follow your inner child down the path of personal style

You were a child, fingers sticky and tongue blue (or red, maybe purple), and asked the once insightful, later dreadful, question: “What do you want to be when you’re older?” Perhaps you said something sweet, like a princess or dinosaur. Or something stupid, like a policeman. Either way, you had an answer. An answer that eventually drifted, overlooked alongside the toys and games left at charity shops, with pressures of “real jobs” settling instead amongst the hot mess of puberty. Silly little things got in the way of your future in the royal family or Jurassic Period, such as societal expectations and the legacy of your entire lineage. And maybe some other variables too. Yet, if someone asked you today: “What do you want to be?”, how much does your answer differ from the one you gave with a blue tongue?

I’m fortunate to have always known that I wanted to be in fashion (princess as a side hustle), though I didn’t know what I meant by that until college. Having a general idea allowed me to begin my fashion journey earlier than most, knowing at the ripe age of 2-years-old that I felt best in my rhinestone cat-eye sunglasses, bubblegum pink fur coat, and ruby red slippers. My personal style evolved over time, dabbling in different subcultures throughout my Voyage Vogue. The emo epidemic and twee twend hit me hard in my preteens. Grunge influence was my common (and lasting) denominator, which made sense considering the massive Kurt Cobain poster I had (have) hanging above my bed (see, we never really change, do we?). Now, at 22-years-old, two decades since my Pink Panther-meets-Dorothy phase, I find my style inspiration often gravitates toward a world full of my own childlike whimsy; fairies, celestial stars, ornate florals, sparkling pearls and twinkling scales. My Pinterest boards look like if Dumbledore had internet access, and I’ve never felt more like myself.

Whether you like it or not, you embark on a fashion journey every day. That’s what I love about fashion: you can’t avoid it, unless you’re interested in spending a night in jail for public indecency. And since you can’t avoid it, you might as well have fun with it. Because the other aspect of fashion you can’t avoid is that it speaks for you, so why not have it say sweetness? Have it say intrigue, chaos, solace, indulgence, anything you want. And I recommend you hold a seat at the conference table for 8-year-old you, ask them what they think of those pants with that jacket. You might be surprised by the wisdom that can come from a child. Their response to “What do you want to be when you’re older?” rarely saves a seat for social standards and potential judgement from others. The purest form of self-expression. And that’s all personal style really is, an expression of self, as opposed to trends. It’s asking, “What do I like?” and you includes you at two, five, ten, fourteen, eighteen years old. You are all you are now and also all you used to be.

So you might’ve been the type to pick the scabs on your knees and dream of one day being a cowboy. Do you see it in the way you like bolo ties and ripped jeans? Do you see your rockstar fantasies in your leather pants and platform shoes? You love baby-pink satin and ballet flats? Because sometimes, when I put on an outfit that feels just right, I feel like she picked it out for me.

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