Finding yourself in the fashion flow
It took it a little bit too long for my taste, but the cold seems to finally have come! So, on a lazy Sunday evening I decided to open the black hole that is my wardrobe and put on display all my lovely warm clothes.
It is always an experience for me to get my wardrobe ready for the season: every year I make at least a bag of clothes that I don’t wear anymore, being it the color, the shape, the design. Still, looking at my closet as the years pass, I realize that something has changed: it is getting more and more me-like.
Let me explain better what I mean. I have always loved clothes, they have been a big passion of mine since I was a child (my dad still remembers the day I was four years old and made him spend thirty minutes finding a good pair of trousers in the drawer ‘cause the ones he made me wear were not of my liking).
During my adolescence, the relationship I had with clothes was directly proportional with the one I had with my body: still to these days I sometimes don’t like the way I look, so think how much of a conflict it must have been when I was 16 and everything inside of me was trying to find a shape. I now tenderly laugh thinking about the days I used to cry and scream “I don’t want to go out anymore!” on a Saturday night ‘cause I thought nothing could make me look hot for disco night compared to my friends. Little did I know they had their fair share of image struggles too, as I think every human might have had at least once.
I was emo girl in middle school, indie bookworm with a little grandma vibes twist in high school, and now, at my third university year? I don’t know if there’s a label that fits me, maybe Scandi-girl with a little Asian-style spice? Funny right?
But it’s not the label I care about and want to talk to you today about: it is the path that took me to the style I have now, the newly found confidence (not everyday babes, nobody’s perfect, as Hanna Montana, one of my childhood fashion icons used to sing) and conscious buying I started to do.
During the years, even though I don’t blame my growing self who was trying to find a personal image, I compulsively collected clothes based on trends: things too baggy or too tight for my body shape, colors that I had nothing else to match with, cheap materials that would break only by looking at them, but most of all, things I liked, but only on other people, ‘cause I did not realize that it was not me, not my style, just things that looked nice in a trend I saw on someone on Pinterest. I had lots of nice stuff, but it did not just feel like me to go around with them, feeling bad because that style looked good on the school cool girls but not on me, so I thought I was the problem.
I (or we, as I now realize neither the so called “cool girls” had) had no sense of proportions: insecure about my figure, I wore clothes too large for my size, not realizing that a flattering geometrical game can totally change your fashion game. Makeup too was a struggle: unless you are a professional, you will hardly be able to play a lot with colors and eyeliners, even though practice makes perfect, and tutorials are a blessing.
If today I look at my wardrobe, it is thanks to the mistakes I did in the past and days spent reading fashion magazines and studying the photos from runaways, that I can say I have found a balance and started a path towards a closet that really feels like mine. I am far from perfect, and still a trends slave, but I can now see straight aways if that trend reflects my style and the clothes shapes I like and think flatter me. I try to buy things more consciously: quality of the material over the quantity of the t-shirts and pairs of jeans, I try to look for things in vintage and secondhand shops, fix things at my local seamstress instead of buying new ones when I just need to tighten the waist.
About this quality point: let’s not blame ourselves if for now we don’t have the financial stability to buy clothes that have higher quality (which doesn’t always mean environmental friendliness and ethical production!) or we are not the type to stick to just a few pieces ‘cause we like to experiment with clothes every day! Finding your wardrobe means also finding your values and taste, knowing what’s best for you on the different fashion levels!
What I’m saying here is that I love men shirts so I stick to them, “stealing” one from my das’s old ones from time to time, flare jeans are the best for my shape so I don’t indulge in straight ones ‘cause I know I’ll regret buying them the second I try to style them, I try to master the art of layering so I can build some kind of capsule wardrobe from season to season, I’m not a patterns lover (unless when it comes for the cheetah pants I bought on Vinted a few days ago!) nor a bright colors fan so I try to stick to basics and add a little twist and personality with accessories or a funky coat.
If there’s one article I love and came to my mind while I was doing my seasonal decluttering is: “Uniform dressing: how the pandemic changed our way of dressing”; it is an article that Federica Salto, a fashion editor that I love, wrote on Vogue in January 2022. Thinking about the pressure that continuous and volatile trends put on us, along with our outfits having to always look perfect and new in the Instagram era, she reflected on how, in a way, the pandemic put us in an against the current mindset: it has moved us towards being more conscious about what we wear, in finding things that are more in our style than in the one of people on TikTok (today criticized for dressing all too basic) and sticking to shapes and colors we like, along with having “comfiness” and “second skin” becoming new key words in everybody’s closets. Salto takes as examples the iconic pleated skirts of Nostra Signora Miuccia Prada, or chunky vintage rings of Alessandro Michele: they are examples of how they found their statement pieces to stick to, no matter how ordinary or extravagant the look of the day may be.
Miuccia herself said that: “I have always been convinced that, along the necessity of covering up, clothes fulfill our need for expression. I have loved them since I was a child. The day this obsession will end I’ll think I’ve turned sick.”
This random stream of consciousness is totally not meant to be a bragging moment: as I said, I’m far from perfect when it comes to dressing, still I wanted to share with you some things I have been reflecting on lately and might be useful to you too. So, if you babes see yourself in my words, when you have a little free time (I know, Milan is chaotic and frenetic and so is life, but we have no excuse) do some decluttering in your wardrobe, trying to do an identikit of the pieces that truly scream YOU in your eyes when you wear them.
For the big bags of stuff you might have to get rid of, you can either donate them, sell them or do a swap party with friends: it is in our MaM’s philosophy to take inspiration by street style people, may they be your closest ones!