“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.”–Gore Vidal
My fashion vocabulary consists of just two stubborn and magnetic words: CLEARENCE and RACK.
The last time I splurged and crossed over to the full-price side of shopping, buying an item that was not tattooed with thick red lines slashing the price down 50% or had an ‘on sale’ sticker clinging on to the price tag, was when I bought a sturdy pair of snow/rain boots for my big move to NYC in January so that I would not be slipping and sliding on the sidewalks in my loyal pair of $2 Old Navy flippy flops.
It was only until I began watching Project Runway that I learned what the word couture or what a fashionista was, and I’m still not comfortable with using the term parka when I find myself in need of a warm hug during winter.
At the age when adjectives started to define us, I was known as the girl who never matched. The one who also would wear tutus with glittery tops, converse with prom dresses and tape skirts to make them shirts, all because it was Tuesday and more so just because I felt like it. I’ve never been one to have expensive taste or to know the surnames of designers or to waste time thumbing through fashion mag’s memorizing rules like ‘deep purple is in this fall’.
In this world, there’s already too many people telling us what we can and can’t do. Your college degree, your age, gender, how much money you make, can place substantial limitations on us. Who the heck does some 30-year-old fashion editor think she is to tell me what I can and can’t wear this season? I don’t think so.
Last night, post-work, in my wrinkled, coffee stained Old Navy button down blouse and Gatorade orange Gap pants, a friend and I decided to blend with the masses and attend NYC’s Fashion’s Night Out–an event where stores transform into DJ pumpin’ nightclub atmospheres where long-legged models rock fall fashions and waiters in bow ties hand out hors d’oeuvres and skinny glasses filled with cocktails. Outside, hoards of staggering girls that looked like they had raided the fashion closet of Marie Claire.
I looked like I just rolled out of bed, which I did 9 hours ago and had not been home to freshen up since.
After waiting in line to get into the party at an upscale store, I ran into a few girls that I knew from High School. They asked us what fashion shows we were going to, what VIP parties we would be crashing after the event, what designers we had posed for pictures with.
Dumbfounded we both let out a mixed, 10 second drawl of, “uhh, umm, we…ugh, Target, ah”. Seeing as maybe we didn’t fit in here, in this world, with these people, I ended the interrogation with a stern, “We have to get out of here, we have an important place to be.”
My mom always tells me that it’s not what you wear that defines your style or qualifies you as a person who has any. For one could spend hundreds upon thousands of chump change on outfits and still not look like anything grand. It’s how you wear, what it is you wear, that will make you stand out. It’s owning your own style, she says, and wearing it with confidence.
And ever since I was old enough to grab things with my baby fingers, I would throw on as many jewels as I could find, wear Halloween costumes to school in July and incorportate a ROYGBIV color scheme into my outfits. I never stood a chance at being chic.
We ended our night with no shopping bags in hand, no signed tote bags from designers, no empty glasses of Pinot–whatever.
We ended it a pizza joint, my friend shoving down a personal pizza pie and myself, a root beer float.
The most important, and only place, we really needed to be.