I have been on vacation this week. After spending a few days in a lovely beach town, I was reminded of an essential fashion fact: stay true to your own style. This is a lesson hard-learned, especially growing up a woman. It starts in the middle school years – that feeling that you have to look like everyone else in order to fit in. And so you tell your mom that you have to have a certain kind of clothing in order to be successful (your mom, wanting to help you, will be tempted to succumb to your whims in order to help!). It gets better once you enter high school and begin the process of wanting to stand out – even if just a bit. And so you experiment with new styles and explore different attitudes, but the truth is that the need to fit in rears its head at different points in your life, especially when you find yourself in new environments. It did again for me when I started college – a very preppy college – and found myself in a sea of pink and green with nothing to wear! (I have shared the story of how my darling mother bought me several fair isle sweaters in various colors while on my first break from school freshman year. I returned with my sweaters and wore them a few times before leaving them in the closet for good and embracing my true style). Moving on in life, with each new setting, with each transition, the need to fit in is a tempting pull.
But the beauty of growing up and finding your way is identifying when you know yourself and your style. And even though you may feel unsure entering a new environment, you eventually realize that your individual style is what will help you feel stronger – on your own. When I walked through this beautiful town on the beach I wanted very much to treat myself to a piece of clothing – something that would always remind me of being on holiday. But I couldn’t find it. Everything looked the same to me and though the style of the town was lovely – it wasn’t mine. I didn’t want to look like everyone else; I wanted to look like me. So I left the beach having bought nothing, wearing my tried-and-true jean shorts with a tee, and the last favorite article of clothing I bought on summer holiday a few years ago: my black dress.