Dressing the Part

I never saw beauty in the mirror. I saw this weird awkward looking girl with a big nose, braces and a long, skinny body. But, I did have some appreciation for myself,  based on my friends, I had an awesome personality. I just couldn’t figure out how to mesh it all together to feel good and like myself enough.

In high school I was very drawn to fashion and design. I was a very creative teen, always experimenting with ideas I read in fashion magazines, creating  fashion designs and sketching fashion models. I wanted to create my image and style to express myself and build my feminine sex appeal. J. Crew, GAP, and Polo were brands I admired and copied. There was something about the classic looks that I felt were sophisticated and a contrast to what I saw on a daily basis in the Bronx, not just the limited variety of t-shirts and sneakers. There was style and intentional choices about accessories and color. It was different, unique, like me.

It became a conscious choice to build a new version of myself. I had assembled my template of looks from various brands, always keeping that “look” in mind when shopping. I figured I could look smart and sophisticated and that would increase my attractiveness. When I landed a job at the GAP, I was in heaven.! The access gave me an understanding of the “GAP Attitude” and I noticed I was “being upgraded or sophisticated”. My choice of words and language, feelings of myself all shifted into knowing that I am unique and I really can do anything I want and be somebody.

The store was on 5th Avenue and I would pass my favorite stores and again found myself adopting new brands to copy. I was constantly pushing myself to feel closer to what I thought those brands were selling. It was poise and confidence I was after. The big loose pants and long skirts I wore to cover up started to disappear as I pushed the envelope and embraced my physique and all I could wear. Should wear. That included mini skirts, fitted tops, shorts and form-fitting dresses and jeans. No longer trapping myself in baggy loose clothing.

Modeling and competing in pageants only further supported me.  I saw myself as sexy with a sassy personality. My doubts about my physical image were still there but I was choosing to shine regardless. If anyone had made negative comments to me, I knew it was their problem not mine. “You’re so skinny” quickly followed with “You’re so fat or annoying”. No longer was I going to allow people’s judgement affect me. Soon enough I increased my confidence and learned to embrace who I was inside and out. It was finally starting to mesh.

My love for fashion, style and clothes stems from how it brought me though a place of uncertainty and doubt to a confident, secure, sophisticated woman. I’m sure there are many women who use clothing to attract attention to feel better about themselves, but I never went down that path. It was more about aspiring to create a version of myself that I knew was there. An image that resembled the woman I was in the world. That vision came with a necessary shift in my thoughts, language, and even mannerisms. I had no idea that adopting an image would call forth the inner desire I had of who I reflected in my being.

Fashion and style is about expressing your true self and showing the world who you are and how unique and beautiful it is.

Want more stories and updates from Sarah? Click here