It’s Style Rehab week here on Thriftshop Chic. Tune in later in the week to develop your own style sense, tweak your wardrobe, and build a kid’s capsule wardrobe later in the week!
Tomorrow we’re going to tackle my sister’s question about how to improve your wardrobe stylistic sense. One of her recent comments: “What if you fail miserably in fashion sense and have no idea what cut works for you? I’m so bad at fashion.”
I would like to clarify something.
Being “bad” at fashion or style is not something that makes one iota of difference about your value as a *person.*
Fashion is, in the great scheme of things, inconsequential.
Yes, I know, that’s a bit heretical for a style blogger to say/type aloud; but it’s true. The world is full of amazing, loveable, make-a-difference-in-the-world type of people who don’t put any energy at ALL into style or fashion, because they know that neither your fashion sense nor your sartorial appearance = your self worth, despite what every magazine ever tries to tell you.
And while we’re on the subject, I’m kind of tired of those blogs/articles/books that may concede that you don’t need to follow trends, but still insist that “being chic and stylish shows you care about yourself.” What?! No. Taking care of yourself means things like taking long walks and getting enough sleep and eating tasty nutritious food and ignoring negative voices and staying on helpful meds and doing things you LOVE and being with PEOPLE you love. You don’t have to look stylish to do any of those things or to be a person of worth in the world.
Fashion is just a tool.
A fun tool! A useful tool. But just a tool.
If it’s not a tool you care about using, I say, great! If you don’t really care to prioritize looking put-together or chic or fashionable, I say, more power to you.
If it’s a tool you want to use to help you feel more confident or to communicate something to those around you, then great. Let’s party.
I spend time thinking about clothes, thrifting, and creating outfits because it’s a fun creative outlet and because the process of defining my style helps me affirm things I like about myself—my unique perspective, my sense of humor, my attention to detail, my appreciation for classic design and funky pattern. So I find that when I put on an outfit that feels really “me,” there’s a noticeable change in my attitude: I get a spring in my step and a smile on my lips, and I’m ready to take on the world and/or my to-do list. It may sound silly, but the right clothes can help me feel good in my own skin, and to me that’s worth a few trips to the thrift store and a few hours in front of the mirror.
For my sister, it sounds like fashion & style are a way she can feel more at ease in her work environment and more empowered opposite some sexist jerks. And to me, that’s a worthy goal. So tune in tomorrow to see some ideas to help her go from wardrobe “blahs” to wardrobe “YAAASSSS!”
[Side note: at the same time that not caring about style is totally fine, it’s wise to be aware of what style indifference can communicate to those around you. It may be a message you want to send, à la Steve Jobs or Barack Obama: I care about more important things. Or it may be a message you don’t want to send: I don’t care about keeping up with the work culture. The latter is particularly true for fields where appearance carries a lot of weight, i.e. dressing more conservatively for a law firm or more young and hip for a career related to culture…and, sadly, particularly more true if you are a woman.
Relatedly, here’s a great podcast from The Broad Experience with two women with contrasting views on whether/how you should look “presentable” and/or stylish at work.]
What do you think about fashion as a tool? What do you use it for—or is it a tool you keep stashed in the bottom of the toolbox and rarely bring out? Scroll down to share!