Growing up, I was never particularly interested in the fashion scene. My mother and sister would go out shopping while I would stay at home, curled up with a Harry Potter novel, occasionally peering out the window in hopes of spotting my owl. With that being said, I do think that personal style is very important. It’s one significant way of branding yourself, and each stage of your life is just another opportunity to reinvent yourself and your wardrobe.
When I think about personal style, I think of my inspiration. For me, procrastination can often lead to endless hours of Pinterest gazing, and then somewhere between two glasses of wine and one in the morning, I have picked out my perfect wardrobe…a wardrobe that I will most likely never own. Although Pinterest is great for outfit ideas, the person that I look to for most of my fashion inspiration is my sister.
My siblings and I grew up in Georgia, but soon after my sister graduated from high school, she hightailed it to New York City to study at The Fashion Institute of Technology. I often tell my friends that my sister could make a trash bag look fashion forward – she has a monumental relationship with clothing. Although she lives in New York City where the fashion scene is a little bit more inventive, I like looking to her for inspiration. My sister knows what will look good on someone just by seeing it on the rack. I have a love/hate relationship with how she also knows what WON’T work. Whenever we go shopping together, I play the game: “yay” or “nay”. ”What about this dress?”, I ask. “You will look like Miss Honey from Matilda” is her answer. Frustrated, I will still try on the dress and voila, what I see in the dressing room mirror is a pissed off Miss Honey and my sister with an “I told you so” grin.
Growing up in a more conservative environment, I never felt very comfortable testing out different styles. My sister and I went to a school that required uniforms, and even wearing the wrong textured socks would land you a demerit. I am proud of my sister for testing those boundaries. Her sense of style was one step ahead of the rest of us and she did not care what others thought about her wardrobe.
It is tough to be yourself in high school and not feel pressure to conform. We all go through it, and we can still go through it in every stage of life. Because of my sister, I began to test out different styles and change up my wardrobe, slowly, until one day I was confident with this new change and proudly wore my clothing. It was so empowering!
When it comes to fashion inspiration, it all boils down to what makes you feel confident. This requires leaving your comfort zone. It may feel comfortable to dress like everybody else or just throw on a t-shirt, and comfortable can be great. But sometimes pushing yourself to be a little uncomfortable is what leads you to discover new things about yourself and even the world around you. And that’s when extraordinary things happen.
Kristina on the left; Stefanie, her sister on the right