…style starts with personal confidence. When you have that, you can basically wear whatever the hell you want.
The 9th assignment in this Closet Confidence challenge has me writing about my style evolution from childhood to today.
First Time Expressing Style
I recall VERY vividly the first time I cared about what I was wearing. In kindergarten, it was time for all the kids to sit in a circle for reading time. We scurried to a spot on the rug and as I sat down, a little boy pointed at me and shouted: “haha, she’s wearing boy clothes!” My face turned red as the colour of my ensemble and I was absolutely ashamed and mortified!
You see, I was wearing a pretty sweet red He-Man sweatshirt and matching sweat pants. The outfit was handed down to me by my dear cousin. We were huge fans of She-Ra and He-Man (who wasn’t!) and I was so happy to receive this outfit to wear to school and show it off. Well, the little boy ruined my joy. I cried at home that night and with my heart breaking to a million pieces, I packed away my awesome He-Man outfit forever.
So I guess this was the initial event that forced me to have to give more thought into my style. How silly of a little girl I was to allow someone with no vision to dictate what I should wear.
The Iconic Pant Suit
The next defining moment in my style? This awesome black and white Beetlejuice striped pant suit that I sported for grade 6 graduation.
Throughout grade school, there was a group of kids that called themselves the “cool group” and I was never deemed cool enough to be part of this group. The changing moment was in 6th grade when I MC’d a parent volunteer tea ceremony. When I took the stage, I was completely comfortable in owning it and just let myself shine through. The entire event was a huge success! Some girls in the “cool group” took note and deemed me cool enough to be voted in, right before the end of the school year. Kids can be so cruel. The whole thing was so awkward, but I suppose I appreciated the vote nonetheless. I’m still Facebook friends with some of these ladies today!
Ok back to this amazing pant suit! For the graduation ceremony, all the girls in the cool group decided to sing Mariah Carey’s “Hero”. We wanted to look coordinated, so the idea was for everyone to wear a black and white striped pant suit. Why this theme? I have no idea…did some fashion icon make it popular back in the nineties? I assume so. Fashion wasn’t something I paid attention to back then (obviously), so I would have been clueless.
My mother is a seamstress, so she picked out a material based on her interpretation of the black and white striped pant suit and mom and dad spent a sleepless evening on this fantastic labour of love. I rocked this with a big smile, even though I looked like Beetlejuice. Ignorance is bliss as I will learn more and more in my later years. Funny thing, if you expand this photo to show the rest of the group, I was the ONLY one who took the theme of striped pant suit literally – too literally. No-one else is wearing anything close to an actual striped pant suit.
Confidence Building Years
I started singing professionally when I was 14 years old. Since a young age, I knew that singing is not just about the voice. Stage presence in general is what makes or breaks a performance. Extra effort was spent on hair, nails, tanning, makeup and fitness in order to have the best stage presence I could.
Looking at these photos, it’s clear to me that I had quite a healthy dose of confidence and I was happy and carefree. You’ll notice a lot more colour and visually interesting details in my wardrobe. Style to me back then was all about recognizable brand names, and less about knowing how to put outfits together, but dressing up was always a fun experience! As I was comfortable in my own skin as well, throwing on something I felt good in took no effort at all. Makeup was also pretty minimal compared to today, which I find refreshing.
As I continued to hone my craft and draw more and more positive and electric energy from the crowds, my own inner confidence grew as well. Honestly, I felt like I could conquer the world back then. Even my posture was better than it is now! I miss this Minh, and this blogging journey is meant for me to find her again. It’s only the 9th day on this Closet Confidence challenge, but I have already realized that style starts with personal confidence. When you have that, you can basically wear whatever the hell you want.
The reality of life kicked in during the mid-twenties. Stress in managing a new home, new living situation, bills bills bills, and finishing university while maintaining a full-time professional job in oil & gas AND a couple small businesses was overwhelming a lot of the time. Never one to let anything drop, I dedicated every fibre of my being to keep everything running smoothly. Relationships also got much more complicated, so surviving through those rollercoasters can take a toll.
My wardrobe now consists of what I would call “safe” items. Colours have taken a back seat and black and grey have taken over as the majority foundation colour in my wardrobe. Even my stage outfits are primarily black. YAWN.
Articles of clothing that are comfortable and cover have taken precedence over figure flattering silhouettes. Plain basics have replaced pieces with interesting details. Basically, I am completely uninspired by my wardrobe.
I know that clothes don’t make the woman, but I think a lot of people can attest that if you wear something you feel beautiful in, it can change your entire demeanour! It may be that I am overly optimistic, but I really believe that Into-Mind’s Closet Confidence challenge is absolute magic. The assignments are very simple, and has me thinking: wow, duh, these are no brainers! But sometimes you need a little external push in order to force yourself to peel back layers of self doubt to reveal a better version of you. If not to the world then at least, and more importantly, to yourself. I believe the world will follow not too far behind.