After my alarm clock rings in the early hours of the day, I have a consistent routine: brush my teeth, attempt to wipe the sleep from my complexion, and turn on my phone to see what messages I missed. One morning, I received a text from a friend that was a remnant of a conversation we had earlier. It asked:
"How is it you put together your outfits the night before? What if you're in a different mood by the morning?"
Good question. Something answered by the idea it's not my mood that shapes what I wear, rather, what I wear shapes my mood.
Fashion to me is not some superficial "oh that's pretty!" relationship. Fashion affects me on a much deeper emotional level. My senses become hypersensitive to every detail of a piece, and I can almost physically feel a bond being formed between me and that which I love so much. So it comes to no surprise that my mood is shaped by what I wear, not the other way around.
I've said before that fashion has the fantastic ability to transform. But then the niggling thought arises: are these costumes actually masks? Are we slaves to fashion; does it control who we become? No, because no matter what you wear, you will still be who you are at the core. What fashion does is bring out different facets of the patchwork that makes up who you are, enabling you to explore each inflection of your personality. How can I be so certain? Because I can speak to the notion personally.
Ever since I was a little kid, I was shy. Almost chronically so, I would say. The thought of speaking in front of people would cause my heart to beat so ferociously I could practically hear it, bring on waves of cold sweats, and leave my throat so dry my voice was a thin, wavering squeak. I read in a magazine that being shy is having an acute awareness of yourself and everything around you. It couldn't be truer. Who's looking at me? Am I standing weird? I bet everyone's looking at my flat nose, pale lips and jutted chin. Are my glasses slipping too low on my nose? Oh my god, that means I have to bring my hand up to push it back up and everyone will notice and think I'm even dorkier than I already am.
But when I started getting into fashion, something changed. Yes, as I mentioned in I am Not Fashionable, I was under a lot of pressure to "be fashionable" and find my personal style, but when I got it right, boy, did I get it right. That feeling when you close your eyes, turn up your music, and ride that flushing base to its peak...that overwhelming out-of-body experience of freedom and release of inhibition...that was how fashion made me feel. A good outfit gave me confidence like nothing else. It made me straighten out my spine, throw back my shoulders, hold my head high, and walk with purpose. Fashion saved me.
Melodramatic, surely, but no less closer to the truth. Fashion saved me from being that girl who would never believe in herself. And it wasn't just clothing. When I discovered fashion, I discovered a passion, a skill, a purpose, and a drive that I had never felt before. After years of feeling insecure and unsure about what I would do with my life, I finally had a direction - and incredible ambition. Some would call my goals unrealistic, but I've learned to ignore the naysayers.
In some ways, you do succumb to fashion to an extent. You take a leap of faith with it, throwing aside your reservations to let fashion guide you out into that scary, wide open space. But the reward is a confidence that empowers you to conquer your fears. You could call fashion my crutch, but I like to see it as a loved one cheering me on, wanting nothing else but for me to know I am better than I perceive myself to be. I am still dreadfully shy in groups more than one or two people, but fashion played its part in helping me embrace my self-worth. Every morning, I don't dress for my mood, because I put on my outfit knowing it will bring out that part of me who has lofty goals, but who will triumph over each and every one of them, one by one.
Image Source: Photo1, 2, 3