Ever since I can remember, fashion has been a space for creativity and self-expression. It serves as an interactive art form where consumers take an active role in reflecting the culture of the moment, as what we wear is an extension of who we are. While fashion is a piece of your appearance, it can also reflect a portion of your identity, as you dawn brands to promote something important to you, or about you. Your style may reflect your mood, favorite color, sense of humor, professional identity, or any other aspect of your personality. Yet, in an industry with so much potential to encourage individuality, many still feel marginalized, and struggle to express themselves through style.
Coco Chanel famously said, “I wanted to give women clothes that would flow with their body. A woman is closest to being naked when she is well dressed.” Her goal was to create clothing that made women more comfortable in the literal sense, as well as empowering them in a patriarchal society. She laid the foundation for creating clothing that expressed personality and encouraged women to be themselves.
Fast forward decades later, and that foundation is still struggling in its evolution, as we encounter boundaries or restrictions for sizing, color, pricing, etc. In an era where the present state of fashion is most emphatically female, women still feel left out because brands either don’t cut for their shape, don’t stock their size, are ludicrously priced, or are simply designing for an unrealistic form.
Luckily, the last few years have seen a shift in the mindset that there’s only one style we should all fit. The emergence of less conventional icons such as Lady Gaga and Billie Eillish, who use fashion to project their inner selves , have helped break the mold. Other trailblazers such as iconic singer Lizzo, and Megababe Founder Kate Sturino, also work hard to challenge the media and brands to be more inclusive and celebrate individuality. These trends have tilted the fashion industry toward a more diverse and empathic culture.
That being said, the work isn’t close to done, and many of us still struggle with a negative self-image perpetrated by the myths in fashion culture. Let’s explore some common fashion myths and some suggestions for how to tackle them:
Myth 1. Adults can’t wear lots of color
If color is your jam, but you’ve been made to feel that adults should stick to neutrals – think again, because rainbow is the new black! Color is more than just visually appealing, it’s also healing. It can lift your mood, increase your creativity, give you energy, bring you serenity, and much more. So, if you love color, but have felt shy about wearing it, start by dipping your toe into the color spectrum. Explore accessories such as jewelry, scarves, bags, even shoelaces to introduce small pops of color until you feel confident adding more. Or maybe you love neutrals, and that’s what makes you shine! It’s all about manifesting what’s authentic to you and your voice. There are no rules to self-expression.
Myth 2. I’m too old for that
While we definitely agree that style evolves as we get older, it doesn’t mean we can’t still wear things that are playful, whimsical and fun. Experiment with different elements such as glitter, brooches, hair clips, sequins, patches, and anything else that resonates with your personality.
Myth 3. People will laugh at me
We judge ourselves more harshly than anyone else judges us, and if someone is judging, that says more about their own insecurities than it does about you. Young children are such a great example of dressing without fear of judgement because they do so without apology. As we get older, we either create our own fashion rules, or feel them imposed on us by external sources. Throw out the rule book and dress like nobody’s watching! Dressing is about expressing your individuality, and there’s no precept for that.
Myth 4. I’m not the right size / shape for that
Correction! You are perfect just as you are, and if something doesn’t fit, then it’s not right for you, versus you not being right for it! Reframing our language can do a lot to shift our perspectives and increase body positivity. It’s true, some brands cut small or sometimes use fabrics that may not feel complimentary, but that’s usually guided by cost efficiency and not body type. Sizing can be arbitrary even within the same brand, so try experimenting with finding pieces you love from different labels.
Myth 5. I don’t feel “in vogue” enough to wear the latest trends
To some extent, trends are quite subjective. There are many different styles and trends from street wear, to rock and romance, to athletic, to eclectic, to classic. The list is endless and all of them are driven by identity. Experiment with what reflects your own unique personality and the things you care about, and you’ll always be trending. Being authentic to yourself never goes out of style.
Style is personal. What we wear can truly be an extension of our being. We should all feel encouraged and empowered to celebrate our individuality with pieces that reflect our insides as well as enhancing our outsides.
Written By: Nadine Hallak, Founder of @4KiX.shop