Friday, May 13, 2016

let's talk about clothes! (and our bodies, too...?)

Over the past two weeks I have been slowly acclimating myself (and all of my belongings!) to my childhood room.

I love my room here in the Bay Area. It's cluttered in all of the right ways even before I add my college possessions to it. It has the most windows of all the bedrooms (therefore it gets the best light), and it's very much worn in.

I tried to unpack absolutely everything within the first twenty-four hours of being home, but I'm quickly approaching three weeks of being home and there is still stuff piled in the guest bedroom waiting to be stored away (though I'm pleased to say that I've managed to fit nearly everything into my room -- all kitchen supplies included -- while still sharing half a closet with my mother).

To alleviate some of the storage space in my closet, I decided to purchase a clothing rack. I'd wanted one for some time, more for style purposes than anything else. I also read once that they not only display one's prettiest pieces but they also serve as a way of protecting more delicate clothing because things are less likely to get snagged or stretched amongst the mess that hangers so often create.

So, off to Target I went!

I bought a really cheap clothing rack and 100% expected it to collapse in the middle of the night and give me a heart attack, but it didn't! And as long as I even out the weight, it stands sturdily.

My life has revolved predominantly around writing and film these past several months, but this doesn't mean that my love of fashion has dwindled. In fact, my love for clothes is at an all time high because I finally feel confident in and aware of my personal style.

In high school, I was always the quirky girl whose clothing choices were either met with "ooooos" and "ahhhs" of compliments (by the same two or three people), or totally mocked by the guys who failed to understand colors and patterns, and girls who prematurely judged the very trends that they would grow to love as they (somewhat) matured post-high school;)

In college, my style changed SO much -- this was partly to do with age, and mostly to do with my annual location changes.

Oregon gave me the confidence to not feel the need to be too girly all of the time. All throughout high school I felt massively insecure in just jeans and a t-shirt. If you would have throw in a ponytail and sneakers, my insecurities would have killed me. I admired the look on other girls, but couldn't help but feel so square and ugle when I wore the look myself. In Oregon, the weather required me to depend on heavier pieces on top and thinner (like t-shirts) pieces underneath. And all of the rain made denim more of a friend than tights and dresses. I slowly embraced a more boyish look...and the insecurities faded in time (while morphing into others, as per usual).

In Irvine, girls either had a hippie, beach style to them or they dressed very preppy and girly. Since I've never been too "girly" with my own style, I found myself admiring the girls with the biker boots, greasy hair, ripped up denim, and cool sunglasses. They were the girls that surfed or played guitar or went to yoga, stuck to vegan diets or knew where the cool coffee shops and spots were by the beach, and were vey laid back and effortlessly cool. I wasn't necessarily friends with these people, but I admired their grungy, with subtle hints of femininity, styles. So naturally I bought the right boots, wore the tattered denim, became friends with dry-shampoo, and tried finding myself in this more polished (though, not literally) boyish look that began in Oregon with flannels, beanies and Hunter rain boots.

By the time I found myself in the Sacramento area, I was way more confident in my own personal style, but still very much working out the kinks. Around this time I became very fascinated with a normcore aesthetic (though I must admit I never really dressed the part). The aesthetic, however, did give me plenty of inspiration. I loved monochromatic looks, structured pieces mixed with slouchier (my way of saying cozier) pieces (such as old sneakers with uneven or mismatched socks), and beige...lots of beige and white. BUT I must say that when I shopped, I found myself buying veryyy girly pieces. And girly is NOT bad! It's beautiful and unique in itself, but I bought clothing that I just wasn't wearing once I got home. As a result, my closet still didn't feel quite like me.

A year later, my shoe obsession reallllly set in. And I figured out that shoes do help make an outfit. I began to make the outfit more about my shoe and less about attempting to wear a dress with a million other layers (i.e. scarf, sweater, jacket, tights, books, jewelry). I also embraced the t-shirt and jeans thing. But I stilllll wasn't sure what was missing in my personal style.

Then (ah ha, this story is going oh-so-long, I'm sorry), I moved to Los Angeles and BAM. I figured out more of what I really love. In the time leading up to my move to LA, I felt really confident in myself because my academics were something I was taking pride in. I also learned to dress solely for myself most days. So I found myself buying pieces that were either loud statements or super basic -- and, in both ways, the clothing speaks clearly for itself without being muddled down by trends.

Los Angeles is filled with so many styles. Literally, anything goes. I've seen it all -- or, I hope I haven't! People with style that I would never take on were SO gorgeous, unique and confident. I loved seeing the way women express themselves there.

I learned to wear whatever the hell I want without a single apology. I learned to not let the heat rise in me when I walk into a room and people look me up and down, rolling their eyes or asking themselves whaaaat is she wearing?

If I wear what makes me happy, I feel pretty.
And having the confidence to wear a variety of pieces allows
me the freedom to experiment within the styles I know look best for me.

This isn't to say that I feel pretty every day. I certainly don't.

But I have learned that we as women need to stop thinking about others when we dress.
We need to look for the reflection in the mirror that shows us who we want and need to see.

Clothing and style is meant for everyone. What works for one doesn't have to work for all, and what works for one doesn't mean it can't work for someone completely different.

Trends flame out so quickly.
Style is continuously evolving.
Expensive clothing is not an indication of worth, size or beauty.
Cluttered closets have character.
That dress you want so badly to fit into someday is not a dictionary that defines who you are.
And beauty doesn't ALWAYS have to be pain.

Jeans and a t-shirt,
those tattered sneakers,
those sky-high heels that people call your hooker heels,
that old college sweatshirt,
those fish-net tights,
that baseball cap or fedora,
that little black (or even red!) dress,
that one pair of jeans that just fits in all of the right places,
those boots that make you a bit uncomfortable because they kind of look like
biker boots and kind of look like cowboy boots (aside from being pink and suede...)

-- these are all modes of thought, personal-style, beauty, confidence, individuality, comfort, experimentation, life...

So...I've said all of this just to say that I really believe in the power of personal style, and--more than that--the power of embracing personal style.

I won't always have the same style that I do now.
I will hoard pieces from when I was eleven and fifteen and twenty-one because
I feel sentimental about them.
I won't always feel beautiful, or skinny enough, or confident enough --

but I have learned to always remember that we as women have the power to tell our stories and express ourselves through clothing just as much as we have the power and the right to not even give a shit about clothing because there are other things to be passionate about.

Regardless, I think that so many times clothes are used to label and to reject and to condemn, and even to praise...and this is where the power of trends and of materialism comes in.

But if we can remember that we make our own rules stylistically, we can walk into a room
wearing whatever we want, knowing that the woman beneath the clothing far exceeds the beauty and worth of the clothing.

Okay, so that's my rant (which was so unplanned).
I was totally intending to write about some styles I've been loving lately, but I'll save that post for a later date.

Happy Friday, ladies. You are all wonderful.

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