Over the past couple of years, I’ve had a complicated relationship with style. My personal style and love for clothing has been an innate instinct that I’ve taken pride in, most of my life. Having dressed in a uniform for 9 years, attending kindergarten to eighth grade, a Free Dress Day was the equivalent to a Casual Friday. There was always an excitement in picking the one outfit that would remind my fellow classmates what I was all about. Behind the white collard shirt and green plaid skirt, I was bursting to share more. Style tells my story without me having to say anything at all.
In High School, I had my break. No more uniforms. It was now my turn to express myself without having to be the most social, extroverted student. They say you should never judge a book by it’s cover, but when you’re a 13 year old girl trying to fit in, every single book gets judged, including my own. Style was my defense. Every morning, I put thought into selelcting what would feel right for me. I dressed for no one but for my own reassurance that I felt good.
As I’ve matured, I’ve lost that same drive to place clothing on my body that identifies and aligns with my happiness and comfort. I’ve been exposed to different experiences and circumstances that have hindered my own style values. For example, working in a department store selling premium denim and cozy tees, made me obsessed with the fit and quality of denim. My closet no longer was home to shift dresses and high waisted skirts. It had been rented by piles and piles of premium denim. I was blinded by the moment and lost track of my style identity. Working in an office also added a slight pressure to conform to the typical office environment. One of my employers celebrated an extremely relaxed dress code. When I say relaxed, I mean cargo shorts, open toed thong sandals, and I don’t even want to continue. While this was great for some people, it simply wasn’t me. Though I never did conform to denim shorts in the workplace, I did bring my own personal style down a couple notch. I became more concerned about “fitting in” with my coworkers instead of feeling like myself.
2016 was the year Marie Konmari really “changed my life through tidying” or at least reminded me of what brings joy to my life. What brings joy? Clothing, fashion, style, brands, fashion weeks, shopping, malls, materialism, all of it! I’m here to reclaim my style or at least find some pride again. Because as Ms. Liya Kebede says “style is open to all. And your style? It can only belong to you, no one else.”