Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Rant: Fashion Identity Crisis

The truth is: I'm Batman

Recently I have been having what can best be described as a "style identity crisis". I have felt very uncertain and awkward in almost every coordinate I put together; unsure if I am truly expressing myself or some style I am trying to emulate. I would say that I am very susceptible to outside fashion suggestion: if I spend a lot of time looking at Harajuku street style, I want to dress like that; if I watch bad reality TV shows I want to wear tight bandage dresses and chunky bracelets; if I peruse lookbook I'm all about Peter Pan collars and printed leggings.

I find it strange that I am having this struggle with my closet lately. First of all, I own a LOT of clothes: I rent a two bedroom apartment just so I could turn one of the bedrooms into a closet. Most of it is vintage, stuff that I have scooped up at the Good Will outlet... the only thing I ever really splurge on is shoes. My closet represents every style, but a constant for me has definitely always been PINK and BLACK, the two colors I find myself consistently gravitating towards.

But the reason I find it strange is that I am at a point in my life where I am actually super certain about who I am and what I want from life. I'm more secure, self aware, and motivated than I have ever been before - so why this crisis identity with my clothing?

In a brief comment conversation with the effortlessly chic Orchid Grey, I feel like I may have worked a few things out (but it doesn't make it any EASIER for me!)

I possess duality in my personality, which is best explained by my past and upbringing. I was born and raised in a tiny, tiny town in Alaska called Soldotna, which had no more than 6,000 people. I lived at the end of a gravel dirt road, overlooking the swamp with the Kenai river and the mountains in the distance. I spent my childhood fishing, four wheeling, riding horses, respecting nature, and running amok barefoot. On top of that I was homeschooled, thus I thrust myself madly into the world of the whimsical: fantasy books, anime, comic books.

So as I matured those interests remained. My interest in fashion was ignited by Japanese Street Fashion magazines I downloaded on my 26k connection from livejournal, and I emulated that fashion all through highschool: I was either "Fruits" style or Visual Kei, depending on my mood. As I grew, I became interested in arts and culture and city living. My parents moved me to Idaho when I was a teenager, but I still experienced the agricultural world. I was an anomaly in my highly conservative and religious town with my ever changing hair and bizarre style. This was before websites like existed, and I mostly just dressed how I FELT LIKE IT... and in that teenage bliss I didn't really care what people thought about me.

Then I discovered indie music and my love of all things vintage. This resulted in floral dresses, long maxis, floppy hats. I wanted to look like I was walking out of Woodstock every day, but at times I still yearned for my crazy anime style.

Finally, when I was just shy of 21, I made the big move to Seattle - to a real city. The dreary days and the distant attitude of people isolated me, so I started wearing more and more black again. I definitely have an interest in all things "goth", and do not balk at dark lipsticks and delicate lace collars. I would say that this "goth" fashion has been a central theme to my style for my entire life - I remember smearing black lipstick all over my face at 13 in a desperate attempt to emulate Malice Mizer.

But here is the problem: Now all of those styles are jumbled up inside of me. Earthy/"mori" girl, nu-goth, Japanese street style/inspired by anime. I yearn for gentle florals and ripped up black tights simultaneously. I crave studs while wishing for rocking shoes.

And I just have no idea which direction I want to go towards.

I am certainly a fashion chameleon, but running a fashion blog or seeing the same people every day for some reason makes me feel the need to pigeon hole myself into a particular trend or style. For some reason it feels awkward or strange to dress all light and summery and airy one day while showing up rough and tumble punk rock the next.

The other struggle I am constantly facing is this: I am a curvy woman. I used to ABHOR my curves, but as I age I am starting to realize that no matter what I do they are not going away, and I can either whine about it and be miserable forever or learn how to work with it. However, this long journey to accepting my body doesn't mean that I have become careless: I know that some things don't look good at me. For example: my hips are incredibly wide, and if I wear leggings with just a t-shirt, it is exceptionally unflattering. Or the fact that despite my height of 5'10", I have quite short legs and thus wearing ankle length flat boots look ridiculously bad on me. And this PISSES ME OFF. I cannot EXPRESS to you my intense jealousy for lithe, lovely women who can wear whatever they want and look incredible in it. It adds an entirely new layer to my dressing in that I have to dress for wide hips and thick thighs (seriously - I'm built exactly like Nicki Minaj). It's ANNOYING that I can't just wear what I feel like, but that I also have to be thinking "well, will this flatter my stupidly curvacious body?"

Has anyone else ever experienced a fashion identity crisis like this? How on earth do I get over feeling like everything I wear is not me, but only a part of me?


  1. I think...I think I secretly wrote parts of this, some of it word for word, including body type! High school I was a jeans and tee girl, but I went through a similar phase in college where I'd spend a year as a personality--a girly sophomore, boho junior, rock star senior. And now especially, as I too am finally okay with both how I look and where I am in life (career/marriage/etc), I'm trying to figure out how best to dress. I felt too old last week in Old Navy; I don't dare step foot near Charlotte Ruse. Maybe the Limited or New York & Co, but even then I'm not really fancy pants. I'm not sure which way to go; I've always been happy to be a fashion chameleon (my term as well as yours too!), nowadays I'd like something stable in my life, since I AM stable. If that makes any sense.

    1. Yes, exactly!! That's why I'm struggling so much too, I think. Because I know what's going on in my life, there is so little uncertainty, but I don't know how to STOP being a fashion chameleon... but I feel the urge to!

    2. I have a ton Ton TON of clothes, mostly from Anthropologie that I love. It was a process for me from baggy jeans and uber goth stuff, to a more fashionable office appropriate look. And now, NONE of those amazing clothes fit me because I have gained weight *SOB* and my job is totally fine with me wearing jeans and geeky t-shirts. I feel like a total slob and want to wear my cute stuff again.

  2. This is why I LOVE that I found Pinup Girl Clothing and Bettie Page. It is the perfect style for me and I finally feel happy with my wardrobe.

  3. I just decided to not give a crap about what other people thought or expected me to dress up like. I figured that I would find what I wanted to wear that made me feel like me, make sure it worked fashionably for whatever style I found I liked to wear, and relax.

  4. Black double knee Carharrts, a tshirt with something offensive or a band on it and a pair of Adidas is all I've worn for over 20 years and I look damn good! ;) So I can't relate but be glad you're not shaped like a 55 gallon drum. It makes it tough to pull of anything classy. <3

  5. Yes, yes yes yes, THIS. Molly, I feel like I'm CONSTANTLY having a fashion identity crisis and I don't know how to fix it. I go through stages of maybe a month where I want to wear a certain style of clothes, and a few weeks later, I want nothing to do with that style and can only see myself wearing something with a completely different aesthetic. For example, lately I'm really leaning toward the whole studded/goth/leather look for fall, but like 2 weeks ago all I wanted to wear was denim shorts with tights, baggy tank tops, and military jackets. Now that seems super frumpy to me and I want nothing to do with it. I'm sure in a few weeks I'll be like "WHY did I buy all this black shit with studs on?" and it's so frustrating. I've sort of begun to accept it, though, if not enjoy it. I realize that I need to just go with it and not try to label my style or put it into one category. I know it's hard when you're running a style blog and you want to fit into a niche, but I think having a really eclectic, ever-changing style is a good thing! I hate looking through blogs where they have basically a different take on the same outfit every day. So boring. I'm absolutely ADORING your blog so far, because your outfits are always so unique and stand apart from each other, and your posts are so entertaining. I don't think you need to pigeon-hole yourself at all! Just keep on posting what you want to post, and wear whatever makes you happy on a given day. Just go with it. I support you in whatever you want to wear!

    And in terms of being curvy, I hear you on the wide hips/short legs thing. SO ANNOYING. I hate not being able to wear flat ankle boots. :( But hey, we have teeny waists and that's awesome!

    1. We should probably just coordinate so we have opposite styles at the same time, and then just trade clothes ;-)

      But yeah, I do the same thing, which is one of the reasons I'm such a clothes packrat. Because I will eventually go back to a style and be pissed because I got rid of something I figured out how to wear.

    2. Well you're smarter than me! I've gotten rid of so many things and regretted it; I need to learn just to hoard clothes like a crazy person.

  6. I feel like I am in a fashion identity crisis also. In High School I was basically the punk kid, wore stuff from Hot Topic, dyed my hair, and sat in the corner and watched anime on my lunch breaks. But when I graduated and I didn't really associate with my HS friends anymore and moved to college I started to change my style. I was trying to get into modeling and wanted to be more high fashion so I got a few more skirts and some dresses but I still am not satisfied.
    I want to keep my punk spirit alive but looking more professional and fashion forward. I'm just stuck with a bunch of graphic tees and a whole bunch of jeans. I feel like when it comes to accessorizing I'm pretty lost also. I think I own 2 belts? one of them is studded....
    I don't think i have bad fashion sense, but I feel like it could be better.
    I need help T_T

  7. I have definitely gone through phases where I've felt I've lost my fashion "mo-jo" but then something will inspire me and I bounce back. Sometimes lulls are okay, you'll find it again!
    By any chance could I ask you a favour? If you have facebook could you please click the "HELP ME WIN" link below and click like on the style board I've created? I really need help and I would so appreciate you lending me a hand!

    xoxo Bree
    The Urban Umbrella


  8. I remember when you were 14 & you were having a crisis over whether you were going to be a country girl our a punk grrl. Personally, i LIKE the persona of floral one day & goth the next. You do both well, so why limit yourself? It'll keep them guessing, and you have to admit it halves the chances of someone seeing you in the same outfit twice.

  9. Ah! Don't think too much I think! Just dress according to what you feel like wearing it will eventually turn out great! :D

    Please check out:

    Twitter: backtofive's twitter
    You have to visit: Bloggers Against Social Injustice too!

    See you there! :D
    backtofive's twitter

    xoxo backtofive

  10. I am feeling so exactly the same way lately. It's also been rough since I've worked ALL summer at a job where I just wore black pants & a collared shirt. All. Summer. So I didn't get to play too much with my clothes, and I just sorta feel in a fashion rut! Mphm! Sometimes I want to wear an oversized knit sweater & jeans, and others I love the collared belted dresses with cute shoes and dangly earrings. It's frustrating.

    This was super well written - fantastic post!


  11. I did go through phases like this. As you get older, you want to dress something that expresses more of you. But don;t worry too much about it. :) As long as your happy :D Thanks for stopping by my blog anyway..following u now on GFC

  12. I love how you have learned to combine all of your fashion tendencies into amazing outfits. My boyfriend calls my style hippie punk, but I call it rocker chic. It's a mix of super feminine pieces with more edgy pieces. It's usually some combination of studs, fake leather, floral prints, and lace. I have never really cared what people think of my style, but I really love how here in Seattle people dress in so many different styles, and don't judge each other for dressing differently (at least the right people don't).

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