I have always had a bit of an issue when it comes to wearing what I am meant to; it is like ‘don’t press the red button’ syndrome, the thing I know would be the least appropriate is the only thing I want to wear.
Despite the way I throw clothes on I have a surprisingly good grasp of styling. I worked for years in various retail departments on the shop floor, as a visual merchandiser and a window dresser – I prided myself on being able to select outfits for different occasions and types of people.
Though I have the knowledge to put together appropriate attire, actually wearing the ‘perfect’ outfit that receives adoration can often make me feel awkward.
At high school our uniform was simple black trousers or skirt, white shirt or polo shirt, black shoes and a tie, even these simple rules I could not follow: I wore black polo shirts, fishnets, ugg boots, skate shoes, baggy bench trousers and my tie had a nice home in my bag.
It was a similar story when working in House of Fraser, the uniform was all black, (which is what I wear 98% of the time anyway) but having it forced upon me meant I had to always sneak in a bit of colour, whether it be bright red leggings, layered tops, shoes or crazy makeup. I say had because it is like a compulsion of mine to push things right up to the line, to see how far I can go, it is not just with clothing but with everything, I like to rebel but also know my limits.
I think that being told what to wear is a particular issue for me as it is one of the first decisions that I was given. My mum, though encouraged wearing more feminine or practical outfits, learned very early on that if we bought something I actually liked I was less likely to destroy it either by a carefully executed ‘accident’ or by generally running wild.
This importance of my personal style became more intense during my previously mentioned Silent Bob impressionist phase as makeup and clothing were the only ways I had to express myself.
I hate being told how I should be, in an ideal world there would be less focus on what is draped over us and more on personality. Saying this, I do have a close relationship with clothes.
I used to be a frivolous buyer, but after backpacking and moving to London (where my wardrobe and living space were decreased), I realised that spending money was an attempt to fill a void in my own confidence, I had an outfit for every person I was expected to be.
Though I occasionally have a classic “I have nothing to wear” hissy fit whilst surrounded by a discarded pile of clothes, these tantrums are much less frequent as now I only keep items that I feel secure in, if not I sell or charity shop them as I no longer allow something as superficial as clothing to be a negative in my life.
This is the reason I am very particular with my style though (leather, skulls, biker boots and skinny jeans are all staples) they have to be just right, which is something that other people find hard to understand. Whilst out shopping with friends or family they often say “that is so you” and though the pieces are similar to what I wear I try my best not to look horrified as I know that is is not something that I would feel comfortable in.
One positive that has comes from having an issue with mental health and a breakdown is that in building myself back up I know exactly who I am, both positive and negative, therefore I no longer need the reassurance from other people that I am wearing the right thing because, frankly, I will do what I feel is right for me.
This entire blog post came around because even though I look like I was off to a festival (where there was a weird line up of Steel Panther, AC/DC, Oasis and The Spice Girls) I was in fact going to IKEA.
It really didn’t cross my mind what I had chucked on that day but whilst strolling around the huge warehouse I realised what I was wearing was not the norm, but I felt good and really that is what matters.
I think the key thing about all these fashion ‘rules’ is not to wear what is expected of you but what you feel confident in, I honestly believe that kind of positive energy is much more attractive than the actual material which we cover up in.
Do you guys feel comfortable in your own style? Do you feel pressure to conform?