Started from the bottom
Did I mention I was a careless teenager wandering 24/7 in XXL baggy jeans, listening to rock and metal music, hanging out in skate parks? Oh well... And for not being a common black girl of my age (but what's common anyway?) I was a hot mixture of despair, confusion and shame (even if they'd never say it) for my family, who couldn’t get nor bear my all spikes everything e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. And when one of them dared asking what was ‘going on’ with me, I was ready to come up with a very well prepared and fine speech on how paradoxical they were about letting children expressing themselves with such close-minded behavior, as things weren’t going their way. But the deal was promptly closed because, hey, my grades were on top, and that was a much bigger concern than my ‘Punk’s not dead’ tee-shirts.
To be honest - as all major girls/women style transitions (from hairstyle to shape) - it all started with/for a guy (side note : we can all agree on the fact that men have at least this power on girls under 20). His name was Thomas, and he had one of those cool Eastpak bagpacks with a huge Marilyn Manson drawn on it, and I was obsuuuuussed with him, but as you might guess, he didn’t care less. (Hey TB, if you ever happen to fall on this, no worries, I traded the Deftones back for Gloria Gaynor ever since, and I did indeed - survive). Still, I owe him my first Cd of Kings of Leon, and a pretty descent knowledge of rock music I learnt at the time to impress him (#Failed), that I can now proudly discuss with my white homies (not that all of them listen to that kind of music but you know...). So somehow, we’re even.
See, the good thing when you look at your past ending up laughing and asking yourself “oh my, why?” means that time did good on you, so now you can proudly brag about how you managed to keep the good from those unflattering experiences. Still, the one thing I regret the most in growing up (because I am something like 40 in my head) is the loss of that teenage innocence and carefree spirit we all used to have when it comes to trying new things. I might have gone through four major style tribes (cool-hippie/grunge/skater-rocker/punk-goth), and leaving one for another always widened my point of view on others for having been part of them at some point. So now whenever I see a group of teenage rebels, I don't judge, because I have been there. Done that. And now that I do actually care about my looks, I know that am nevuuur going back there.
HOW YOU PRESENT YOURSELF IS HOW THE WORLD FIRST VIEWS YOU. SO WHAT ARE YOU SHOWCASING?
For falling in the trap too many times, I totally get those lazy days when you feel like this super sweet sweater pants will provide you a twelve hours extension of sleep, but it always seems to happen the day this cute guy working accross the street - finally - decides to come talk to you, or when you bump into you ex with a hawt new babe on his arm (#KillMeNow). So just dress UP. Every f*cking day. Good looks and clothes open many doors : if you don't have enough, go shopping, if you can't afford it, by all means, sew yourself.
No need to get excited or even understand how some Proenza will do the job, neither to go all Versace-Versace-Versace just because you can afford it, but there is a deeper than deep difference between getting dressed and dressing up : it's a skin VS self-esteem battle that sometimes, both can win if you fight it right.
Flashing back on my baggy jeans era, dressing large was for sure a good way to hide my goofy body under layers and layers, but definetely not helping in bringing any sexy back. So the day my mum came into my room determin-armed with her tailoring scissors (I swear this is how it happenned), I knew that time has come. And even though the transition was rough, I can't thank her enough for rescuing me from the limbos.
I went from a black version of Avril Lavigne to the early beginnings of Britney Spears (minus the belly out - couldn't afford it) and if I honestly can't figure out what was best, at least, I was not making anyone from the fam' uncomfortable on sundays.
Now I would be lying if I say I am still figuring out my sartorial aesthetic or have arrived my final destination ; maybe ten years from now I'd become a nun, fighting hard for chastity somewhere in Oklahoma, wearing a veil and a black and white robe all day errrrrday (never gonna happen), but as I am nervously - I must confess - reaching the end of my adultescence, I grow more and more fearless to go for a little bit of craziness now and then, daring one an then to put on something unconventional which happens to drive all kinds of admiring OR peeling off glances on me, that either make me feel as fab as Vivian Ward, or totally naked (which happens less though).
I've just read somewhere that "the only time you should ever look back is to see how far you've come", and recreating my style timeline through pictures last week is actually how I came up with the title of this post (Hello Drake), realizing that finally landing here was certainly the best thing that could ever happen to me.
Wherever it is.