Confidence and the dynamism of identity. It all began with a certain watch deal.
In this photo, I actually slipped. We are off to a great start indeed.
It was yet another dreary Monday morning in London's gloomy summer when a certain email caught my attention.
A watch deal.
Or at least, to promote their watches on my Instagram. Rather expensive watches too, might I add. My mind was a confusing jumble of emotions in the 10 minutes upon receiving the email :
1/ Insane excitement. Expressed in gasps of disbelief that had me looking like a suffocating goldfish.
2/ Conflicting emotions. Why would I sell a brand that I never wore to friends? While this is a rather personal (but public. The irony!) platform for friends and a space for conversations, it is still undeniably, a portfolio. And the idea of being able to create a narrative for a brand was rather tempting.
But most of all, the first thing I saw upon arriving on their page was:
- Timepieces for the Gentlemen. -
Watches have long been the male signification of social status and wealth. And in a way, I was flattered to be offered this opportunity to promote the 'male watch'. But this begs the question: why is the watch, a form of time organisation and status in this patriarchal social system, still predominantly thought to be 'male' when just as many females wear them as well? Or why does anything to do with corporate, career, or time have to appear 'masculine' to portray an image of the independent woman or whatever gender one identifies as?
And an interesting question I came across as of late:
Why can't a woman wear dresses to work and feel just as powerful?
Identities are dynamic. I speak for myself when I say that my identity, or the image to which I portray myself to others is ever-changing to adapt to my surroundings. Goofy laughter and corny jokes with friends dissolve behind a cool facade of confidence and quiet humour whenever the workplace is concerned. Or occasionally, as a friend described, having to courteously laugh along male topics to seem relevant without actually knowing what is going on.
But I think that is precisely what makes Billie Eilish's Vogue cover particularly powerful:
An image of confidence where there is a complete absence of masculinity.
But instead, a full embracing of the female sexual allure.
So, what makes you feel the most powerful?
Clothes are an outward expression of personality and emotions. It never fails to amaze me how blazers, dresses, or in Billie's case, corsets, can make one feel like they are on top of the world. For instance, this outfit of mine - it felt like an outfit that called to be seen. Then you have the hoodies and sweatpants that are more like a friendly embrace. Hoodies were my best friend throughout my childhood and throughout college - the two periods of my life when I was the most shy and awkward in my own skin. I remember the comforting weight of the hood against my back, those long sleeves that just covered my palms. Those were the outfits that made me feel like I could safely disappear into the background without a care for the opinions of others. Similarly today, hoodies still take up most of my jacket closet but wearing them feels slightly different now.
That is what life is about, no? This constant negotiation of identity in relation to confidence and what life stages one is at. This 'image' is dynamic. It will constantly evolve with life and growth. But I find that the greatest challenge is not in accepting its fluidity, but in accepting one's gender, and finding strength in that gender and the confidence to portray it.
But anyway, let me leave you...
... with an image of my watch instead.
I had been eyeing this watch for years. And you know that amazing feeling of disbelief when you finally purchase something that you have loved for so, so long?
This watch is not just extremely aesthetically pleasing (I love the artwork so much) but also, it kind of makes me feel like somebody. Like, I have my life together-ish. Not. But well.
Hah! Plot twist! This ended as a watch promotion after all.
Anyway, thank you for reading and have a great week ahead!