31 May 2020
I tried to define myself with an outfit. I failed. Because like all you guys out there, social media may portray only one side of the many aspects of my personality. And with this thing called growth, who knows what new traits we'll discover?
Be a Voice, Not an Echo.
We all have souls, a voice, insecurities, a longing to matter. And all these are hidden behind a facade that has unfairly determined how we are perceived by society : be it skin colour, or simply our features and body shape that have either garnered envy and admiration or completely shattering our self-esteem.
Poetics aside, there's been so much divide and hate in the world, it's saddening. Because thinking of the many incredible friends I've made throughout my life, many of these deep connections were formed when we were at our most vulnerable. Most of these friends are people I least expected to meet, much less befriend. People from different cultures, different races, different backgrounds. Strip that all away and a bond forms out of the simple fact that we are a community of youths just wanting to do the best we can.
I bought this sweater because of the quote (and how versatile and cute it is). I thought I would style it with an outfit that defined me, to realise that there is no 'defining me'. Different outfits express who we are, and what we want to say depending on our situation. So yeah, it took a whole roundabout for me to realise that there are as many facets to my personality as the people around me.
You know the friends who approach you a little hesitantly after not seeing them for a while, to ask your opinion on something new they've tried or discovered about themselves? It was nothing bad : maybe a love for fashion, or wanting to consult a psychologist, say. Things that we grew up believing were self-indulgent, superficial, a failure. Like:"To succeed, you CANNOT get any help." or " DARK LIPSTICK??? Oh, the horrors!!"
Personally, it always has been easy for me to accept change in my friends (unless it's drugs of course. I mean, it is your life but I am genuinely concerned for your health). I'd always think: Well, there's this thing called growth and you've just found a trait you didn't realise was in you before!
But this little styling adventure made me realise yet another thing : that sometimes it's not just about the support. That the biggest mental barrier is myself. Up till now, I didn't even realise that I had such a fixed perception of myself. In secondary school, when I was most confident, I felt like I portrayed a persona who studied all the time (I did NOT. I was as much a professional crammer back then as I was in university), who had her whole life planned out (until 2020! LOL). And heck, I've graduated from university (now a dramatic youth) and I still feel like I have to uphold this persona! How odd. I've never been associated with 'Instagrammer' or 'blogger' and despite having incredibly supportive friends and family, I still find myself unable to share this passion of mine with other people who actually know me (says the girl who types out her deepest thoughts to potential strangers). I keep saying 'just do you', but it is so much easier to say it than actually do it. All because of a fear of being labelled a 'narcissist' or the things that fended us off from this in the first place. And truth be told, I was also more judgemental when I was younger, especially when it came to things that opposed what I was taught, but I am (extremely) flawed and I'm growing. I'm working to improve myself throughout my life.
Woah, long intro. OOHHHKKAAAYYY Imma try lighten the mood up a bit eh? :)
- The Cafe-hopper -
skirt / Roxy ; shoes / AllSaints
It just feels good to dress up, doesn't it? To get a little extra once in a while (or every day, up to you! I'm a lazy bum.) To put on some makeup, some accessories. Look in the mirror and just feel good about yourself.
I have an OBSESSION with cafes. It always was my little treat (other than travel) to get very extra *ahem*, to dress up, and not feel like a potato.
Because Malaysia is torturously hot, I love denim skirts for a girly flair. Like this ripped acid-wash skirt! The finishing touch: Tucking any oversized sweater into a tight mini skirt is a marvellous technique for elevating any outfit. And of course I have to finish it off with my favourite combat boots.
- The Artist -
béret / Maison Laulhère
We are all artists : from being the creators of our own life,
the stylists of our wardrobes, the painters of our faces.
Ahh, the coveted trait of creativity. It's like a roller-coaster ride don't you think? If you choose it, the ride is exhilarating. It brings you all the way up into creative ecstasy, then PHooossshhh. Annnddd you either go beaming 'woah what a ride!' or in tears.
NOT TO DISCOURAGE ANYONE, creativity is AMAZING! It is dreams, it is what transcends us from reality! Art and dreams are so personal. They're kind of like a physical manifestation of an aspect of our personality. I think that's why the heart takes both compliments and critiques of our art so personally? What you create, to the little things you personalise your every day style with, is a reflection of your inner self. And (are you listening Sheryl??) it may be scary to cut through societal expectations and be yourself, but ultimately that I think that that is what makes you unique and no one can take that away from you :)
An oversized sweater + high waisted jeans is such a classic way of styling it. You can pair it with sneakers, boots or even heels! But since we're talking about personal touches, I love topping it off with a beret. I think it adds such flair to any outfit, no matter how simple. Berets give off an artistic vibe, no?
- The Dancer -
shorts / Hollister
And in every girl's heart there is a little dancer within who just wants to have fun.
I love street dance : from hip hop to reggae. And admittedly, it does make me that little bit happy to see the many surprised looks I get from people who'd expect I have a grade 8 in Ballet or something.
My street dance attire usually calls for my oversized baggy pants, but because of the heat, and the fact that the sweater was in between not being oversized enough to hit swag level, and not small enough to be fitting, I opted instead for these sporty grey shorts. If you read my Graphic Tee styling post, I think this olive beret gives off a rugged look that complements the street style vibe I'm going for here.
- The Anxious Student -
jeans / Hollister
To be specific : 'Anxious University Student'. Reality? University ain't like TV. It was a survival show AFTER stripping away all my confidence. But I have no regrets because of the incredible friends I met. And hey, being able to even get an education is all I could ask for.
For the days I want to get out of my sweatpants and still stay comfortable, I'd opt for my loose boyfriend jeans. I'd suggest investing in a high quality, comfortable, fitting pair of boyfriend jeans because they are so versatile! Pair them with your sweater, hoodie, or t-shirt. A good pair of jeans will instantly elevate the outfit and make you look cool in a I-totally-didn't-even-have-to-try way (literally).
Also, a lil' big sister moment here heheh. But honestly, after striving in secondary school, being faced with so much failure in university was devastating. The 'perfect' facade I had so carefully crafted was falling to pieces. It led to sleepless nights thinking : 'My life is over.' Wow, what an idiot. I mean, I still am an idiot, but being able to admit my flaws has made life a lot easier and its opens my eyes to the many possibilities around me. So if you're struggling in school? Hang in there!! You can do this!! And you're not alone :)
PS. So far, no employee has asked for my secondary school or college grades.
I am starting to learn that the challenge lies not in listening to other people, but listening to myself, and critically looking at myself. I've always thought that to be a better human, I have to shut myself out and only do as other people say. If that's the case though, how would society progress if we all become clones of one person's ideals?
To the people who have the courage to stand up for themselves and just be themselves, I have MAD RESPECT for you because that is something I'm still struggling with. To the people who feel like they shouldn't be so focused on taking good care of themselves, well, I wanna SEE YA LIVE because life would be boring without y'all. To the people struggling with change: you're not alone! I am just as big a mess as you are ;)
To end this post, here's a little video I put together.
Warning : It's my first time doing a video, and it's really eepppp right now but I swear, I'm working hard to improve. Anyway, it's sooo goofy hopefully it'll bring a smile to your day :) Enjoy!
Thank you for reading!