For the longest, I did not invest in my appearance. Don’t get me wrong, I was always presentable; but I tended to blend into the background. Back in the day when I was a competitive junior golfer, I believed a smart, competitive girl athlete should not take an interest in her appearance. It was already difficult to get respect from the guys when you’re one of the only girls playing. I believed I should dress boyishly too. I guess I thought I would look weak otherwise. As I got older I realized that although appearance should not play a role in how people interact with you, it does anyway. I noticed how I was always “one of the guys” and rarely anything else. SMH.
As I outgrew my hand-me-downs, I started wearing jeans that fit me AND were the correct length. From there, I developed a preference for graphic-type tees paired with Chuck Taylors. When I realized I would be heading to professional school, I wanted to improve my look again. This time, I decided to attack this issue like I would with any other scientific problem. Yes, I turned it into an experiment. I started by analyzing my body type. I made a list of assets that I liked AND I would be comfortable highlighting. Then I went to colors that paired well with my skin tone. Finally, I started paying attention to celebrities whose style I liked. Now armed with all of these variables, I was able to find styles of clothes that were recommended for my body and personality profile. The results were awesome. From jeans to dresses and skirts to tops, I slowly started to look like a fun, foxy, classy afrocentric young professional.
Now I watch every fashion documentary Netflix has to offer and subscribe to Vogue. I am continuing to fine-tune my sense of style, which is also an outward reflection of my personality. I have not gotten to the point where I know if a dress is a part of Valentino’s fall line of ’96 or spring of ’02. To be honest, I doubt that I ever will. However, I have come to realize that fashion is a way of self-expression. Sometimes you are spot-on and sometimes there are hard fails, but you are making those triumphs and failures on your own terms. The ball is always in your court.