After a bit of a leave I am back again with the second part of my series on how I encountered stereotypes laid on women by society – and then mostly, by men.
I once was told by a guy that my clothes don’t flatter me.
This was of course pretty upsetting to hear, because as a person you dress to express yourself – whether you have a comfortable or ladylike style, you spread a message. I, at the time, was wearing a jeans, a floral blouse by Zara and I believe my cognac colour winter shoes. The comment was mostly targetting the blouse, which I actually really adored. I had bought it while shopping with one of my dearest friends and we both agreed it looked super on me. My question thus is: why does someone express his opinion about how you dress so openly?
Well, I think there is a lot behind that expression of saying that something doesn’t flatter another. Firstly, I think that our society is flattening out when it comes to fashion style. A lot of us just wear what’s trendy for the season. Not that that is a wrong thing to do, necessarily, but I sensed that a whole bunch of people younger than me – I’m 19 – all look the same; ripped jeans, white Adidas Stan Smith sneakers, girly blouses/ t shirts, long hair; mostly centre-parted, no frizz, no curls. So in comparison to that, I’m almost the reverse; curls, often frizz, no centre part (I even braid my hair when it’s damp and so I go out and about with a braid and actually like it), no white sneakers: mostly leather, classic shoes and girly blouses… well, let’s say that depends on the mood 😉 .
To make a long story short, I’m just afraid that in a while there will be no space left for individual style and that in order to be ‘accepted’, you will have to dress a certain way and wear what everybody else wears in order to be thought ‘beautiful’. This to me is devastating and shocking at once!
When I was 12 years and just starting high school, I was by far the most classically dressed: I had to moan to get my first pair of sneakers, beg for the kind of sweaters my class mates wore. I wore classic shoes, wide trousers – not even jeans – and almost old-fashioned jumpers. I had little friends at that age, while I am actually quite good at conversing with others, but at that time apparently not with youngsters. I had to wait until I turned 14 and started senior secondary education to find that atmosphere that allowed myself to be me. So now, I hardly wear those hoodies – I stuck with the converse, however 😉 – and just wear what I like, no matter what others think. I thought that that space of acceptance was normal, as your class mates and you including age and become more mature. I hadn’t expected that university would reverse that – I think positive – evolution of accepting others’ expressions through fashion. Now I’m sort of rebounced to the position I had when I was 12: not found interesting enough by ‘the popular bunch’. Not that I really mind, but for people who can’t brush that off their sleeves, there might be a problem. That worries me: that through time, there will be more outcasts, just for not agreeing with the general idea of fashion.
<above: a few of my favourite things>
Secondly, what you like on yourself and on others. We all know that our best friends give us fashion advice when going shopping and that’s marvellous because it shows that that person cares about you and wants you to feel good in your clothes – which is utterly important for self esteem, I believe. But some people want that everyone follows their opinion about fashion and appearance. The previously mentioned guy also said that if I dressed differently, boys would surely like / gaze at me more. (If you read my previous post on this subject, you will know that that gives me the chills.) Why dress for someone else? Why change your style to become more popular? This is the true opposite of all I believe in. When it comes to your appearance, you must dress for one person only: you. Wear what makes you feel beautiful, self-confident. It’s utterly important and I myself have underestimated this fact for a long time.
Below: some of my most adored pieces of clothing, all for different reasons; vintage bag I got from my Mum, a long British style raincoat which I own since I was 16, a striped wool dress (so comfy in autumn / winter) and a washed off jeans jacket, bought with a huge discount in sales!
So, I want to make a plea to wear what you like and don’t let anyone get to you. What you wear is a visual expression of who you are. If you like pointy shoes – like me – wear them. If you like jelly pink raincoats: wear them. Nolite te bastardes carborundum.
PS: I did not make any earnings from this post. Just to be clear, since I mention some brands 🙂