Growing up, I always thought I was a confident person. This was due mostly to the fact that I was comfortable: comfortable in my town, with the people. I was established. For eighteen years I never had to worry about introducing myself to people, because in my town, everyone already knew everyone. I was successful in school and sports and in the community.
Moving three hours away from home disrupted everything. When I lost my safety net, I lost my boldness. I sat in the back of classrooms and stopped putting myself out there. The person I was becoming felt like a shrunken, lesser version of myself.
The good thing about college, though, is that even from the backs of classrooms you still learn. Although my participation was weak at best, I still began to feel my love for all things fashion growing. I grew to love not just the aesthetics of clothes but also the production process, the chemical makeup of fibers, merchandising, the principles of design, and the fast fashion industry.
Learning blossomed outside of the classroom for me too. I started reading blogs and designer biographies. I spent hundreds of dollars on books that teach about the history of color and trend forecasting.
I no longer ask other people what they think of something before I buy it, which is something I would’ve never dreamed of doing in high school. This new way of shopping has led me to make some of my all time favorite purchases (shoutout to my 70s mom jeans and cut off Runaways band tee).
Today when I shop, I ask myself how I feel in the clothes that I’m trying on. Do I feel powerful? Do I feel interesting? Do I feel like me? I’ve learned that you can wear almost anything so long as you wear it confidently.
When I lost who I was, fashion found me. Now I can’t imagine a more comfortable place than scouring racks of different colors and textures, searching for the item that makes me feel something, except for maybe sitting alone at a coffee shop writing.
Fashion reminded me that people care what you think. It gave me the courage to write this blog and to stop being afraid to put myself out there. Getting dressed is the way that we tell the world who we are without saying anything out loud. When you’re quiet, fashion still speaks.
Getting dressed is both a product and a process. Clothing can make us feel things that nothing else can. What do you put on that makes you feel powerful? When do you feel the most like you in what you’re wearing?