feel a little bit more myself.

In college I met a boy who wanted to change me. I wasn't good enough for him. And I let him change me. I watched him go through my wardrobe and get rid of anything he didn't want me to wear. I let him take me shopping and decide what I should and shouldn't wear. He told me what I could and couldn't listen to. Who I could and couldn't be.

This was both a blessing and a curse. A curse more than anything else. For a long time, a good few months, I didn't know who I was. My clothes no longer expressed who I was. I found myself confused over what to wear every day. My wardrobe wasn't me anymore. I barely wore any of the clothes he made me buy.

But at the same time, it did help me to start dressing in a different way, and move me out of a phase I was growing out of, and I am grateful for that now. Maybe it paved the way for who I am today.

Fashion and I had a fairly okay relationship for a while, but then I think things really changed for me on my 18th Birthday. My mum had bought me a TopShop style advisor trip for Christmas that year and we went for my birthday. Three hours and £400 later, I had a new wardrobe.
That experience completely changed my life. I started to wear high-waisted shorts and plaid shirts and gorgeous dresses I would never have picked up in my life. For a while, I felt uncomfortable, like a costume. But then I realised, this was me. Fashion and style started to become important to me. I started to find myself. I started to love shopping even more, keeping up with trends and reading fashion magazines.

I plateaued then again for a few months, and then a few months into University I met Ellen, and we bonded over shopping and TopShop and Gossip Girl. We both loved fashion and loved to bounce our ideas off one another. At the beginning of our second year we started to write for the lifestyle section of the newspaper on fashion and something clicked. Writing about fashion was fun, and I was good at it. Could this be my career?

When I decided I wanted to be a fashion journalist, I started to up the game a bit. I started my blog and felt the pressure to create something new and exciting every day. It's been a challenge, but it's been fun. I love looking back through my blog and watching myself develop. I still don't feel I've found my true style yet, but I love unexpected choices and watching it evolve. Nowadays I dress for me, but I also dress to be different, I dress to stand out.
Because if you can't dress for yourself, who can you dress for?
Some people use piercings or art or music to express themselves.
I use clothes.

xxx

5 comments:

  1. i love the honesty :) i think you just managed to write how every girl feels at some point in their life whether they love fashion or not... im really starting to get addicted to you blog! :D xx

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  2. I loved reading this post. As Lauren said, the honesty is what really helps me identify with you. While I was sick reading that some guy tried to change you, I'm glad you found some positivity from it, and allowed it to help you grow. Good for you :)

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  3. when I went to university, I met a friend, and we bonded over our love, not just for topshop, but for mcdonalds, too. It's great to have friends with whom you can share your feelings. Keep up the fabulous work baby girl xxxx

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  4. I came to fashion fairly late, as well - towards the end of high school. Now I love it so much! :)

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  5. Oh, so cool.... thanks for sharing:)))))

    Love
    minnja

    http://minnja.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete