Way before I worked in fashion, I loved it. I loved shopping for something new, I loved creating new outfits. Those times when I was under ten years old, dressing up in mum’s clothes and pretending that the size 5 shoes were a perfect fit, were some of the most fun memories of my childhood. Fashion made me happy.
I have a good friend whose little girl is just 4, and insists that everything matches. If her top doesn’t go with her runners for the day, she simply won’t wear them. And that’s exactly how I was, and still am. Fast forward to age 33, and the feeling of putting on a dress I love, or my favourite shoes, never fails to put a smile on my face. I feel great, and most of all, it sets my confidence alight. Because, I am one of those people who thinks "when she looks good, she feels even better".
I wasn’t the prettiest teenager, and between a couple of rounds of bullying both in primary and secondary school, my self-confidence was shot. There was none left. I was tall and lanky with glasses, and I never felt so self-conscious than when I was in school. It wasn’t until I left, and made my way to college that I really became in tune with my identity, both intrinsically and extrinsically. I started to research fashion and become more aware of clothes and what they could do for me. I loved getting dressed up. Those college nights out were always more about looking good for me, than any kind of late night partying. Slowly but surely, I defined my personal style, and nothing made me feel better.
But it really wasn’t until I hit my thirties that I started to feel confident, and a lot of that had to do with learning my body shape, what suited me and how to wear my clothes, rather than just throwing them on. Flared jeans, fitted tops and medium length blazers became my unofficial uniform. I stuck to the formula, as I knew I was wearing an outfit that flattered me and all my curves. But I never just settled for that. I wanted to find new things to wear and test my boundaries. Now not everything worked, it never does, but it’s all about experimentation. You won’t know unless you take the outfit into the dressing room and give it a go; you’ll know either way then. It’s the same for your own wardrobe. Take some time to try it all on and see what you love the most, what makes you feel good.
Clothes give us memories too. I remember what I wore on my first night out with my husband and how I felt that night. I still have the dress, and every time I see it (or wear it) it automatically makes me smile and reminds me of that time and the early days of love. Never throw away anything sentimental, those are the pieces you need to find in a drawer from time to time and sit on the floor to think about the memories they conjure up.
Clothes are emotional. Or at least they spark emotions. And I always want that emotion or feeling to be one of confidence. So I’m going to make sure I wear things that give me that flutter of butterflies when I wear them. I want to always get ridiculously excited to wear a new dress. It makes me feel good, and I’ll never say no to that.