Tag Archives: fashion

Fashionable

What it takes to be called “fashionable” these days? Expensive gadgets? (Guilty) to take lots of selfies (not guilty) to post on social media (I don’t even have an Instagram account) to show to the world how lucky you are? Big house? (Guilty) Big car? (Guilty) Having the latest trends (Guilty) of must haves it things? Jet-setting? (Is going on holidays a crime? If- then I’m guilty) How about a butt as big as KK? (not guilty) Cosmetic Enhancements? (Also not guilty) Job Hopping? Exercising freedom of speech in every possible opportunity appropriate and inappropriate for the sake of being current and involved in the eyes of… social media? Being tech savvy? Even only for pleasures (what else?) How about those current trends on fashionable illnesses like depression anxiety ADHD schizophrenia bipolar and all those delusional diseases and lifestyles complaints? Chronic conditions that modern medicine don’t want to acknowledge? Thinking of fibromyalgia CFS IBS RA, ME and bunch of disorders I can’t memorize let alone pronounce. Changing partners? (Guilty) Ever so often like changing underwear (Not guilty) Adopting rainbow family like AJ. I don’t know. What it takes to be considered fashionable these days? Tell me. 

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Polish

Last night D. and I touched the topic of confidence, mainly self-confidence. He knows I have a problem with low self-esteem, lacking of self-love and general dislike of my appearance. Funny because everyone who knows me (including D.) swears I am Miss Confidence herself, and I understand where they are coming from because though I am insecure about my looks I never doubt (not even once) myself or my capabilities. I always know who I am, what I believe, what I want and where I want to go. I never question my thoughts or my decisions. For some people I come on strong and very assertive and in some ways I am because I only open my mouth if I know what I am talking about and sure of my rights, otherwise I shut up.

About my appearance, I long make peace with it. I don’t care if I’m ugly. Putting on weight only bothers me because of the inconvenience it brings: new wardrobe, uncomfortable clothing, my ankles swell up and so on. I don’t care much how I look. For my part I can walk outside naked or wearing either jogging suits or pajamas. It’s the people that bothers me, their reactions to how I look.

I see myself as… let’s say a firefly. Others (I presume) can only see my light but not my shape or what I am. To me I am race-less, colorless, gender-less and ageless. I am me and me is neutral. I go on with my days thinking/feeling like this till other people make me aware of the reality, their reality. That a poor immigrant colored middle aged woman has a lot to prove in order to be treated right in this society. Then (and only then) I (time after time) realize that I need to be polished in order to be taken seriously that I have to look natty to belong, to get some respect and to be heard. Looking normal doesn’t do the job. Being normal get you only that far. Closer to the bottom of the ladder than halfway up there. In this society which is obsessed with appearance and fashion, looking normal is not the norm. You have to be polished, fashionable, glossy and all that jazz to be included and counted. First impression counts and first impressions are (sadly) always based on appearance.

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Natty

When they are going to realize up there (where fashions are created and determined) that real people want comfort and trends to go hand and hand? They say one must suffer to be beautiful. I heard one stylist said: “If it’s comfortable [referring to clothing items] then it’s not good.” I can never wear pumps and stilettos. I don’t want to spend hours every morning in front of the mirror using eleven different brushes and endless pots to deem my face ready for public viewing. I hate the fact that people treat you according to the clothes you wear and things you own. And most are slaves of fashion and think they have to follow it in order to belong and if you are not part of the herd then you’re (what else?) automatically an outcast and not worth a penny. Do we always have to look natty to be respected? Can we not be ourselves and still be part of the tribe? Do we have to exchange our individuality and originality for a place within the group even though it means we will be lost in anonymity?

Unfortunately it is the case. Unless you are rich and famous and can justify your own fashion if not your own brand of clothing. Then whatever you might wear or do is forgiven because you are the fashion, you are the ‘it’ thing of the moment no matter how ridiculous it looks and sounds. Labels and boxes. We’re fond of it. We feel safe once we categorized everything and sorted them out in proper order according to our tastes and preferences. And I’m afraid I’m getting carried away again so I will stop here. You know what I mean.

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Bah, Humbug!

Okay… Christmas is here again and no matter how I try to be a female version of Ebenezer Scrooge minus the greed I cannot escape certain duties during this holiday season. The dilemmas are always the same each year:

What to wear to those parties?

An outfit for family gatherings must be proper and not overly chic; something a critical mother in law would approve, meaning = don’t upstage her at all cost.

Another one for a corporate lounge dinner with people you don’t know at all and have nothing in common but have to chit-chat nicely in case they are your spouse chiefs or subordinates, wives included. The attire must be formal enough to be classy yet not too constricting for after dinner twirling on the floor with just a hint of simple sexiness as not to look slutty.

And not to forget yuletide season night of fun with friends and whoever they decide to bring along. This time, whatever the choice must be warm enough for after dinner strolling around the city hopping from bar to bar sampling their signature drinks or in case the parking is too full you have to leave your car few kilometres where you have to be. But it has to be punchy too with a lot of schwung for flirty yet classy effect appropriate enough for semi formal dinner and to impress your friends and their escorts. (ha ha)

Oh, the colour! I almost forgot the colour. Red is the obvious and safest choice for my southern colouring that’s why I will not wear crimson this year. Black makes me look washed-out, I will disappear in any shade of tan; white is not festive enough and will appear luminous in any muted lighting. Violet- lavender- mauve and purple remind me of funeral homes, that leaves only yellow which is a big no-no in any circumstances; blue and green which are the traditional hues of Christmas itself will never be on my list no matter what. I don’t want to resemble either a holiday tree or the baubles that goes with it. What a freaking dilemma!

What to serve on Christmas dinner?

As to satisfied the fussiest of eaters among your guests but at the same time not spending the whole evening in the kitchen people would wonder where you disappeared maybe gone to some fancy restaurant for last minute order to replace your over-complicated menu that didn’t work because of your shaky nerves (catering costs a lot of money and frankly I cannot name one among my guests –to- be that deserves such ado and effort since I don’t like them at all the feeling is mutual I suspect good thing that I only see them around this time of the year) I have to come up with an original idea that will not cost trouble but will blow their socks off.

Next is: what gifts to buy?

Especially for the ones who are lucky enough to have everything they can think of. I know it’s the thoughts that counts but you and I know better. I witnessed enough family Christmas gifts drama where both parties ceased to talk to one another long after the jolly holiday is over and years beyond that. Believe me, the theory about its- the -thoughts –that- counts- can only stretch so far.

And of course we cannot forget the hubby darling dear and our once in a blue moon special tête-à-tête; it requires proper attire drinks and delectable(s) as well. And if you are like me who only give certain favors and accommodations  during special occasions… then more careful preparation is required, if you know what I mean.

That nicely summarized my festive dilemmas around this time of the year and like Ebenezer Scrooge I would (if I could) say… “Bah, Humbug!”  Because like him; I do not want to socialize because I never experienced steady growth in a strong family unit and all that jazz, or I could lay the blame on my ex who managed to make every Christmas that we’re together (that’s 20 traumatic years) a living hell.  How’s that for an excuse?

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The clothes make the man

How important are clothes to you? Describe your style, if you have one, and tell us how appearance impacts how you feel about yourself.

If I have been asked this question last year I would have said no, they are not important to me; never been and never will be. Me who used to roam around in night dresses and jogging suits, who only discovered lipstick at age 47 and never wear high heels and don’t own stilettos. Style is as foreign to me as make up and perfume. Yes I own quite few of both but it is the bottles I’m up to rather than the contents. I buy make up for colours and package but never use them. I know it is strange.

Style was used to be according to my mood; whatever I feel like at the moment. It ranged from sportive, to boho-chic to casual to gothic; sometimes bohemian/romantic/gypsy. Anything goes.  You see, when you’re young you can wear your mistake. Not anymore.

Lately, I wear what fits. What doesn’t make me look wash out and ridiculous. I emptied my wardrobe very recently and got rid of those clothes from some twenty years ago. It was harder than I thought, saying goodbye to much loved and trusted ensembles but sometimes we have to face the facts. If I buy something these days I ask myself first how long I can still wear it and how good. I opt for quality now rather than quantity. I still have too much like most women but compare to what I had before, it is not even the half.

How appearance impacts how I feel about myself?

Well, it depends from day to day. I must admit that there was a time I couldn’t care less how I look like, but years have gnawed at my already shaky self-confidence and not only added couple of pounds on my weight but planted and nurtured doubt in my brain till it become a fully grown permanent resident who never shut up and has a habit of constantly criticizing my appearance that I have no choice but to do my utmost best to look presentable so it gets off my back.

I still don’t wear perfume, make up and heels but I see to it  that what I put on I feel confident going out there and do what I have to do to survive in every aspect of life.

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Judging the book

How am I supposed to look like?

Reading (while snacking diced cucumber with cottage cheese) “The secret life of loafers” an article written by P.B about how (corporate) women supposed to dress; she asked this question: “Do you believe women must wear heels to indicate formality?” Dubbing it unfair and problematic she, being a bona fide supporter of comfy flat shoes said:

“When a vivid imagination lifts one often off the ground, an extra inch of air under the soles supports neither productivity nor authority.”

Then she refers the readers to this wonderful blog of J.L about CEOs women of the world, and I thought: that exactly what my problem is, I’ve been told over and over that I don’t look like somebody who works in the sector I happened to be in (How someone who has a job in the medical field supposed to look like, I have no idea) What if I tell them I am a freelance interior designer as well, would they faint before my eyes? The truth is: for the moment we are trying to get our own small company off the ground and keep our day jobs at the same time as well. Pretty exhausting combination to juggle but we have to chase our dreams sometimes, haven’t we?

Though no one but no one dare yet to insult me face to face by calling me a liar, I can pretty much guess what’s going on in their minds by the way their eyes roll. They can hardly hide their negative facial expressions, it speaks volumes.  Seems I’m not alone in experiencing this because one corporate woman (I’m not saying I’m corporate though) wrote somewhere something like this: I usually find myself sending the “I’m doing something serious” message when out with friends. There is a part of me that wants to send a “but I’m not at work now” message. I suspect a change of shoes and bag would work.

People in my country said to me I don’t resemble a married woman or a mother, a sentiment my daughter very strongly shared. And I don’t dress up like a European resident either, etc. Well, how a wife and a mother supposed to look like? Do I have to wear all the pieces of jewelries I own to look like I am living in the land of milk and honey? No thank you! Simple is safer when travelling. I learned it the hard way.

Father of you-know-who admitted to me once that upon meeting me for the first time he didn’t expect that I have some ‘substance’ which goes in my book as an insult. Again, how a woman of fairly intelligence should outfit herself? It’s the same with the interior design of my place. I heard few side remarks that if someone comes into my house, nobody would suspect I’m an Asian for there is no single hint or clue about my ethnic origin. What the people want me to do? Buy all the souvenir items in the airport and decorate my dwelling with it? For Christ’s sakes!

Okay, I don’t own a single pump shoes and only one stiletto’s strappy sandals with sparkly crystals which do nothing to flatter my ankle. And I dress up according to my mood (one time I look like a gypsy, then gothic, other day boho-chic; could be casual military inspired attire also or a flirty dress. I even wear boyfriend’s jeans and blazer anything I fancy) but I can also dress for the occasion if I really have to. And mind you I look good in it too.

But most of the times, I opt for what I feel comfortable with, and that’s it. Which remind me of the time I posted my pictures online for the first time, I got quite number of emails saying they didn’t expect I look the way I do (whatever that means) for I refused to show my face for years. There were even comments in my blogs before that they will gladly trade their looks for my brain (and I thought: but would I?) I can only assume that if someone shows some intelligence, people will automatically conclude that one isn’t a pretty sight to look at.

Why is that? Are there some written criteria how a certain individuals supposed to present themselves in order to be respected and be taken seriously? I don’t think so.

Oh I know, some of you would think: don’t dress up slutty if you don’t want to be mistaken for a hoe. I’m not even talking about that for that is totally a very different topic all together and btw not all hoes dress up slutty.

What I’m talking about is judging the book by its cover. Though a lot of people would not admit they do it, in reality most of us do, me included. I will not go into details about my prejudices because it is a very delicate matter for my reservation has nothing to do with how the people look like but rather who they are. More I cannot say.

Probably, we cannot help it. Perhaps it’s a natural thing to have a first impression based on looks alone since we cannot know the character and thoughts of people by a mere glance upon their countenance. Maybe it’s our inborn instinct for survival kicking in when perceiving strangers for the very first time because we have to make up our minds if it’s a flight or fight situation in a matter of seconds. No matter what the reasons are, judging the book by its cover, we all do and have done at least couple of times in our lives. And that my friends is a global habit we can do nothing about…

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