Recently, when I was giving my sister a style makeover (which she didn’t actually wear out bytheway…grr), she told me “I want to be cool, like you.” “Umm..okay?” I said. But inside I was feeling tingles of joy, aww, did my little sister just say I was cool? My greatest goal in life has finally been achieved. I can now die a happy girl. She said that I dressed “cool” in a weird way. I didn’t know if should take that as a compliment or an insult. I chose to think the former since I am the preacher of positive thinking.
What she said got me thinking, what makes someone cool? Or in a fashion sense, what makes someone’s style cool?
Now, I never thought I was cool. I still don’t. I prefer and love my geeky/nerdy persona even if fashionwise I am not that way. When I think of cool, I think of the clichéd popular kids at high school and not me, my artsy geek self. I wasn’t even one of those “cool” art people who dressed daringly and carried around their artworks like gods. In highschool I was rather shy and afraid to express myself through fashion. I wore the same ole jeans and t-shirts. Left my hair down, wore dirty flipflops and boring sneakers. I had always loved fashion but only from an observer’s point of view. I would look at people’s style and admiration and only wish that I was “cool” enough to pull that off. It wasn’t till the ending of my highschool career that I started to experiment if it was only with small accessories: adding a belt here and there, a little bit of layering.
College has definitely allowed me to experiment more even if my closet was the size of a peanut. Plus, my mom wasn’t there to tell me I looked ridiculous, so I was free to prance around in my bed-sheet dresses as much as I liked. Another moment of enlightenment towards the spectrum of “cool” was my discovery of thrifting. I was not “born” into thrifting. Born in cheapness, yes, but not thrifting. My parents still don’t understand my passion for the thrifts but have gradually come to accept penache for my second-hand finds. Thrifting and second-hand shopping has allowed me to try on a range of different styles and experiment without feeling guilty about forking over the money to big corporations. Another inspiration for me was my discovery of online fashion blogs and streetstyle. Wardrobe Remix was definitely another enlightening experience. To be able to see real people dress so savvy was a dream come true. I don’t need the models with their expensive designer clothes to tell me how to dress cool, I can just peruse the outfits of stylish real people in their own mix and mash of fast fashion, vintage finds, thrift treasures, and designer clothing.
But no, I don’t think any of these three points in my life were the reason why I magically turned “cool” (according to my sister). It’s really all about
Self confidence. (no louder..) SELF CONFIDENCE (there we go). Yes, predictable, but so very true.
Over this past year and months I have gained a lot of self-confidence, slowly but surely. One of the ways clearly was through my fashion. I am not the most extreme/daring/bizarre dresser but I like to twist what I wear a bit, add some key interesting focal points, but I have definitely found my style albeit a bit schizophrenic, but that’s a style in itself right? So the key to being “cool” is self confidence. I was never really happy with my body shape or what I looked like, but then my desire to join in fashion chic people made me realize that I had to shed this fear of looking like a fool or looking too fat or ugly. I felt like Tyra Banks and her SO WHAT movement. So what if other people stare or if I stand out or if I make myself look like a sausage. I’m dressing for myself and myself only (okay maybe the few exceptions when I must adhere to some dress code). If you have a dress that you love but are afraid to wear it because it is a little funky, all I have to say is, wear it. It’s a liberating experience.
I don’t think of myself in the traditional sense of “cool”, but I know deep down I am dancing my cool dance all the time even if it is the funky-chicken.
So little sister, “how does one be cool?” I really think you asked the wrong person.