I started playing dress up at age 4 and it has never really ended!
Remember when Rihanna stated, “Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of access to fashion. But as far as I could remember, fashion has always been my defense mechanism. Even as a child, I remember thinking, She can beat me, but she cannot beat my outfit.?” WELL GUYS, I hate to break it to ya, but she possibly snatched those words from my mouth. JOKING! But, in all seriousness, I was THAT girl, the little girl who grew up with not many resources, but did what she could with what she had. I can recall playing dress-up with my Barbie dolls for hours and hours at time, which helped me escape to a dream world, a place I desperately wanted to be real enough for me to escape to. I never openly admitted this, but I’d definitely be willing to bet that this is partially why I am so introverted; all I needed were my Barbie girls, their clothes and accessories. Life was made! Can’t say I’m all that embarrassed to admit that I really did not stop playing with my Barbie dolls until age 13…! Those were my “homegirls” and it was my duty to keep them FLY.
In reflecting on my childhood, fashion happened every single day for me in some way, shape, or form. For as long as I can remember, whether it was me engaging in my barbie world or simply people watching – observing fashion in all forms from head-to-toe, is responsible for my attraction, fascination, fondness, and borderline obsession with fashion.
I didn’t learn to love fashion from stalking runways or admiring models in magazines. Instead, I was more hands-on. I attended a private, Christian institution and wore a uniform from kindergarten to eight grade. On every opportunity given, my goal was to make a statement, THAT STATEMENT! From my backpack, to lunch bag, to pencil case, I have always loved to coordinate. I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that being a matchy-matchy kind of girl started in my adolescent years, which I would later learn that this unique dynamic conceived one of my all-time favorite personal styles – matching separates.
I took pride in what others deemed as a wretched school uniform; mine was consistently pressed and pristine. My school-girl socks, usually remained white with not one remnant of dirt or stains; not one scuff found on my bulky oxford school shoes either probably because I’d pass on playtime. I would sit on the benches observing the other kids play while drifting off in a daydream about all the fashion ideas I had, or i’d crochet (fashion related too). Everything is and has always been about fashion for me.
Thankfully, I can’t recall many self-esteem or confidence issues growing up because no matter what, my expression was through fashion. My goal was never to be the prettiest out of the bunch or have the best hair, or be the best athlete. I took pride in earning good grades and sought to stand out and command the attention of others via my outfit! I rarely felt discouraged or defeated in expressing myself this way which is why I continued the journey of expressing myself with fashion each opportunity given throughout the years; I don’t recall ever FAILING at it either.
At twelve years old I was that kid begging her mom to take her to a shoe shop with hopes that a pair of shoes could be dyed to perfectly match an outfit I wanted to create. Wanna know what truly amused me as a kid? Walking through malls for the heck of it to window shop. This allowed me to dream of having pieces that appealed to me most. It also challenged my mind to look at fashion as a puzzle, piecing together the aspects that “made sense” and “went-together.”
Though my opinions and requirements often differed from my schoolmates, I recognized that’s how fashion translated as my personal style. As I grew older, my style depended on what I discovered and changed and evolved as I did.
As strange as this may sound, I am incredibly grateful for fashion because it has always perfectly aligned with the artistic and creative side of me. Countless happy and proud moments have manifested from a simple good outfit day. I wholeheartedly understand the “when you look good, you feel good”concept; it’s true I tell ya! The feels you experience when putting on a particular item of clothing that makes you feel like your most confident self I guarantee is a feeling unmatched.
Thank you FASHION, you will always be my forever.
Peace and Forever Blessings,