Column - You are what you wear - or aren't you?

© a fashion girl

Uber-stylist Rache Zoe once said "Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak." And that is true. But what if your style could say a lot more? Whether you like it or not, people form an opinion about you when they first see you - and clothes are an important part of how you look. Sure, often that opinion changes over time when people get to know you. But more often than not first impressions never completely disappear.

What you wear, evokes emotion, not only your own emotion but also other people's. For example, a study showed that men are more helpful when a woman wears high heels. And as a woman you also feel different when wearing high heels: more feminine, and maybe just a tad more 'damsel in distress' when walking on cobble stones... And when you walk into a designer store dressed to the nines, you are usually served more friendly - unfair, yes, but that's the way it is. In the same category: older people may look less friendly when they see an extravagantly dressed man (whose outfit screams 'gay'). It doesn't even matter whether the man in question is gay. The way he dresses, determines the looks he gets. A straight friend has even tested this.

So if how you dress, is a way to say who you are without having to speak, couldn't it also be a way to be who you want to be or want to become? Is the way we dress a shield or a mask we put on? A way to present ourselves better to the world or to rebel against it with an 'I don't care'-attitude (punk, anyone)? And can clothes make it easier to become the person we want to be?

© a fashion girl

Let's get personal...I used to feel very insecure about myself. I didn't feel like I belonged anywhere and didn't know how to act and just be myself. In that periode I got interested in clothes. I wanted to feel beautiful and confident and to present that version of me to the world (even though I didn't feel that way). Dressing well was a way to do so. It helped. I got a little more confident. When I went to study in Antwerp after high school, both my self-confidence and my interest in fashion grew (not that surprising when living in fashion city Antwerp). Now, my interest in fashion has become a passion: I love style (hello, fashion blog) and dressing up every day makes me happy. Is everything peachy now? No, I still need clothes as a shield against the harsh reality (armor anno 2018) and still doubt myself. What's more, the way I dress and my interest in fashion can also backfire: some people think I am shallow because I care about how I look. The other side of the coin...

But all in all I can say: fashion has helped me, still helps me and made me discover my passion and - hopefully - talent (there's that insecurity again).

So: "Don't dress as who you are, dress as who you want to be. And be eventually."

I wrote this article originally for It was published here in Dutch.

© a fashion girl


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