I have gone through many, MANY different style personas ranging from slightly punk/gothic (which never really went away) to preppy, to what I can only term rainbow bohemian to what I am now, more of a classic minimalist.
WHEN I WAS IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
I remember wearing my mother’s clothes! I thought it was great to wear more adult things, and I distinctly remember wearing this baby blue batwing dolman sweater she had with red corduroy pants and pink sneakers.
My mom saw me in my chosen outfit, and exclaimed with delight:
How clever you are to have combined all those colours and pieces together in such an interesting fashion!
It was a terrible outfit, but my mother never criticized what I wore because she was a clotheshorse as well and wanted to encourage me as much as possible in any kind of artsy/creative endeavours to help my imagination & build my brain.
I also remember wearing a lot of pink and purple (my two ultimate favourite colours), unicorns, rainbows and flowers of every shade and colour imaginable.
Black, grey, neutrals and all those sort of ‘adult’ colours, never factored into my wardrobe.
It was the biggest, brightest, most colourful items possible for me. Preferably worn all at once.
I was never one of those achingly ‘chic’ stylish children whom you see nowadays, dressed in Ralph Lauren black label clothes, or little tops that you know cost $50 at a minimum, being all minimalist and chic; or what I would aspire to have as an outfit now as an adult.
I mean, just look at how really chic children dress today!! I’d wear this outfit NOW.
A little Burberry trench, cuffed jeans, striped shirt and flats? OMG.
I was definitely, a child.
I was also a bit of a tomboy so it was always a given that I had bike shorts in various rainbow hues underneath all of my skirts. 🙂
I was equal parts longing to be a girly frilly princess and a Ramona from Beverly Cleary type of character, climbing trees and skinning my knees.
I never wore brand names, a lot of it was secondhand (and rightly so, I grew like crazy) and I was never ‘cool’ because I didn’t wear Jordache or Levi jeans.
WHEN I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL
I cringe when I look back at photos and think of what I wore.
Picture a very awkward pre-teen in braces, thick, THICK glasses, bangs, and pimples, wearing $10 grey ribbed cotton tops from some random cheap mall store, and black jeans from Sears on liquidation. Top it off with a butterfly choker and you have my style.
It was a pretty awkward, terrible stage. I think I may have blocked out most of my outfits from my mind, and it is only when I look back at old photos, do I recall wearing certain outfits.
I stopped wearing skirts and exclusively wore pants and very masculine items, save for my love for all things shiny & pretty in jewellery, because I was very insecure, had low self-esteem about my own looks but high self-esteem about my personality & brains.
I used my brain as a shield against being awkward around all of these other seemingly secure, popular, perfect children and it is only now that I realize that NO ONE was confident in high school.
It’s hard to see the forest for the trees.
Anyway, at this stage, I went through a punk rock / goth stage where I wore only black, and I didn’t go as far as to rim my eyes in kohl everyday and get piercings or tattoos, but I was definitely toeing the line.
I wore huge knee-high lace-up boots, a lot of leather, lace, and chokers. That was as far as I wanted to go, but it was far enough that my family started keeping a little careful eye on me to make sure I was just going through a phase, and that I was still fine and not about to rebel or start withdrawing from society.
Then in my last year of school my braces miraculously came off. I discovered I could wear contacts, and my entire self-esteem about myself changed completely.
I even got my first boyfriend at 19!
Previous to that time, I was very definitely ensconced in my ‘ugly duckling’ mindset, working hard on being the brainiac instead because I thought it was all I had to offer, and I was pleasantly surprised to realize to myself that I was not in fact, ugly.
Underscored by this confidence and self-realization, I started dressing more like a girl and enjoying it.
I wore knee-length skirts (never quite got onto the miniskirt phase), I started wearing more colour, and a little makeup here and there (think: Silver eyeliner and eyeshadow. Oh my goodness it was terrible….)
WHEN I WAS IN COLLEGE
The girl came out FULL BLAST in me, and unfortunately went over the edge with no tether.
Enter sheer tops that showed my bra (but not SO sheer that it was exotic dancer-like, just thin knits), leopard prints, bustiers, corsets (or at least, that style of wear found at mainstream retailers), skirts (still to the knee though but with a high thigh slit), higher heels, strapless and halter tops, and lower rise jeans.
Terrible. A really truly dark period in my style life, if I am to be honest! I look back and think: I was still pretty cute with what I wore but it was NOT GOOD style.
After my first year of dressing like that, I calmed down and became a little more artsy/bohemian.
Kind of like this but ALL the time!
This is when Anthropologie became a huge part of my style life, and I coveted all of their rainbow prints and colours (much like when I was a little girl!), and found them so interesting and sophisticated without being boring (read: minimalist neutrals which is what I wear now).
I turned into a bohemian, and started wearing peasant tops (again, no good), and bootcut corduroys, but my real penchant was for those colourful, wildly printed dresses (which has never really gone away to be honest).
I loved embroidered tops as well, and anything with an interesting shiny texture (oh dear..)
THEN I GRADUATED…..
Stay tuned for part two!