Outfits, Style

against the current

Trench // polka dot and stripe dress // sunglasses

I’ve always considered myself a bit of an offbeat; I had different style, interests, and even an unusual name that sometimes made me stick out like a sore thumb. If I’m being completely honest, there were times when I was younger when I wished I could fit in a little more — those formative years can be tough — but I’m so glad I stayed true to myself. It’s so much more fun and freeing to be myself. 

I started thinking about this after watching Modcloth’s new series of short films that feature women who go “against the current” to be their unapologetic, authentic selves (starring Awkwafina, Halsey, Dascha Polanco, and Hari Nef). 

dress // bag

I remember a specific point in time that made me look at things differently; it was the summer before 8th grade when my sisters and I flew from Florida to Virginia to visit our grandpa. I was wearing my favorite outfit: lilac corduroy bell bottoms and a matching polyester 90s-does-70s button down. It was like a pastel leisure suit for a 12 year old girl, only with corduroy bottoms. I thought it was everything. My older sister assure me it was, too. But one day, our grandpa dropped us off at the local mall and some girls started teasing me, walking behind us and mocking my ensemble. It was something that would’ve wrecked me even one year prior when all I wanted was to blend in and not be noticed, but I took one look back at them and thought, “I don’t want any of what you have.” The outfits, the hair, the attitudes — they were nothing I desired, and so it was easier for me to shrug it off. We were different people with different interests and sometimes different is just too much for people to handle, so they criticize it. I probably wore that outfit once a week the entire 7th grade year, so I wasn’t going to let a group of mean girls in another state change that. 

I went on to experiment with my wardrobe quite a bit, over the years. There were lots of misses, but that’s the fun of experimenting. There was a time when I wore a lot of men’s golf pants or ties with velvet blazers, there was the year of the snake print pants (of which my best friend’s boyfriend had the same pair), the time when I bought nothing but thrift store pieces and reconstructed them — which is how my own [now defunct] line was born. There was also a time when I wore fishnet stockings on my arms, fashioning them into sleeves. Finding yourself can be a wild time. It’s easier to go with the current — and honestly if that’s what make you happy, that’s okay, too. Going against it and finding your own style, interests, and identity can be spotted with (or drowned in) cringe-worthy moments, but that’s just part of the learning curve.

I’ve had people say, “I miss when you wore X” or “So sad to see that you’ve changed,” because they remember me in a very specific way and want me to stay that way. For me, it’s not about being consistent or finding one identifier and sticking with it. It’s not about having the same style and same tastes for the rest of my life. It’s about allowing myself to be fluid in expressing myself as I see fit from day to day. There are days when I am in the mood to wear a scarf in my hair, cat eye glasses and a full on retro look. There are days when I want to wear jeans and a t-shirt. There are days when I think, “Maybe I’ll try wide leg pants, today” — and then they become a staple in my wardrobe. My style isn’t a static thing I sought out, found, and held onto. Trite as it may seem, it’s a journey. An evolution. Lilac corduroy bell bottoms and trapeze dresses included.

“I’m allowed to be more than one thing. And it feels good to be myself.” – Halsey

This post was sponsored by Modcloth.

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  1. Panty Buns says:

    You look fabulous rocking both of those swingy, feminine and pretty dresses from Modcloth. I love the looks of both the pink polka-dotted and striped navy blue Celebrated Style Fit and Flare Dress, and the pink floral print Daytime Dynamo gingham Shirt Dress. They both look very pretty, feminine, and fun to wear. I love how you accessorised the navy fit and flare dress with the red heart-rimmed sunnies, red bow clasp belt, purse and shoes, and the cute hair-bow you wore with the shirt-dress. I love that you embrace your individuality. Now that you’ve mentioned (Modcloth’s short) films, I think you would really rock as a film star. Best wishes for your Spring and the rest of 2019.

  2. beatrice says:

    I absolutely love this. The entire post is so inspiring, but especially that story from before 8th grade. I feel like something like that would have crushed me, and that worries me. You’ve inspired me to rethink how much I let others’ opinions affect me. Thank you!

    Beatrice | The Bliss Bean

  3. Maria Anne says:

    I’ve been following you for years, and your style has always been a top inspiration, no matter how it changes.
    My best friend is a gallery artist and she was just on a podcast where she talked about this exact thing. People that like her work want her to stay the same, because they know her work to have a certain style. But personal style, whether it’s fashion or art – is always evolving, and it SHOULD.

    • Keiko Lynn says:

      Agreed! I’ve always felt for artists and musicians who are expected to stay in a certain box. And if they get commercial success, whether with their known style or an evolved one, they’re perceived as sell-outs. “I liked X better” is such a go-to statement, and it can be stifling. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Nor says:

    This spoke to me so much. Thank you for writing how you feel going against the current. I love seeing others write about how they feel so I don’t feel so alone. I did the same thing as you did growing up wearing only items from thrift shops, or my grandmother’s closet. I was teased during those years, but stayed true to myself. Of course there were times along the way where I tried to change my look to fit in more, but my style evolves as I do. People talk about my past choices and I always look back fondly. I felt I had lost my style for a long time, but I’m going back to embracing my different looks and I dress based on mood plus to experiment with various styles. Cheers to all of out there marching to our own beat proudly!