Sunday, March 28, 2010

On the Subject of Fashion

 To me, fashion is a deeply personal subject.  I believe that fashion is in the eye of the beholder.  And like most bloggers, I would go so far as to say that often personal fashion is a direct expression of someone's personality.  (Or at least the personality they want people to perceive!)  As a child, I was pretty fashionable.  Mostly because my mom was in charge of my clothes, so everything I had was very cute and appropriate for a kid.  Once I hit my tweens, though, and she didn't have any more say in my clothing choices, it all started to fall apart.  This is where I confess my sad, sad lack of fashion skills between the ages of ...say, 10 and 17.  Oh, I thought I was fashionable.  I thought I was the coolest looking girl out there.  And I know, it should work out that if you think you're cool, you are.  But no.  I wasn't even a hot mess.  I was more of a tepid mess.  The eyes that beheld me were often pretty disgusted.  There were shirts I clung to, that I cringe at the thought of, my hair that went poorly brushed most mornings, the fact that most of my clothes I picked out were too big, until the latter half of high school when the tops at least went the other direction.  To be fair, I don't think most kids have a great sense of fashion.  I think it's something we have to grow into to, because our fashion is as personal, and most people don't have any clue who they really are until after puberty.   I certainly don't think it helped that I went through puberty early, and was wearing an actual bra, not a training bra, in the fourth grade.  And then in high school, puberty smacked me around again as I went up multiple cup sizes, and through a lot of new bras.  I had just started to develop a vaguely artistic, slightly hippie, occasionally dangerous looking style of my own when I went off to college.  And then.  I went to a private university, where anorexia and bulimia ruled the women's dorms, with preppy style close behind.  I stayed my true size (a curvy hourglass), but the preppy style slowly crept in over the next four years.  It stayed there in the edges while I moved to Kansas and went to graduate school, working full-time.  Then I moved back to Virginia, and as I kept applying for jobs and not getting them, I gained some weight.  I finally got a job, and as I went through all my clothes to find stuff that fit, I was dismayed at what I saw.  This wasn't me!  I wasn't really this boring, oxford shirt-wearing, plain black pants sort of person!  Last year, my sister showed me some fashion blogs online, I got interested in this concept of finding my own personal style, and maybe even making a outfit blog of my own.  I rummaged through my closet, and set huge piles of stuff on the spare bed.  It turned out that, despite my lifelong snarking about "girly girls", I prefer wearing skirts to pants or jeans.  It just looks better on my figure, and feels more comfortable.  I still like those hippie shirts like I did in high school, but I also love embellished t-shits made of slub cotton, and buttonless cardigans.  I wear flats, not heels, but that doesn't mean they aren't adorable.  I wear leggings under most skirts and under dresses, and I have a deep love of arm warmers and leg warmers.  So now, my sense of fashion has regrown to the point where I like what I wear and I have written proof that others do too!


  1. Everyone has a fashion journey... thanks for sharing yours!


  2. Congratulations on finding what works for you!

  3. Great post! I really enjoyed reading this, mainly (from a selfish point of view) because it recognises so much of my own life. I think most women have that 'mirror turning point' when they realise what they see is not what they feel and are repulsed. But the important point is the choices they make from that point onwards. So sincere applause to you for having the guts to do something about it, to make yourself more content to what is reflected in the mirror. Well done you!
    Thank you for your words and I look froward to reading through more of your blog!
    Nat xxxx

  4. Hi Erin, great post! I think university is a very hard time for lots of women - any confidence I had in my face and body and sense of style that I had when I was at school completely left me at university. My turning point came when I was training to be a teacher and realised that, as I didn't look good or feel good in jeans and t-shirts, and that blouses made me look mumsy, I didn't have to wear them. So since then I've taken great pleasure in wearing what I want, and what suits me. It's good!