About a week ago, I stumbled upon this piece that talked about fashion phoenixing, which is essentially having a style rebirth or a style reinvention.
“Burn the old (figuratively) and embrace the new.”
The post talks about how to reinvent your wardrobe and therefore feel different and/or have the world look at you in a different light. And I totally get it. If you look at my personal style over the years, I’m sure it’s changed. My style has certainly evolved, due to many different factors, such as trends, my friends’ styles, and of course trying to be the popular kid everybody wanted to be around (which never happened, by the way). I feel like I was going with a fairly girly and preppy look for a while (I’ll have to find the pics but I definitely had a fifth grade school picture of me in an Avril Lavigne-style hot pink skinny tie with a layered sweater vest from Limited Too). In middle school I incorporated some bohemian vibes into my preppy style, wearing a lot of floral, fringed belts and purses (I swear I carried a purse every single day of middle school), and tank tops (all the rage in eighth grade–getting away with wearing two layered tank tops was a personal victory). In high school…yeah let’s skip that because other than the uniforms, jeans and cute, fitted tees were my go-to. In college I discovered that v-necks were totally my jam–effortless, classic, and blank canvases that could be dressed up or down. I realized when going through my closet that I had thirteen of the exact same white v-neck from Target…plus probably five or six other v-necks. Woops!
In addition to those personal style preferences, though, I took on other changes. I remember reading years ago (certainly when I was in early high school) about a girl who dyed her hair a different color with every big change in her life (a breakup, moving, etc). I really liked that, and so starting in high school, I dyed my hair for years and loved it! I’ve rocked a lot of reddish-brown shades, went blonde for a bit in college (which will probably be my next color after Haiti), then within the past two years or so I was doing brightly-colored underlayers, like blues and greens. I also have changed my hair styles a lot, going from bobs to a pixie after graduating from high school to a curly perm to my long hair now.
But let me get back to the clothing side of this. So I can definitely see how certain events in my life have impacted my style. Call it phoenixing, if you will. When something happens to me (like a breakup), I change my style drastically, trying to tell myself that I’m okay and I’m stronger and I can be edgy and tough. After my last breakup, I started listening to more EDM and I got my first and so far only tattoo. I figured out I want more ear piercings, along with a nose stud and possibly belly button ring. I started incorporating edgy pieces into my wardrobe, partially because I thought my ex would hate it and it was my own form of moving on, of trying to convince the world that I didn’t need him. I still am a huge fan of cutoffs, white v-necks, studs, heels, rings (I feel naked without at least two on at all times), ripped jeans, faux leather, fringe, girly dresses, bright lips, crop tops, etc–it’s a style that I’ve cultivated over the years. My wardrobe is now consisting of things that I don’t need anyone’s approval for. I was and am wearing these things for me, because I could, because I don’t need to try to be cutesy or edgy or defined any certain way for someone, because I don’t need to hide part of myself. With my tattoo, I’d wanted one for a while but didn’t get it while I was dating a guy because he wasn’t a fan. Same with dying my hair (I tried dying my hair “black blue” which really wasn’t all that visibly different from my natural darkish hair anyway, but I felt SO guilty telling him and I could tell he wasn’t exactly thrilled). And I wanted him to be happy, so I put myself on the back burner. No more. Not again.
Let your phoenixing happen, but let it happen because you want it to. Not because you’re hiding or trying to please someone.