As a child I always had an expressive sense of style or least that is what my parents tell me, if I am honest, I don’t recall too many of my “fashion” choices at that age. But I rocked the mismatched clothes and socks, my cowboy boots with a dress (because I refused to wear heels), and had not a care in the world. However, we all enter an age where those carefree choices become a point of anxiety and stress. Right around that dreaded 8th-grade year, we all start to worry about how those around us see us and more often than not we worry so much that we no longer see ourselves when we look in the mirror. And don’t get me started on high school fashion stress, we all want to be wearing what was popular and trendy but that didn’t mean that it was true to our fashion sense (or at least that was my experience).
I would even admit that up until about a year ago, I still constantly struggled with experiencing myself through clothes and be confident while doing it (for those counting, I am about to 29, so although it has gotten easier you can still struggle with self-image sabotage as an adult).
So what caused the change in attitude you ask…
Well, I found inspiration in an unlikely place. I heard an album, that at the time wasn’t considered “new” in the music community, but was new to my ears. I loved it so much that I sought out more information about the artist and to my shock, I discovered an individual who expressed themselves fully when it came to fashion and seemed to have so much confidence that I would argue it is contagious. So much so that it sparked a change in my thinking and in the way I see myself, I was able to go back to my expressive sense of style without a care in the world on if others liked it or not. It was amazing, it took me just about 16 years but I made it.
Now I am sure you are wondering how was being inspired by a celebrity “inspiration in an unlikely place,” well that celebrity was Harry Styles. A former boy band artist, who if I am being honest, I couldn’t stand the boy band when they were popular because this 90’s kid only had “ears” for N’SYNC. Yes, I’m dating myself… But I digress, that artist went solo and rocks a style that is both manly and feminine and doesn’t care who likes it or not. So as a female, I was in shock that my fashion icon is a 26-year-old British man.
With my new found confidence and unlikely inspiration, I began a new style journey, but like most things, I too was hesitant at first and needed to get my barrings before driving straight into the deep end. I discovered a way to ease my way into this journey and I would love to share the steps that I took to help me accomplish my fashion fears and expressive my self truly through the clothes I wear.
Step 1: Find a clothing item that you have feared to wear and try it on.
I recommend going into the dressing room wearing one of your favorite clothing items, this could be your favorite pair of jeans or a reliable tee, then pair that with the new item. This gives you a piece of comfort, matched with a little discomfort. Now the goal of trying on the item isn’t necessarily to fall in love with it, change your whole closet or even buy the item at all. The goal is to TRY! More often than note, the hardest part of overcoming our fashion fears is looking it square in the face (or in this case the mirror). *TIP: go with a friend who is your cheerleader, they can help us see ourselves in a way that we cannot.
Step 2: Add one piece at a time.
Once you try on some pieces, and start seeing yourself in a new light and start getting more confidence in the new styles. Add one piece to your closet with the intention to wear it the next week (or that week depending on when you purchase it). I know we all have fallen victim to buying something “new” and then it hangs in our closet with the tag still on for months (sometimes years…). *TIP: if cost weighs on your mind, there are great items that you can find for a great price and even thrift shops have great items that can add a new variety to your wardrobe. I recommend Marshalls and H&M, they have adventurous pieces that don’t break your budget.
Step 3: Wear the thing!
Like step 2, you have to make the commitment to wear the item you bought and not let it be lost to the closet woes. Pair the new item with one our your favorite pieces, the old reliable ones that no matter how you feel about your outfit they make it better. Now here is the trick, when you make your outfit and before you look in the mirror for the first time you must tell yourself “I look great and I love this look.” Don’t get caught in your own mind game, that’s what gets us, we see the doubts and then hear what people may think or say. Go into the experience with as much positivity as you can. *TIP: for those really brave, get completely ready and have getting dressed be your last thing to do before you walk out the door. Then put the outfit one and do not look in the mirror, this doesn’t give you the chance to stop yourself from wearing it.
Step 4: Be Bold
The final step was starting to find my inner fashionista and be bold with my choices. I found inspiration with Mr. Styles, Pinterest, and some Instagram influencers that opened my mind to how to style outfits. But ultimately, you have to be bold and jump right into it. Grab two different patterns and put them together, try that androgynous look you have been eyeing, put on a pair of bold shoes that make a statement, or even go for the statement piece of jewelry. The trick to being bold goes back to our first step, we just have to try!
*TIP: here are some of the fashion inspirations that I use to help define my style.
Bohme boutique- they have a Friday with Fern (the owner) where she walks you through styles and they have awesome styling videos to show you how to rock looks https://www.instagram.com/shopbohm
Shopbohme. (2019, December 26). Bohme staff pick [Hounstooth Pencil Skirt photographed by Bohme]. Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/p/B6jjTukg_RN/
Zoella- a beauty blogger and YouTuber from the UK who has a “weekly wants” section on her instagram stories where all the girls in her office post what they have been wanting and how they would style it. The have a diverse group of women and really give you a variety of looks. https://www.instagram.com/zoella/
Zoella. (2019, December 29). The pressure of NYE. [photograph by Zoella- office picks for NYE]. Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/p/B6qUArDHKwA/
Harry Styles- of course I cannot list my inspiration without listing Mr. Styles, now he doesn’t only post his outfits but his HQ instagram showcases his styles in photoshoots, album covers and concert outfits https://www.instagram.com/hshq/
Styles, H. (2019, December 4) LOfficielUSA Intervies Out Now[Photographed by Daniyel Lowden: cover shoot]. Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/p/B5p-B43pwLk/