Have you ever saw someone who really had such killer style that you couldn’t help but feel something like jealousy and want to immediately discard everything you own and replace it with things “that girl” wears? Her hair, makeup and OH WOW her clothes, so creative, so well-done! This happened to me most recently with Amy, or Shrinkle- famous among the online beauty community for creating “Sugarpill” her own amazingly cute & bright makeup line.I caught my thoughts surpassing admiration and entering into borderline jealousy and coveting and had to laugh at myself. Now I know that when I feel that way it’s just because someone has a fierce sense of personal style worthy of checking out and appreciating and not that my own style is lacking. When I was younger, I didn’t understand this concept even a little.
I was very overweight as a little girl. I suddenly shed the majority of my baby-fat the summer between sixth and seventh grades, just before junior high- an optimal time if ever there was one! Even though I had shed an impressive amount of pounds and my body was maturing I was the epitome of insecure. I had no idea how to handle people having fun at my expense nor did I know how to handle positive attention. I was of the thought that since I was never going to fit in no matter what I tried or did, I might as well be as different as possible and enjoy dressing for school in the morning. I soaked up grunge “fashion” and ended up looking like a colorblind bag lady. Maybe it was because the styles I emulated weren’t on display to suburban 13-year-old however I got the idea of my perfect style from 90’s alt-rock videos, Rolling Stone & Spin magazines, and the occasional people-watching in Boston. I would just be perfecting my grunge look when Nine Inch Nails was the best band ever in our circle so everything that was brown or plaid now had to be black or shiny. When the local bands playing at halls and such became high-school tributes to 70’s punk bands, I was busy the day after my very first show scrounging up safety pins and bleach to alter my jeans and boots. Luckily those stylistic transitions were pretty easily and smoothly made. As I got a little older, while still being impressionable I remember seeing real goths for the first time. Not just kids with all black on but people who spent a lot of time (and hairspray) on their looks. It was intricate and beautiful and I was hooked. This style WAS me. I had already basically been on the path anyhow. I threw myself entirely into becoming GOTH. I dyed my hair purple (the first time, how fondly I remember!) I braided it in a hundred colored braids running down my back. I pierced my lip and dressed up. I ended up at the goth club as soon as I turned the magical age of 19 (in Boston it’s a year later for some reason) It reduced me to my incredibly insecure self from junior high. I knew I wasn’t “goth enough” after seeing these people. I didn’t always dress the part and I liked the music but I also liked metal, punk, and even underground hip-hop- did that make me not goth? It felt like being part of a subculture was more limiting than being in the majority of the population.
Bottom line is that I was constantly comparing myself to other people and not measuring up. I adapted my style to others that I saw always thinking someone else was more “something.” Whatever that “something” was that I wanted to be. Of course you don’t have to completely adapt yourself to a pre-existing style. You should adapt the style to yourself. Or just take aspects of it and leave the rest! You like blue hair and black nails with flower-print dresses? Go for it. You don’t have to live by anyone else’s rules. I love that subcultural styles exist. I just think that sometimes very young people don’t understand that they should function as a jumping-off point, rather than a strict code of dress. Actually, I’ve met some adults that don’t think that way either! I know personally I’ve come a long way because of experimenting within these styles. I’m kind of a hybrid when it comes to dress, people can’t immediately peg me as anything. When I buy something to wear it’s simply because it appeals to me. Now I wonder if sometime, some chicky will see my style the way I saw Skrinkle?