A friend of mine recently asked me why I dress the way I dress.
“You get stared at every single place we go, it takes you a thousand years to get ready and you must be super uncomfortable,” he said.
The comment made me laugh, because there was quite a lot of truth in it. I’ve mentioned before that the small college town that I call home is incredibly fashion starved. Because of this fierceness deficiency, the locals often gawk at anyone that isn’t in casual wear. It’s taken years to accustom myself to the feeling of eyes, burning holes in the back of my head as I walk down the street. I’ll also admit it: my fashion is high maintenance. It takes time and effort to prepare for my grand entrance into the world, each day. If I absolutely have to be, I can be ready in 35 minutes but when left to my own devices, it can take me as long as 3 hours to craft, coordinate, apply face paint, mold hair and accessorize an outfit into being. And sometimes, yes, I do it in spite of being uncomfortable.
So as he asked, why? What’s the point of going through all of that effort? Clothes are clothes. Their function is to cover your body, keep you warm or cool, protect your skin from the elements: why not just leave the house in sweatpants and a t-shirt every day?
That’s because my clothes are as much an extension of myself as my voice is. Clothes are words. They’re able to converse, loud and clear without even making a sound. They magnify my confidence, they mirror my personality, they project the kind of world that I want to live in: they’re a silent introduction to my soul as well as a constant reminder to myself of who I am and who I want to be.
I want to be fearless, so I wear it on my sleeve, literally. It is my sleeve. And my dress. My shoes, my necklace… you get the idea. I want to be unique, so I wear what others won’t. But most of all, I just want to be me. And if that means getting a few stares, it’s a price I’m willing to pay.
Speaking of price, we can’t talk about fashion without talking about moola (kaching!). As a budget shopper, part of the fun of my personal style is the hunt: finding the perfect piece at a steal of a price. My current occupation makes it immensely easier to find quality clothing at reasonable prices. In fact, working at a thrift shop/resale boutique almost presents too many opportunities for great deals that are difficult to pass up (I said difficult, not impossible).
Everyone is their best self when they feel comfortable in their own skin and their own clothes. So who are we to tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t wear? The American culture spends so much time, telling us that we should criticise and judge anyone who isn’t fashionable or wearing the most recent trend, especially when in regards to women. But who wants to live in a world full of fashion clones, all wearing the same $500 bag? The diversity on this Earth is what makes it such a beautiful place to live and we literally could not survive without the safeguards diversity creates in nature. So why not encourage individual concepts of style? It would foster happier humans and, in turn, a happier world.
Sorry, Media. I refuse to spend $1,000 on a jacket when I could furnish 10 closets with unique, underrated outfits and pay my bills at the same time, with it. I refuse to limit what style can be and will instead celebrate those who push boundaries and break rules. And I will wear whatever I want, wherever I want because it makes me happy and it makes me, me. So, there!
Mars, signing off. ◇