Getting coffee is serious business. So is dressing up for yourself.
"Hey, let's get coffee."
An often heard quote in my social and daily, very coffee-dependant, life.
Thinking about it now, what I wear when grabbing said dose of caffeine, can range from the awkward homely comforts of well worn sport shoes and sweatpants to feeling confident in heels or boots.
But there's always that one day someone wakes up a little later, feeling a darker can't-be-bothered punk mood, or just you know, uterine-lining vibes.
And that, calls for black. And hoops. Occasionally, embroidered chinoiserie.
Clothes can create a persona. Clothes can empower and comfort.
Clothes provide an identity.
When I was younger, I had always dismissed fashion as something indulgent and superficial. But in all honesty, it fascinated me (recalling those Seventeen magazines I used to love in high school) and I feared it. Having grown up amidst traditional Asian values and school uniforms, to stand out is scary. To be interested in something other than grades was deemed narcissistic. So when pants became a thing, it did for me too. My tomboy era started in a rush to keep up - to thrive even.
Now, I see it differently: yes, fashion IS superficial, being precisely, what is on the surface. But it is simply a physical manifestation of a person's character. So is it really so bad to self-indulge once in a while, just to learn a little more about yourself?
Now that's the odd thing with being female, no?
When dressed down in comfortable hoodies and pants,
one melts into the background.
Ironically, I find it scariest to present your best self.
Because for one who has lived her life in sweatpants,
to suddenly dress up is when the judgement comes.
Or the most feared of all: you've changed.
But that is what style does: it evolves with a person's ever-growing, ever changing identity. And if one's dressing has changed to be unique to her own newfound character, is that not for the better?
I asked my very makeup savvy friend what look would best suit her identity.
"Graphic liner," she says,
fixing me with a piercing gaze. That electric blue liner
artfully zigzagged across her lid
(a look my shaky hands will probably never be able to achieve).
The graphic liner resonates within her, experiences unseen to the public eye, save that it was in fact, a killer look.
Case in point, be it makeup or clothes, it is personal narratives, or intended personas that determine those nuances in our everyday choices. And for that, every person has one unique thing to themselves that just makes them feel hella confident.
For quite a while, I was really scared to wear what I wanted in front of the people I knew. Simply because that was not the person, or the persona they know. And it was a fear of being dismissed as 'fake' or 'pretentious' that drove me to dress up only when I was roaming the city alone. A city so crowded that changing personas would go unnoticed.
But that is precisely what clothes are there for: for one to be able to choose which persona one wants to be for a given day. And I believe that identity is built upon a mosaic of interests and experiences. So no one is confined to a single persona. Besides, I personally think that one might even feel more free after new depths have been explored, new interests discovered. And the best thing you can do for yourself is to live in the personas that are truly you.
So I say this both for myself and to anyone else who needs to hear this for the coming week ahead:
Wear whatever you fancy, because life is short.
And you might as well live it in the best version of you possible.
Even if it is just for an hour to grab some much-needed coffee. Or grocery shopping. Or taking out the trash (very exciting, I know).
Have a great week ahead!
Thank you for reading.