Growing up, I always adored shopping. I can remember going to the mall with my mom in grade school and getting a lil crazy with the glitter purses and butterfly clips from Limited Too. Late nineties Arden could be spotted dancing around in some denim overall shorts from Gap Kids any day of the week!
Over the years, styles came and went, but I remained ‘the fashionable friend,’ based on my knack for knowing how to wear the latest trends.
Fashion was always something that came naturally to me. My friends in school relied on me for advice and tips on what to wear. I didn’t mind being labeled the fashionista. It made me feel like I was using my natural gifts. However, when I entered high school and college, being labeled the “fashionable one” wasn’t just a hobby, it morphed into my identity. That’s when it became a burden.
I went to fashion school and majored in design and merchandising. I surprised myself when I ended up loving classes like sculpture and art history more than fashion design. But I’m the fashion girl, so shouldn’t I be loving every minute of sketching and sewing?
After college I transitioned into retail. Talk about a love-hate relationship! Loved that I was around clothes all day, hated just about everything else. Again, I surprised myself.
The surprise and confusion manifested itself in my shopping choices. I always looked for the most unique and fashion-forward pieces around town. Not only because I appreciated the design, but also because I felt like I needed to live up to my “identity” as the fashionable one. The result was a closet full of really cool individual pieces of clothing without anything to pair them with.
My wardrobe was disjointed, and I would get frustrated every time I would get dressed. I felt like a fraud. This was supposed to come easy to me! What if people find out I’m not that fashionable after all?
That’s when I had this realization: Clothing is an expression of who you are, but it does not define who you are.
This epiphany gave me SOME of the freedom I was craving. Still, I was riddled with fear. What about all of the people who thought that I was the fashionable one? What would they think if I started dressing differently? What if I just ended up looking like everyone else?
I was basing my entire “wardrobe identity” on how other people viewed me, and on what the world thinks of as fashionable.
It wasn’t until I stopped caring about what people thought, (for the most part), and started choosing clothing that worked for my lifestyle that I felt a huge burden lift. Funny enough, I actually look more “put together” and fashionable now than ever before! I think it’s because I feel more free to be me.
Fashion is fun again! Now, I can choose things that feel authentic to my life rather than choose items based on others perception of me.
Letting go of the “fashion noise” is what allowed me to create a wardrobe that I love! These days, getting dressed is seamless, and shopping is enjoyable!
So what does this all mean?
Dressing for other people = sad disjointed wardrobe
Dressing for yourself & your lifestyle = happy seamless wardrobe! YAY!
If you factor in other people’s opinions when making wardrobe choices, then I challenge you to quit today!
Not only will it be freeing, it will create a killer confidence that never goes out of style!
If you need a little advice on how to build a wardrobe that suits your life click here.