May 21, 2014

Rookie No More

I don't know what made me search her up, but girl, it's been years.  Long time no see, Tavi Gevinson.

Boy, time goes by quickly.  In my mind Tavi will always be the miniature girl who took the fashion world by storm with her youthful (but knowledgeable) prose and her penchant for granny chic at such an early age. Admittedly, I wasn't one of those who had jumped on the Tavi bandwagon.  I looked through her blog and couldn't distinguish that beguiling voice that had readers riveted and high fashion designers ushering her to front row status.  She sounded like exactly what she was: a young girl exploring fashion.  Certainly much of her appeal came from the fact that most girls her age didn't care about Chanel, much less Karl Lagerfeld, but I wouldn't say she was more than just a girl having fun with the way she dressed.  I couldn't see that maturity or worldly insight she apparently had.

But while I was personally not swayed by her words, I was inspired by her life (and also a teensy bit...ok insanely...jealous).  Here was a girl who, years younger than me, was already doing everything I had only begun to work towards.  It was Style Rookie, along with Sea of Shoes and The Sartorialist, that inspired me to start my own blog.  I saw how they created their own community around their passions, and I realized that the freedom of being able to speak my mind was something I was missing in my fashion-obsessed life.  I needed a conduit for ideas that were, at that point, simply broiling over in the solitude of my head (a recipe for madness).  Sure, I jumped on the bandwagon late, but at least I caught its tail-end.

Sadly, blogging has now quickly been replaced with Tumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter - condensed, visceral, efficient forms of information exchange.  Traditional bloggers may no longer have the prominence they once had, but I will never forget those who inspired me daily by taking the time to spill their hearts and minds into cyberspace.

But anyway, back to Tavi.  The purpose of this post was to congratulate her on...everything, basically.  She's a magazine editor, she sings, she's dappled in acting, she's applying to college, she has a boyfriend, she's exploring life outside of fashion, she has a new style...she's growing up.  From an adorable girl in her granny knits and gray hair, to a young woman with Scarlett Johansson's sultriness, Michelle Williams' self-assuredness, and the Olsen twins' cool.  She's a rookie no more.

Image Source: Photo1, 234

May 10, 2014

How Fashion Saved My Life

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