Should I Dress My Age?

Sunday, June 11, 2017


When I was in Greece a couple of months ago, the hotel staff asked me if I was on holidays "with my parents" or whether they "arranged it" for us... At this point, I was quite annoyed and just said "no I booked it myself" and then walked away. I suppose in another lifetime, it'd be great to be seen as someone younger!

I have always looked "young" for my age. When we were in Ireland, one of the AirBnB owners also thought I was still studying i.e. in high school!

So a question that's been in my head recently given these "events" (hahaha no) is whether I should be dressing my age? As someone in their mid-twenties, I love any and every opportunity to not dress in all-black and experiment with different colours and textures. (Ironic because the dress I wore here is black but let's move past that...)

As the token strange person in every friendship group, I was known as the quirky girl whose style was unlike anyone else's – stripes, mustard yellow shorts (!), denim overalls as a teenager, you name it I wore it. At first this bothered me but I learnt to enjoy that and consider it as something I was happy to be associated with, and even be proud of!



DRESSING MORE GROWN-UP?

But when I finally moved to London for university, while standing way too long to be served at bars too cool for me and watching more 'attractive' girls pushed and shoved their way in front of me to be greeted enthusiastically I thought, 'should I be dressing more like them?

The more I thought about this, the more annoyed I got at myself. Mainly because I felt like I lacked the confidence to dress the way I like, and increasingly felt a pressure to look my age, dress, talk and act in a way that someone could take seriously. Why couldn't I look more grown up? Was it my painfully youthful round Asian face (hahaha)?

This happened a lot while I was in university, no less because my friends had looked more mature than I did, and in a unexplainable and undetectable (like so many things) way, I always felt like someone who didn't fit with the crowd, even though we were the same in our own ways.

I wanted to be the cool girl who went to music festival in a denim jacket and ripped jeans, but I got rainbow facepaint to match my striped top and blue leggings. It was fun, but I always wondered whether I was just a wannabe 16 year old at a gig?



MAYBE IT'S JUST SELF-CONFIDENCE?

Now, you may say to heck with it, who cares what other people think so long you're confident about what you're dressed in and that's that. And maybe you're right, I was a very self-conscious and overly self-aware person growing up and that carried over well into my student years. 

But like I said, there was always this lingering and knowing feeling that it was because I was dressed in a colourful smock (rather than a shift dress) that I was treated in a way that you treat a 16 year old out on the weekend getting Starbucks. It was bugging me, and there was a year where I did a complete wardrobe re-haul and wore very muted colours, longer dresses and plain tops. 

I got bored of it very soon but kept it up because I received 'compliments' of how much I changed, but in a good way. I didn't really know what that meant, but it seemed like it was something I should be feel happy about. But I still felt frustrated that I had to essentially switch up what I really wanted to do to fit the expectations that probably existed more in my head than it actually existed in real life. 

At that time, it really felt like something changed around me. People were engaging with me more because I 'looked' smarter (I remember someone telling me this once) and wearing heels completed my outfit and I was acknowledged like I mattered, sometimes. Going out dancing seemed more fun, more freeing... 


NOW, DRESS FOR YOURSELF

Soon I got really, really bored of it all. I couldn't wear what I wanted without thinking 'how would this look to other people?' or 'do I look strange?' and that took away a lot of the fun. I also hated the way everyone else basically did the same - wear X or X because it was *the* thing to do, and did their makeup a certain way because it was nicer.

After a while, I decided it didn't really matter much what others thought and acted around me. If someone treats me based on the way I dressed then it's something I would and should bring up and question, instead of actively hiding behind it. No one should feel like they have to seek approval from complete strangers purely on what they had on, and that was what I hated the most.

So I brought back colours I love, wearing things I felt comfortable in, and while I may look like an overly excited tween in her Ray-Ban's, at least I don't really care what everyone else thinks about it. I also look about 12 when I go to work because I don't like having makeup on long work days so I do sometimes feel concerned whether colleagues take me seriously...

Psst, but nowadays I find a pom-pom headband and immediately buy it because I know it's something I can pull off and absolutely love!

Without sounding like a walking cliché, I now appreciate fashion and dressing up even more because it's fun and it's something I look forward to every day because I can do whatever I want and it's silly and something I try not to take seriously.  As for fashion trends, I was never really one for them and re-wearing all my summer clothes from last year (remember off the shoulder dresses?) was made me so happy it was even warm enough to do so!

What do you think about all this? Am I in another one of my self-babbling mode?


Dress - Zara / Sandals - Clarks / Sunglasses - Ray-ban Clubmaster


I'm back in London from the tropics (sobs) but slowly sorting through the photos to show you what we got up to! I loved being back home, eating so much till I felt sick and there's nothing quite like the wash of humid hot air as you step outside the house :-) stay tuned, friends!

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