What is Fashion anyway?
Fashion is a visual manifestation of your style and manner of behavior. It is how you communicate yourself to the world. Yes, it involves “things” that are used as a means to represent the complexities of you, but fashion is not itself those things alone. And although fashion is individualistic, there are also “best practices,” if you will, for showcasing who you are.
My Approach + Goal
This particular section of The Illumine Blog is focusing on Women’s Fashion. Personally, I always try to approach fashion from a practical standpoint: in accordance with income, comfortable (because although I have heard the “beauty is pain” phrase, I don’t think it has to be), and simple. Fashion is what works for you and does not come from outside sources in “things” ie. lipsticks, eyeshadow & the works. Those items are meant to enhance the beauty from within and showcase your uniqueness.
My goal in this section is to address misconceptions and enlighten a positive perspective to empower others as we discuss brands, routines, trends, and best practices for finding your own style which will resonate with the fashionista but also the person who doesn’t have thousands to spend on clothes, hours to spend getting ready, and who may not automatically “get” all of this at first.
My Fashion History
Fashion has helped express my complexity over the years. It shows my mixed interests in my “want it all” personality, my softer side, my fierce side, and my love of design. If you are here, it means you have an interest in fashion, and I’m sure you’ve allowed it to show the incredible connections of who you are: your history and experiences that encompasses you or perhaps you are seeking to find tangible ways to do just that.
With competing interests as a young child, I did rollerblade and skateboard with my brothers, but I’d be damned if I didn’t have 3 wardrobe changes in the duration of our playtime and accessorize my headband to match the belt on my mini-skirt. It’s just always been a means of undertaking expression often seamlessly but there have certainly been fashion blunders (I have them burned into my memory).
We’ve all been through many fashion stages, some of which are fashion crimes: perms and crimping, leopard print, gaucho pants (still emotionally recovering from that fail), over-matching, gangsta-phase, punk-emo, too many accessories, and so many others. It’s a long journey that develops as we do.
The fact that humans psychologically associate things visually means the messaging of how we present ourselves is important. There is a positive balance of not caring what people think letting go of insecurities and wanting to send the message that aligns with who you are authentically.
Often, people feel embarrassed to even want to express themselves opposite to those who are obsessed with wanting to look unlike themselves. I’m dedicated to living a healthy lifestyle holistically meaning from all aspects of life, and a huge part of that is coming to terms with myself. Remember to be kind to yourself, you are the only operator in your own life—you don’t get another self. Because, I know that loving myself in a healthy way contributes to how I see myself overall, how I act, and how others treat me (not to mention how I let them treat me), it’s important not to brush aside self-care. It’s not conceited to take care of you or want to be better.
Just as people are under the impression that money is evil, many people feel that fashion is evil (makeup, designer clothes, etc). Without looking deeper we come up with all kinds of defensive justifications for our misunderstanding while remaining insecure, but it’s important to remember the truth. It is not money that is said to be evil but the LOVE of money (meaning the obsession and greed of it). The same is true of Fashion. Fashion itself is not evil or dangerous at all, but an unhealthy view of anything can cause horrific damage to our hearts and minds.
Fashion and overall expression have an undeniable effect on our self-esteem and attitude, so why wouldn’t you want to feel good about yourself over feeling fear? With a healthy and simplistic approach thinking about how we are expressing ourselves can be a positive thing–it can actually be fun too. Maybe you personally aren’t doing much at all right now in that area, but you want to. The first initial step is to not let fear stop you. Sometimes you have to do something afraid and just conquer it anyway. No matter how afraid you are of putting yourself out there, how stupid you think your voice is, how much you hate your hands or your chin, or whatever laundry list of ugliness you’ve let linger for years you will start to have moments where things just click for you: where you are able to stick up for yourself or deny a lie headed your way. Expressing yourself is also not about mimicking someone else (although you can get inspired by others) but finding what fits you, what style you enjoy for your age and body type, and what makes you feel content.
Remember that it takes time for something to really “click” so be kind to yourself. It doesn’t have to be about being glamorous but being authentic: it doesn’t have to mean hundreds of dollars spent in makeup or hours getting ready, but putting together great pieces for yourself. Remember that the journey is never finished it’s just evolving and to not let fear stop you because putting yourself out there is a part of life (and something that you can truly conquer). It’s rare that people are automatically excellent at something. If you become a learner, you will get there eventually! Reclaiming the message and medium you are sending to express yourself means you are switching over from living passively in that area to showing you care about the energy that others pick up around you (because they do, trust me), your influence, and being taken seriously.
And try not to get caught up in the insecure negativity surrounded by the topic itself. Think of it this way, do you think when God was crafting the earth he thought “you know, everything can be one color on this earth because it would be too flashy otherwise. I’m not going to spend a lot of thought and time on this because it’s love and relationship that are really important anyway.” I hope you started laughing towards the end of that. Of course, that didn’t happen because God crafted the most excellent, beautiful and best creations. There are so many gorgeous textures, structures, creativity, colors, personalities. And the creator embraces this! Not two people are exactly the same on this earth in every capacity-so why does it not matter to show people who you are? It’s not a bad thing to want excellent things!!
This is why I am constantly saying to approach this from a “healthy” and “authentic” way. That DOES NOT mean being uncomfortable about who you are so you want to change yourself or focusing on reaching for perfection, I’m talking about something entirely different: a kindness to allow yourself grace in your flaws as you do others, not squirming when you think about yourself or hating the way you look and feel. This is about being comfortable enough to learn how to understand who you are and not hate it! And FOR THE LOVE: stop insulting yourself.
A positive view of something starts with leaving behind the negative connotations that are being thrown around and realizing the true meaning of something. Fashion is you: your authentic visual style and story, and it’s your job to be its storyteller.
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