I don’t know if it is because of the “new year, new me” attitude that has absolutely taken over social media, but, recently, I have been thinking a lot about who I am and how I got to this point in my life. I feel grown, for lack of a better way to say it. I feel like I know who I am, what I like and what I believe in. I also feel like I understand my style.
In thinking about my style, I have been reflecting on some fashion choices I made in the past while I was trying to figure out who I was and what I liked. I was inspired to do this post and to reflect on my own style evolution because of this video by Megan Ellaby.
This post is mostly just for fun, for nostalgia and to discuss how I have changed and become more comfortable in myself. I will probably also comment on why I made the fashion choices that I made, Lord help me.
It is safe to say that my mom dressed me for most of the ’90s and a solid part of the early 2000s since I was born in 1992 and couldn’t very well be held responsible for dressing myself. I am certain my mom made sure that I was comfortable, warm or cool and safe in those days, but she is also very stylish, so I was too.
My mom will lovingly tell you that I was not into things that itched or scratched me, so she would cut out the crinoline in my dresses. I still don’t like uncomfortable fabrics, so little me knew what was up. I was also pretty active, as most kids are, so my lifestyle was probably reflected in my mom’s outfit choices for me.
I got a new dress for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter until I was a tween. You can thank my grandma for that one. I thought it was so cool to get a new dress, but I don’t remember liking the dresses very much. Velvet and lace were usually involved.
I started playing sports when I was really young as well, so my team uniforms and sport-themed attire slowly crept into my daily outfits. I’ve clearly always loved some athleisure.
In elementary school and middle school (2004-2007), I wore a lot of athletic wear and a signature, t-shirt, jeans and sneakers most days. Who remembers Shocks? I would have called myself a tomboy, I hated dresses and pink and purses. And, oh, I had a troublesome relationship with my hair. She got on my nerves. Still does, to be fair. (If you want to read more about my dislikes as a teen, click here. )
I was always very keen on dressing like everyone else and wearing what other kids wore. My aunt Christy would take me shopping to the Tyson’s Corner Mall and I would get to pick out things from trendy stores like American Eagle, Hollister, Abercrombie and Aeropostale. I lived for that shit.
I was also interested in impressing ~boys~. So, I was experimenting with make-up and wearing tighter more revealing clothes if I could getaway with it. I had boobs early and didn’t know what to do with them.
I remember getting dressed up for away basketball games was always a point of contention for me. I always was scrambling to figure out what to wear and nothing ever fit me.
This was the time in my life where I figured out that my body was not like everyone else’s and that I could not fit into what everyone else was wearing. I was also taller than most of the other girls. I remember fondly rewearing Hollister shirts that were from the men’s section.
Late middle school into high school, I was keen on attracting the male species and being cool. I was either wearing “cool” clothes that I got off the clearance rack because my family couldn’t afford the expensive stuff or I was in athletic clothes.
When I started dating my now husband in 2009, I had started wearing dresses, wearing my hair down and feeling decent in my own skin. I had lost some weight and was fitting in, I thought. My anxiety was running rampant during this time, so I don’t remember being too worried about my body. I do remember having an affinity with midi dresses and a cropped cardigan.
The summer of 2011, I gained weight again and going into college at JMU, I hated my body. I wore whatever I had that fit in my freshmen year of college. I wanted to be comfortable and the legging had just become popular and acceptable, so I was wearing those a lot.
I remember having jeans that cut into my stomach and were so uncomfortable. I hated wearing them, so I didn’t. I shopped at Kohl’s a lot during those days because they were one of the only stores I could afford that had my size. Lane Bryant may have been the only plus size store around at that time and we didn’t have one anywhere nearby and online shopping was just becoming a thing, believe it or not.
My depression also gave me absolutely no energy to think about anything other than my school work and my then boyfriend who was in basic training.
My second year of college, I started thrifting, which was a pinnacle in my style evolution. I realized that I could buy things for cheap, not look like everyone else and still look cool when I shopped at the thrift store.
I started getting into bohemian style, but staying pretty minimal with my style all the way into grad school, where I had to dress business casual for my jobs. I was getting comfortable in my body, no matter what size it was.
My mom worked at a thrift store and when I would visit her I would go shopping. Looking at clothes, figuring out what I liked and the thrill of the hunt was exciting. I was hooked.
There was a time in there where I thought that my body was not good enough to look cute in clothes. I thought I didn’t deserve to feel good about myself until I lost weight. Getting dressed was a chore. Thrifting made it so I realized that fashion was fun and for everyone!
When I got out of grad school and was job hunting for several months, I would do anything to cheer myself up. Fashion came in to save the day. I started to figure out who I was, what I liked and what I wanted to wear. My mom took the below photo of me in 2017 and that was the first time I remember feeling like I looked damn good.
Since 2016, I have continued exploring my style, loving my body and myself, and having the actual time of life with thrift shopping and shopping, in general. When I started my blog in 2019, I wasn’t even as sure of myself and my style as I am right now. Taking photos for my blog posts and having to come up with outfit ideas to share with my audience here on Instagram has made me so much more confident in my style and in my body.
I like a combination of so many styles and I am inspired by so many things in life, not just fashion. I like bohemian fashion still. I’m still a tomboy at heart. I like the hipster, cool girl style and I will pretty much experiment with anything. I’m all about being comfortable, confident and cute and I want other people to feel the exact same way.
Fashion is therapeutic for me and getting dressed is a celebration of my own creativity and my body. It took me so so long to figure all that out, but I am so happy that I did. I now know that I had to give myself permission to love myself before I could love fashion because society told me growing up that fashion was for skinny, blonde, white girls. Not me, the plus size, curly haired, tatted woman that I am. And damn, does it feel good.
If you are feeling like you don’t know where you are with your style, you are looking to experiment more with fashion or you are afraid of trying something new, I hope you will flip society the bird with me and wear whatever the hell you want. Fashion is supposed to be fun! Fashion is for EVERYONE.
Let me know if you want to hear more about my curly hair evolution and my confidence journey.