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and i’m feelin’ good: what fashion means to me

Image courtesy of Jay Ong

Image courtesy of Jay Ong

Some people think fashion is superficial, and something akin to an unnecessary, pointless and expensive hobby. But wait, I know what you’re thinking. How very dare they.

Take my parents, for a spiffy example. To them, appearance is a matter of buying clothes to put on your body so that, simply put,  you are not naked. End of story. Because who cares if my Dad wears thongs (I mean the flip flop kind, get your mind out of the gutter, you dirty rascals) to a fancy restaurant, or if my Mum doesn’t comb her hair before walking out the door, right? Bare feet and mop hair don’t exactly constitute a global threat or anything, but I personally like to take pride in my appearance.

‘They’re not just clothes, Dad. It’s about the way they make you FEEL,’ I say, to which he responds with a withering look and subsequently, a disparaging, ‘Yeah right. You just want to look pretty.’

Well, true. Can’t argue with that. BUT STILL.

While I understand that some aspects of fashion may be shallow, I just cannot comprehend how ‘worthless’ or ‘pointless’ it can be when you just feel so good about yourself wearing your new Windsor Smiths, or how differently you carry yourself when you wear the perfectly planned outfit that you’d laid out on your bed the night before. Because it’s true; dressing up can really make you look and feel beautiful. There is definitely a link between your clothing choices and emotional state, and don’t you deny it, girlfriend, because tell me when you haven’t pouted those lips for a selfie after putting on your lipstick, or haven’t felt Beyonce-esque when trying out that delicious bralette.

My love affair with clothes started when I was around 14 years old. I’m not sure what, but some Godly revelation hit me, and I made a change from my childhood hoodie which I wore almost religiously to all social events (wince), to experimenting with the trends (ah, the good ol’ days when I discovered the joys of layering and print-mixing). I read through fashion blogs joyfully and obsessively (still do, so that much hasn’t changed), and I felt as if I had found my calling in life. It was sudden and completely out of the blue, but I fell in love fast and hard.

Sure, there have been a multitude of mistakes along the way (even now I am trying hard to dispel traumatic memories of my woeful attempts at colour blocking, see red leggings paired with denim shorts and a yellow jumper), but there will always be dips in the road, stumbling blocks, a hurdle to overcome, a seed in your purportedly seedless grape, you know what I mean. But if you feel good doing whatever you’re doing, then what the heck. Your own style is such a personal form of self-expression and it has so much power to raise your self-esteem as it did mine. So tap into that.

I feel like I’m back in a high school assembly when I say this, but in the words of Bernard M. Baruch, ‘Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.’ The best quote in the history of quotes, I reckon. So, don’t worry about convention. Ignore your Dad standing there in his flip flops. Just wear what makes you happy, and Bob’s your uncle.

Check out Jay’s fashion blog here.

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