The final part of this series, the final puzzle piece that we need to drop into place is why do all this? Why go to the trouble of breaking all the rules and thumbing your nose at a lifetime of fashion rules? That’s what part 5 is all about, the why. Why Fashion Anarchy? Why now?
Because your self-esteem and the self-esteem of your daughters, sisters, nieces and friends depends on it. Because by saying no thank you, I make the decisions regarding my body from the outside in, you are taking control and owning the power for yourself. Because sometimes the only way to break down the old way is to charge through with two guns blazing. To tear everything down and start again. Total destruction of all the things.
So take a hold of all you’ve heard, collect thoughts and ideas from those around you who appreciate and celebrate your diversity. I know some of you are still wondering if it is really that important. Does taking control of your personal style really make that much difference to how you feel about yourself? Yes. Short version. But here’s my long version of why it made a difference for me and why I think it can for you too.
I was 23. I’d been married for 12 months and we had recently sold my first business. I was exhausted. I’d worked really hard to hold things together through the wedding planning, the subsequent 12 months following when Hubby’s father was taken from him in a short battle with cancer ending only days before our first wedding anniversary. And while trying to be perfect, of course. THE perfect wife, daughter, sister, friend.
I was recovering by taking a short break to collect my thoughts. Looking back now I was holding on by a thread. A tiny one so I had ‘retired’ for a brief time. I looked at myself in the mirror one morning, the sunlight streamed in the windows catching the dust dancing in the light as it does, and thought to myself, I just don’t like you very much. AT ALL. If I could be anyone else, I would be.
You’re too fat, too tall, your nose is too big and so are your front teeth. You have shoulders and arms like a man and remember that time that boy told you that you had legs like chicken drumsticks? Well he was right. Your skin used to be perfect and tanned, now it’s lined and creased and stretched. You did this. You let this happen, I hate you for that.
It turned out that while I certainly had shortcomings as a person, what bothered me most about me was how I looked. I stopped looking in mirrors that day, even avoiding applying make-up unless I really had to. I was determined not to have to deal with myself. My self-confidence was a zero and I knew it. I didn’t even hide it that well from others. I drank too much. I cried some afternoons because what else does someone as unloveable do?
It was at least two years later that I first caught a glimmer of an idea that maybe I wasn’t everything I’d decided I was. Maybe I wasn’t a laundry list of things that sucked about me. Perhaps, I could be happy with myself as I was. Maybe. That one thought, the conversation in my head that was a break from the usual barrage cut through decades of programming about my appearance, the rules and perfection.
I started to ask, says who?
You’re too fat for horizontal stripes, the voice said. I would say, says who? Then before I knew it, I’d be wearing them and feeling fabulous. There’s a certain smugness to it as well, like a don’t tell me what to do type rebellion. You’re too tall for heels, they’d say. Says who? I’d respond. And tiny piece by tiny piece I started to cut myself some slack. My nose was just my nose. My larger front centre teeth, just my teeth.
As I started to consider everything as something to be questioned I began to find my feet as a woman. I would no longer accept the rules for my behaviour, my future or even the rules of how to be a wife. I started to create my life from nothing. Piece by tiny piece I pushed away those thoughts and ideas that made me feel bad about myself. Confidence was my reward for that work.
Confidence comes from knowing who you are and being more than okay with that. I am a big fan of me and it started as a question about what clothes I should be wearing for my age, size and shape. It started because I realised that no one gets to make the rules for my life but me.
And that, my friends, is why Fashion Anarchy. Because start now, start to challenge those ways of thinking and you’ll be surprised what freedom it gives you in all areas of your life. Ever wondered why you just did the things you did on autopilot? I know I did. Start to question everything.
Bring on the rebellion.
Take what you’ve learnt to your wardrobe, to the streets, to your neighbours house… Wherever! Start the rebellion, lead the way folks. It’s time. I’d love for you to show us, you know the drill #sugersfashionanarchy. Thank you for joining me this week, it’s been a pleasure.
Win by super personal stylist Natalie Tucker of Defined Image and my Budget Fashionista Workbook just by completing the challenge. For your entry to count you MUST comment on this post with the details of the social media share.
Chief Blogger at Suger Coat It; An Australian lifestyle blog for women who work for themselves. Melissa is a social media consultant & lover of stripes. Most weekends you’ll find her at the beach or home on the veranda kicking back. Around here, they call her Suger. Feel free to do the same.