For me, clothes and how I adorn my body is a big part of how I express myself, how I want to be portrayed, to be seen and most of all, how to make me feel comfortable and most like 'me'.
I have tried many styles, eras, genres, all lasting for about a year tops until I experimented with something else, waiting for the right 'look' for me to fit into place and embrace forever more. Probably my favourite phase was when I was in sixth form. Imagine lego hair, bandannas, floral dresses, plimsolls with ribbons for laces, cropped pastel cardigans and pink lipstick. Mixed patterns and contrasting prints were the norm. Pretty much what ever I felt like I wanted to wear, regardless of whether it went or not was what I went for that day. I probably looked like a charity shop vomited all over me. But I was happy and I felt great. I dressed for me.
Although this was my longest phase, it soon died after a year or two. I started to lose my quirks, my mismatched wardrobe and lego hair. Soon I dressed like everyone else and became just another one of the force fed fashion consumers. I looked like a TopShop mannequin. I had a side swept fringe and whilst I loved it and thought it was the height of individualism, put in a police line up of 'What Indie Girl Has the Best MySpace Hand', I could have been as guilty as the next. We. All. Looked. The. Same!
I got myself a retail job and kind of regained a little individuality, but again, I only worked there for a year and left for the worst admin job of my life. My beloved nose piercing got the boot in hope of my new manager liking me. She didn't. I got my nails professionally done like her to gain her respect. She didn't. I wore boring clothes and lost everything about who I once was. JACK POT! I left after 6 months of utter misery.
When I chatted to James' Mum about how I felt about clothes, she even agreed that I 'lost' who I was. And that makes me sad. Not only did I feel completely alien in my own skin, but I looked like it too. From knowing me at a time where I was an eclectic, happy mess to being a boring, conformed disaster, it must have been crystal clear that I just wasn't Rheya,
Still, even after leaving the office job from hell, I dressed to please others. To fit in and to conform. Whilst I still liked what I wore, I didn't love it. I wasn't myself. I was dressing as someone else. I started blogging which really helped me come out of my shell again. I have included a few images above since the inception of PixiRella for you to see how varied my style has been throughout the past year or two. To get a better idea, grab a cup of tea and a paper bag ready for all the cringe you are about to vomit and take a peek through my MySpace. I apologise in advance for all the awkward teen photos! I digress - since blogging I started to experiment with Dr Martens and started really getting back into 'Vintage', something which I loved when I was an Art and Textiles student.
I found shopping in charity shops was more my thing than the glossy high street and then James took up a hobby which was to really influence my appearance - Scooters! Lambrettas, Vespas, Ska, Northern Soul. It just awoken all the love and passion for dressing for me and what catches my eye. For feeling confident and great in clothes again. I saw these beautiful girls, dressed in white tights with flicks tickling the edges of their brows, with beehives and with bowling bags. Girls in pinafore dresses, matching 2 piece skirt suits with pussy bow shirts. With blunt hair and in little heels. I wanted to be a part of this.
The further we got into the Scooter scene, the deeper in love I fell. Since going to various events and experiencing a wide array of fashion and the 'lifestyle' that comes with such style, I have never felt more myself. I proudly backcomb my hair into a beehive for work. Wear a thick sheepskin coat and brightly patterned dresses for the weekly shop. I embrace the double chin in turtle neck tops and my 'Michael Jackson' white boots which aren't to everyone's taste. But it's mine.
So really, what I am getting at here is super simple. Just be true to you. If one day you want to dress like a goth and the next you want to be a majestic unicorn, head to toe in pink and glitter, that's cool.
If you want to wear trackies or if you want to wear a beehive and a suede skirt, that's cool too!
The worst thing I ever, ever, ever did was thinking that by changing how I looked would gain the approval of someone else even if it would come at a cost of losing part of who I was/am. Take for instance when I removed my nose piercing - they hired me with it. They knew I had it. I didn't need to take it out. This goes for anything and anyone. If people don't accept you as you are when you first meet, then they aren't someone you need around you. Family should always love you regardless, Friends should be the same, encouraging you to be even weirder and wonderful-er than you ever was before.
I know this sounds pretty cringe and super preachy - but I really felt this needed to be covered. So many girls these days dress like one another - and if that is really the look you want, there is nothing wrong with that. But if you are suppressing what you truly want in fear of others, you are ultimately only hurting yourself. The sooner you are brave and wear that leopard print leotard and neon pink leggings to town, the quicker you can get rid of that anxious squidgy feeling in your tummy from worrying about what people will think. The more you do it, the less you will care and soon the squidgy turns will become bursts of confidence and pride in yourself. Sure you might get stared down by a girl or two. But who are they to you? No one. Will you see them again? Maybe - but maybe not. She is no doubt a narrow minded individual who is like the person who I once was. Boring!
I hope this rings true with some of you and that you can relate - and if you do, I hope that you are now in a happier place and enjoy being your favourite version of you!