The (un)importance of style

Sunday, 13 August 2017

belle in black and white

I've been thinking a lot about my own style lately. I've been bored with it, disappointed in it even. Putting together an outfit is one thing but personal style is a whole other ball game. It's something I thought I'd have figured out by now, be able to put it into a category or fill in the blanks of 'my personal style is ______, ______, and ______' and be happy with it.

But then I wondered why I cared so much. Firstly, out of all the things I need to sort out in my life, my style probably shouldn't take this much priority. And secondly, out of all the things in the world that matter, why have I been fixated on something so frivolous for so many years?

Then I watched i-D Meets: Tokyo’s Genderless Youth, a mini-documentary exploring genderless fashion in Harajuku through interviews with a few people on their style, thoughts, and experience of dressing outside gender constraints. They talk about how they get called names or argue with their parents over what they wear but they persist anyway.

Aside from getting a glimpse at how the genderless fashion movement has found a home in Japanese street style (all for it), I had the realisation that I love seeing people wear what they love. Dressing up has always been something I enjoy, so seeing other people doing the same just makes me happy. The young people in i-D’s documentary encourage others to open their minds and experiment with fashion because they’ve discovered something in their style they want others to be able to do too. That something may just be a way to have fun or stand out, but it could also be using style as a form of self-expression or even giving them a new way to experience the world. 

So why does style matter to me? Aside from finding it fun to put outfits together, fashion has always been something of a confidence booster. I’m generally more comfortable when I’m overdressed than underdressed. I also feel like what I wear can give me a sense of presence I don’t naturally possess. Whether intentional or not, your style is something that speaks for you before you even say anything - something this quiet introvert appreciates.

As for stressing over finding my personal style, I’ve decided to stop doing that. Sometimes you just need to be reminded that it’s ok to experiment, to be a little bit bolder, and to not put labels on everything.

Style isn’t something you have to take seriously. It can mean everything to you or it can mean nothing. But whether it’s for a confidence boost, an expression of identity, or to just not be naked, you should feel free to do whatever you want.

Watch the film:

Instagram links to those interviewed:

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