It has taken me a good few years to finally find my fashion sense. I now know what I like and don’t like rather than making choices that will make me feel accepted by others.
Finding what fashion or type of clothing I like was one of the main struggles I faced growing up, and being a young teenager of colour made it more difficult.
This was due to the fact that in our society, many young girls of colour feel they are limited to the type of clothes they can wear, these clothes are often classed and known as ‘white peoples clothes’. If you are seen in these type of clothing, you are criticise by mostly people of the same colour saying you’re trying to be ‘white’ and trying to be something you’re not, etc.
Clothes are made for everyone, not just for certain race, so why does it have to be like this? We should be able to freely wear what we want and freely express ourselves through our clothing regardless of the colour of our skin.
I believe the clothes we wear say a lot about the person we are. It is where people get their first impression of us. Do you really think clothes are just simply clothes? Why would fashion designers think and put so much into the clothes they design. Even more important, why do they create a target market for their clothes. A great example was when Rihanna introduced her fashion line. In her own words she said it was for people that were confident, bold and brazen (this is a compliment).
During this time, I wanted to buy all her clothing line (as if I could afford it), simply because I am a huge Rihanna fan. However, I knew deep down that they are not the type of clothes I would go for and it hit me when she described the personalities of her target market. This made me quite sad. I wondered to myself whether this meant I wasn’t a true Rihanna fan, because deep down, I couldn’t see myself wearing most of the clothes she designed. I would be way too shy to be seen out in them, it would send a primary message that I am confident and bold, which I am to an extent once you get to know me but seeing and meeting people I’m not use to be around will think the complete opposite.
This isn’t to say because of your personality you shouldn’t wear certain clothing, if you feel comfortable, go ahead. If you don’t, that’s perfectly fine.
Growing up in Jamaica during a part of my life made my journey to find myself more difficult. This was because Jamaica and England, where I currently reside, are completely different in so many ways. In Jamaica, back when I was younger, I don’t know about now, but there were only so many different styles of clothes you could go for, seeing as 90% of the weather there is hot. Therefore, people tend to wear very similar clothes. However, as a child, at times I would cry when my mum went out and buy me certain clothes as it wasn’t what I wanted.
By the time I was in my early teens I would find the oldest pair of pre-owned frock and put it on proudly. Silly jokes were made about me saying I love to dress like my great grandma, but I was comfortable in what I was wearing. It was me and I was happy. I felt it showed a lot about the type of person I was and still am: reserved, easy going, etc. It was the total opposite of being confident and bold. I didn’t want to stand out, but when you’re living in a hot country and wears a frock in broad day lighy, you will stand out a lot. Unless if you’re going to church or special occasion.
Though the jokes weren’t intended to hurt my feeling, I decided to comply with society as the jokes and attention were getting too. I started to wear most of whatever what given to me and what everyone else wore.
I then I moved to England, I left behind almost all that was given to me and all those who I used to copy was no longer around. I was left ‘naked’. But on the other hand, it was a fresh start for me to find what I really like and what I felt most comfortable in.
It wasn’t an easy journey. Because unlike Jamaica, England has constant weather change and so many different styles of clothes and fashions. It wasn’t as easy as going into a shop and finding a old pair of dress, and by then, I cared way too much what people think of me and was worried I would get the same reaction I got when I was wearing what I felt most comfortable in during my time in Jamaica.
I remember going to my cousin’s christening. I was still quite young. I was wearing a denim skirt and a crop top. It was the clothes that all my friends and family in Jamaica complimented me in the most. However, during the christening, I felt I was showing too much and was very shy because of it and so I find myself sat down during 95% of the christening.
By the age of 16, nearly 17, I started to try and care less about what people think of me. During then, I was attending counselling sessions (for other reasons) and even then, that was one topic I felt I couldn’t talk about, but even so, my sessions has helped me to become more confident and to be happy with the person I am.
By the time I was attending university. I was living independently as I was no longer living at home during my years of studing. This I felt was another fresh start for me.
I therefore took hardly any clothes with me just so I could make room for my new wardrobe, but due to money related problems, it took me a while to fill my wardrobe so I had to continuing wearing clothes from home.
During this time, I didn’t really know what type of fashion the style of clothes I love fell under. So I took to my laptop and started doing my research. It was vintage. I was a vintage girl and that was the style of clothes I love the most.
During my research, I also came across blsck female celebrities who have been embracing different fashion styles, which sends a positive message to society, a message that says you can dress however you want, no matter your ‘colour.’
Celebrities like Willow Smith and Solange Knowles have continued to step outside the comfort zone many of us are too afraid to step out of. Thanks to people like them and the media for putting the images, messages and everything else out there for us to see.
Today, my wardrobe is made up of 90% vintage clothing, slowly but surely I am getting there.
It’s never too late to find what you like and embrace it. I still care what people think of me, but I don’t care enough to not wear what I feel most comfortable in. Jokes are still made, but I am now a lot more mature, I know what I want and who I am and so I take things lightly.
Find Yourself, Be Yourself and Embrace it.