Nothing Short of Chic: Fashion Matters: The Necessity Of Personal Expression Through Style

11.10.16

Fashion Matters: The Necessity Of Personal Expression Through Style


Personal style is important and necessary for self-confidence and self-discovery, as well as, of course, self-expression. | Nothing Short Of Chic
 
 LOCATION: SUNSHINE COAST/VANCOUVER, BC
   
 
Fashion is often written off as "frivolous" or "unnecessary," but it truly is essential to personal expression.

For many people, personal style is a way of expression and an outlet for creativity that they can’t find elsewhere. My sister used to wear four layers of clothing and change outfits at least four times per day – and out-of-the-box layering is now one of her signature “looks”. A good friend of mine wears Robert Smith-inspired makeup and studded flannel almost daily. My mother has a penchant for stripes and includes some form of the pattern in almost every outfit, most often in the form of socks, either peeking out from a pair of slitted flared jeans, or topping off a cool pair of Fluevog boots. As for me? My own personal style is such a vital component of my personality that without it, I feel as though I’m missing a crucial part of myself.

Personal style is important and necessary for self-confidence and self-discovery, as well as, of course, self-expression. | Nothing Short Of Chic

I am very aware that many people consider this statement to be overdramatic; these same people also say that fashion is an unnecessary, frivolous industry. Point taken: certainly, the production of clothing is not nearly as important as, say, carpentry, or sanitation, or medicine. However, just like architecture, fashion takes something necessary (in this case the basic need to be clothed) and transforms it into an art form. And more than that, the right clothing can allow a person the freedom to express who they are without speaking a word – which is more important than many people realize.

Personal style is important and necessary for self-confidence and self-discovery, as well as, of course, self-expression. | Nothing Short Of Chic

In fact, I didn’t even realize its importance to me, personally, until after I actually started Nothing Short Of Chic. When I first created this blog, it was called “The Fashioniki” and was intended to be a trendy, teen-focused personal style site largely influenced by Teen Vogue and (forgive me) Seventeen. My favourite shops were Forever 21 and H&M – and my personal style was essentially what everyone else around me was wearing. At one point in a European trip (three months away from home and bored out of my mind with my suitcaseful of clothing), I tried on a pencil skirt that I had bought second-hand but never worn. I ended up pairing it with a graphic cat tee, but I had a real paradigm shift at that moment. I realized that this – the big-haired, thick-eyebrowed, cobalt oxford-wearing girl I saw in the blog photos from that day – was the person I wanted to be. When I got home, almost every item of clothing I owned went out the window (actually, back to the thrift store) and I went overboard with tailored trousers, blazers, and button-downs. This was still not me. It took me over a year of constant effort to find my true personal style – and, once I did, to allow it to fluctuate. And once I found it, my sense of self was much more clear and my self-confidence skyrocketed.

Personal style is important and necessary for self-confidence and self-discovery, as well as, of course, self-expression. | Nothing Short Of Chic

A few weeks ago, I was on my way to Seattle – a five-hour trip, both by car and by ferry. I ended up wearing this outfit: jeans, ankle boots, a lace top, a faux-fur coat, and a cap. While the coat, boots, and top are all 100% my style, I felt really uncomfortable and out-of-place all day long. Although I was pretty sure the outfit “worked,” and it definitely was an ensemble I might have put someone else in, I didn’t feel stylish or confident at all. It’s amazing what a difference the right clothing can make – and what a negative impact garments that don’t reflect the personality of the wearer can have. This experience really made me think about why personal style matters – the spark for this article and the discussion that will hopefully follow.

Personal style is important and necessary for self-confidence and self-discovery, as well as, of course, self-expression. | Nothing Short Of Chic

My mother (among many, many others) has a similar story. A long time ago, jeans and button downs were her go-to. When I was quite young, she decided to do a wardrobe overhaul, in response to this feeling of misplacement, that she wasn’t being true to herself, as well as not being viewed by others the way she wanted to. She highlighted her hair to create subtle stripes, and with the help of my father (who also has great taste), built up her closet from scratch with the help of thrift stores and patience. Now, her style rests upon “staples” like cool motorcycle jackets, funky leather boots, wrist warmers, embroidered jeans, studded anything, and lace tank tops (as well as, of course, striped socks). She’s the most confident, powerful woman I know and has such a strong vision of who she is and who she wants to be. And she’s not keeping the person she really is bottled up inside, underneath generic clothing that inspires no creativity or passion in her.

Personal style is important and necessary for self-confidence and self-discovery, as well as, of course, self-expression. | Nothing Short Of Chic

Equally as important as the personality component of fashion is the creative outlet it provides. I mentioned this earlier but I want to elaborate. For so many people, trapped in jobs they don’t care about or schools they hate or other constructs of society that they feel oppressed by, being able to channel their imaginative energy into the creation of an outfit can be really essential.

Personal style is important and necessary for self-confidence and self-discovery, as well as, of course, self-expression. | Nothing Short Of Chic
Photo credit: DJ Cleland-Hura

Whenever someone shares their story about how fashion helped them find themselves or enrich their life or become the person they want to be, I’m so inspired and passionate. I would love to hear your stories, if you would like to share. A parting word: we, as humans, need to connect and communicate and express, so the nonverbal medium of personal style is necessary and powerful. Thank you for reading.

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