I grew up in a small suburb where fashion was not important. Other than wearing a floral sundress and cork-wedges to church on Sunday, no one cared to put on more than a giant T-shirt and leggings every day.
And growing up, I was pretty shy. I didn't have the confidence to express myself in the way I wanted to, because I desperately wanted to fit in. So I followed the crowd.
I wore jeans and T-shirts to school, and then would come home and flip through Vogue and watch runways for HOURS. I would imagine myself dressed head-to-toe in Valentino, Saint Laurent, or whatever my favorite bloggers were wearing, but I was too afraid of ridicule dress how I really wanted to.
It wasn't until I moved to New York that I finally A. got the confidence, and B. changed my mindset. I started thinking about the way I dressed as a form of expression, and a way of showing the world who I am, not just throwing on whatever everyone else was wearing
"Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak" - Rachel Zoe
Every day, when we get dressed, we can choose to be whatever version of ourselves we want. I can put on all black, pull my hair up in a tight bun, swipe on a red lip, and be an aloof, NYC 'cool girl', or I can put on a powder-pink pantsuit and sneakers and be fun, adventurous go-getter.
It's an expression of what's inside, just like painting, writing, or drawing. What you choose to dress yourself in tells the world who you are or who you want to be.
No matter the version we choose that day, I 100% believe in the psychology of "when you look good, you feel good", and I want to dress every day to be my most confident, best self.
This is actually pretty easy to do in a city of 8 million people. It's much harder back home in that same small suburb. Comments like "who are you dressing up for", "where are you going" etc...
Let's clear one thing up, I'm dressing up for ME, I'm expressing MYSELF, I'm not wearing a blue and white pinstripe, flare-leg jumpsuit for anyone but myself. Because I feel confident in it.
That's the one thing I would tell my younger self, and what I hope I can instill in anyone who may still be in that age / place / mindset. That you should be able to express you personality and creativity no matter what the opinions of others are. In whatever medium that creativity may be.
For me, that's fashion. Fashion is not "cute", fashion is not exclusive. Fashion is a channel of expressing what you feel on the inside, and a way of empowering you to be your best self.
So go for it. Wear whatever the hell you want, and don't let anyone stop you.