"Never underestimate the power of a good outfit on a bad day."
This morning I chose a nice black lace top to wear today, and while it makes me happy (hello, Marie Kondo :-)), I now realize it somehow itches, which surprised me because it never has. While I was preparing my breakfast, taking care of my little brother, and setting up my laptop to join this morning`s "London Writers` Salon", I could all along feel the scratch at the side of my stomach, and being mindfully, I noticed my little distration and annoyance.
While the itchiness has now calmed down, I remember my past reflections on fashion, its meaning, impact, and value. Having had no sense for fashion when I was a teenage girl (and still to this day, I wish I would be more courageous like all the fashion influencers), I probably envied those who had. I always wondered how people made successful decisions on these fancy jeans, beautiful dresses, or eye-catching accessories. To be frank, during my childhood, fashion and shopping was also seen as a luxury. My working-class family paid more attention on hard work and studying. Spending too much time and money on your face and hair would be precious resources wasted and a total distraction.
This limiting perspective continued after high school until university, where studying was even harder and focus even more pedantic on working restlessly given my studies were funded by a scholarship. (My college time ended up in burn-out, but this may be a topic for another blog post.) It wasn`t until I moved to Frankfurt, earning my own money, feeling "free" in this new "big" city with its distinct skyline, that I approached the topic around shopping again. While I now could spend more money on clothes (I feel we may fall into shopping easily after intense work weeks), I still shopped without a clear understanding of fashion or myself. Soon I would buy items that looked nice, but actually didn`t fit my body type or bring my personality to shine. That beautiful dress that I don`t fit in yet, but may be important for a special event. That blazer for work to have another one and not to always wear the same. That pair of heels that no one can walk in, but may look sexy when going out.
All and more mistakes I have made during my newly gained freedom, without really being aware of it. Earning your own money makes you feel you are on top of the world and can now buy anything. (Also financial consciousness wasn`t a thing back then or at least not present in that stage of my life.) It wasn`t until I met one of my closest friends during a scholarship programme, that something materially would change. It was a fun encounter - hundreds of scholarship students had to come on stage for a massive group picture. It was crowded, people were looking for a good spot hoping no tall guy would suddenly step in front of them, and arranging their clothes and hairs. During this busyness, our eyes met and my friend and I introduced ourselves to each other. When I asked her, where she is from, she said "Frankfurt", to which I almost shouted exuberantly, "Oh, I am from Frankfurt, too!" We laughed and from this moment on, our friendship has started to unfold.
I soon noticed and admired her immaculate sense of style. She knew what she liked and what looked good on her. She was the first person I knew, who was both fashionable and one of the most heart-warming persons I know. Because we clicked on a deeper level, it never occured to me to envy her style or feel inferior to her. She accepted me for who I was and not for what I wore (what people may often unconsciously often do, incl. me), and I have done the same. It happened that we would shop together in Frankfurt, went to the cinema (often for our favorite Marvel movies), or just went for coffee with Turkish sweets. What I love about our friendship was, amongst others, that our activities were so relaxed and we would just flow with the day. We could talk and laugh endlessly, and I would always feel present in our friendship, which is quite special I have now come to realize.
Back to our shopping trips - it was when we, with other dear friends, went to a trip to Cologne to benefit from a sale event at a Zalando outlet store. I have never been to a Zalando outlet store before, nor have taken a trip outside city just for shopping. But it was a fun girl`s trip, worries left behind, and paired with excitement for what was to come. When we arrived and got in, it was a huge space with clothes of all sorts on discount. After we all split, I started with the stand next to me, which happened to be a stand of Topshop items. Soon a dark orange dress caught my attention and I just took it with me for consideration. And so it continued, I would just pick items that I like and put them in my bag. I was very happy when I found nice white Reebok sneakers and pink Nike sport shoes in my size. The prices were really attractive. When we all gathered again within our group, we all seemed happy and tired about our deals. And with big white shopping bags, we left the outlet store, outside to a summery day with many other shoppers on a typical Sunday. We bought ice cream to celebrate and took pictures in front of the famous dome of Cologne. It was a happy and relaxed day with friends during summertime.
This was probably one of my first shopping experiences, that I truly enjoyed. Without pressure to find something outstanding to make me feel better in communities where I felt like an outsider (during high school and college). Without feeling uncomfortable in not knowing what to buy (like the first time you are in a club and don`t know how to behave). Without a limiting belief or perspective, more with curiosity and calm. My dear friend would soon be my go-to-person to ask for her opinion and I love how she can provide her feedback in a non-judgmental, loving way. Thanks to her, I have not only upgraded my wardrobe with many items that make me happy and comfortable, but also gained more confidence and expression - less in fashion, but more in life. (My friend is known for supporting many women in finding her confidence and fashion style!)
Years ago I also happened to watch a short documentary about Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief for Vogue and her big black sunglasses during fashion shows. Her interviewer asked, what she had to say about people`s views on fashion being superficial. She replied - and it stuck with me to this day - that people can have any views they have on fashion, but no one can deny that it does make a difference to someone, who, for example, goes to a job interview, wearing clothes they feel confident in instead of clothes that make them feel insecure or uncomfortable. So what you wear does not define your worth, but it can make your day - so use this vehicle, play with it, and see what comes out for you! :)
What does fashion mean to you? Let me know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org – I very look forward to hearing from you! :) PS: Subscribe to my #mindfulmagic Newsletter to stay in touch for upcoming posts, free offers, and news :)
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