“Shorts looked cute on her when she was younger, she’s over 30 now and a mother to boot! She should be wearing something long, like leggins now!”
I am paraphrasing to some extend as I did not want to fully quote the person writing this, but the message I stumbled upon in a forum today stayed the same: ‘you reached a certain age, so dress accordingly.’
I remember when I was 18 and worked in an office. A co-worker that shall not be named made it her sole purpose in life to openly (and loudly) judge my appearance and my makeup in front of everyone, including my boss. I was confused and sad: why would she do that to me? I looked just fine (I did!) and I was happy with the way I looked! But that day (or all these days she chose to comment) my self esteem took a hit.
You might or might not have noticed, that today’s post will be a little bit different from the usual fashion style and advice articles you can usually expect to find here. However, I think the message I want to get across is not less important. But let’s get back to the story for another moment.
I stayed in that company for a few years before I finally had enough of the office as well as the job itself. I quit and moved on to greater things (well maybe not greater, but different: I studied Fashion Design).
The people I met there were great. And we did not judge each others appearances. We had all sorts of fashion styles roaming the floors. I myself experimented with Visual Kei as well as Lolita (both Japanese street fashion styles, but pretty much at different ends of the spectrum)and had a Lolita fashion label as a side business. I already looked back on this a good 6 years ago and you can read through my wardrobe turnover here.
Dressed in the styles I loved, I naturally attracted lots of attention, some good, some bad. But I loved my personal style. My outfits just gave me so much confidence and self esteem because I loved what I saw in the mirror. So I kept on going, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Fast forward to today I no longer wear those styles for various reasons. I feel I outgrew my Visual Kei phase and I no longer feel comfortable wearing Lolita. I still love more styles than my bank account would approve of. I’s hard sometimes, because I still love some Japanese styles and Blair Waldorf is my style icon. I totally dig her headbands, too, but for a long time I felt too shy to wear any of that- because I am not a teenager anymore. Society wouldn’t approve, or so I thought. I think this shift in how I thought about my wardrobe came, in fact, with getting older. With re-entering the office world after finishing my Fashion Design degree.
But then, to me, fashion is a way to express myself. Fashion should be fun. Fashion is not permanent. The makeup artist Wayne Goss used to say: “Don’t take it too seriously, wear what makes you happy! It’s just makeup, you can wash it off!” And it’s exactly the same with fashion! Well, I would not recommend washing it off, but you get where I am coming from.
There are worse things than wearing a headband past your teen years. There are worse things than wearing shorts when you are 30+. THERE ARE WORSE THINGS THAN WEARING SOMETHING STRANGERS DO NOT APPROVE OF! And so I challenge each and every one of us to start wearing the styles we love, without feeling guilty!
Of course, if you have to wear a uniform at work, using fashion to express yourself might be tricky. But in some fields there are ways to bend the dress code to accommodate your personal style or to just make it a tiny bit more interesting. You like it girly and frilly but your boss expects you to wear suits only? Wear a frilly blouse or cute shoes. You are supposed to wear certain colors? Experiment with interesting cuts or accessories.
When I studied Fashion Design I worked part time in a store that sold everything kitchen related from frying pans to wine glasses. Company policy was to wear black. I got tired of it super quickly, but what your boss wants, your boss gets… I kept wearing black – but spiced my work outfits up with colorful jewelry.
Unless it’s for work it is no one’s business what you wear. People that judge you based on your appearance should judge themselves for being narrow-minded first. You do you, you wear what makes you happy! Rock your personal style!
Like I said, more often than not you can find a way to incorporate your personal style into everyday life. Depending on your situation it can take guts to wear what you want. But I also think that wearing what makes you happy in fact makes you stronger, too. Plus, developing a signature style is so much fun! It can be a hobby all in itself!
I personally am currently working on a long overdue wardrobe overhaul. It’s a work in progress but I enjoy it tremendously! Finding my new personal style, incorporating things I’ve seen other influencers wear and that give me joy, throwing out the stuff I grew tired of… It’s so refreshing! It’s like a personal spring clean! I am excited to find out what the future holds for me, fashion wise!
On that note: I wrote a guide on how to find your personal style and stick to it. It won’t be published on this blog but you can get your hands on it for free if you join my mailing list. Like that you will also never miss a post of mine anymore!
I would love to hear from you in the comments if you have any stories to share about your own fashion struggles. I can also already announce that there will be a couple guests posts soon, as I think it’s important to share our experiences with and be kind to each other. One of them is online already and covers confidence when wearing alternative fashion.