I was watching TLC’s (love that channel, by the way) What Not to Wear a few nights ago and it featured a 23 year old Asian girl called Beryl, with a career in design! It was ironic how the way she presented herself was not correlated with the creativity she puts in her work. I found her naturally very pretty.. She has nice facial features, had washed-out pink hair, a gorgeous smile… but boy, if anyone thought that I lacked style… she was a bit beyond me. She was black and white themed, with broken pants, baggy shirts and combat-looking boots; like she selected her clothes from the hobo’s trashcan. If I saw her on the streets, I would think she was the rebellious type who stirred up hell at home, then ran away and left with no money to maintain her image. But she turned out to be a really sweet, easy-going, beautiful girl. When she first appeared on screen, I laughed a little inside, but she did remind me a lot of myself.
Just like me, she had quite an awkward teenage-hood, where for a period of time, we felt ugly. When that stage passes, people start to become pretty again and lady-like, but it’s easy to let those nasty mentalities carry through. Growing up into a young adult, Beryl accepted the fact that she couldn’t look beautiful like other girls, which was mind-blowing to me, because I found her a lot more stunning than many. In order to hide that, she down-graded her appearance to not draw any attention to herself. That was her justification for her clothing. She didn’t want to think about it in the morning and she didn’t want to prove herself through first impressions. In a way, she had a point, but she took it to the extreme. At the end of the show, she looked really great. They made her try on new clothing that actually fits her size, new dresses, new colours, new shoes and even new hair. It was funny because she was really reluctant at first. When they took her shopping, she would go to the clothes in store that most resembled her previous ones. But after looking herself in the mirror with a flashy dress, she loved it. It never occurred to her that she could look good in a dress. Say what?! It goes to show the depth of people’s insecurities. No matter how appealing we are to others, if we don’t see it, we don’t know it.
I always tell myself that if I had a face like that, or a body shape like that, I would totally wear that too! But in reality, I related to everything she said and I understood where she was coming from. For me, it was hard diving into fashion and to find my own style. I still don’t really know my style. I attended a private all-girls school for 11 years where we had to wear uniforms everyday. So I was spared from the headache of deciding what to wear in the morning. For the majority of my teenage years, up to just a few years back, I was a bit of a tomboy where I didn’t have that feminine mindset. I wore over-sized T-shirts, baggy pants, large sweaters and the same sneaker for like 4 years straight. Dresses, skirts, heels, purses were completely out of the question. But when I do see pieces of clothing that I like, I never thought that I could wear it. I would love it on other girls, but never on myself. A big part of my reserved style is struggling to accept my body. I’ve always been insecure, especially about my legs. I’ve always been told by my family how huge and elephant they are, and the fact that they are ghost-white doesn’t help at all. So a lot of my decision in what to wear comes from trying to hide them. But over the last 4-5 years, I’ve come a long way. With influence from many honest friends, and now a very loving special someone ;) , they’ve boosted my confidence to see that I can wear what everyone wears. I don’t know if I actually slimmed down these few years or that I see myself completely differently. I’d like to think it’s a both.
On another happy (or sad) note: I’m going back to school in Fall.