As a girl who has been addicted to shopping since I came out of the womb, fashion and clothing have always been a central part of the person I am and the person that the world sees me as. While many people love coming to me for style advice and watching what crazy outfit I’m going to wear next, I know there are many who judge me and other fashion lovers for our passion. I get it; from an outside perspective, girls who are into clothes, shoes, bags, etc. are considered shallow, superficial, and materialistic. People could easily look at my style Instagram page and think that all I do is buy new clothes every day and pose in them.
I was always aware of this stigma as I was growing up and for that reason never deemed fashion a meaningful career path to explore in life. I always thought of clothing as more of a guilty pleasure than a way to make a difference. Once I started to embrace that fashion was not only deeply rooted in my genes, but also a huge aspect of my personal identity, I realized the incredible and important power that clothing and perosnal style has on us, as well as past and future generations.
Fashion creates a means of self-expression unique to any other art form. Without even hearing a person speak or knowing anything about them, we can look at the way they dress and learn something about the person they are. This might sound like “judging a book by its cover,” but analyzing the clothes individuals choose can enlighten us about the people, tendencies, and culture of our environments. People (and outfit) watching can not only be some of the best entertainment, but the best education. As designer Miucci Prada says, “What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today, when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language.”
Also, every single detail of an outfit has a story and a meaning no matter how small, how expensive, or how stylish. Upon complimenting a person on their t-shirt or asking them where they got their cool bag, you always learn something new about their history, personality, and style. I love hearing people say “Oh, this was actually a hand me down from my grandma” or “I got this at Target, everyone thinks it’s a fancy brand though.” Fashion is truly one of the only ways people can express all the many influences in their life with the world. When I think about my own unique wardrobe, this statement holds true. I think of all the Nikes I have had over the years, inspired by the many basketball games I watched my brother play. I think of the unreasonable number of pink, sparkly items in my closet, inspired by the girly, childish side of my personality that constantly dominates the decisions of my wallet. I think of the endless hand-me-downs and gifts from my friends and family in New York, the place that first sparked my love of fashion. I love how in one outfit, I can portray the many aspects of the person I am and share what is important to me with everyone around me.
In an era of conformity and the constant pressure to fit in, this kind of self-expression is so important. Once I stopped being embarrassed about overdressing and sticking out from the crowd in my various rainbow jumpsuits, I fully immersed myself in my personal style and found true confidence. It might seem shallow of me to say that something so materialistic can give me such empowerment. But us girls all know that when we feel amazing in a fabulous outfit, there is no stopping us. Women find pure joy in knowing they look beautiful in a dress, or finally finding the perfect fitting jeans, or simply being excited to treat themselves to a new item. Many things in life can bring people down, but these kinds of feelings lift people up. So, next time you see a girl walking down the street in a stylish outfit, don’t judge her for caring about how she looks. Praise her for making a choice to share with the world a piece of her personality and compliment her on her shoes. And for the girl walking down the street: “People will stare. Make it worth their while.”- Harry Winston.
COVER PHOTO: Instagram