Don't Be A Fashion Victim
There’s a long history of women suffering for fashion. From the 10th century through 1919 Chinese women had their feet bound. In Victorian Britain, arsenic was used to dye fabric a bright green. The late 19th century saw the rise of the corset, which I, unfortunately, see way too much these days. Even though they’re now calling it a waist-trainer it’ll still damage your hips and spine.
For most of my life, I believed in suffering for fashion. From the time I was a teen up until 4 years ago I always always always wore thong underwear. I just could not have a panty line. OH, THE HORROR OF PANTY LINES. Now looking back I can’t remember why the hell I thought panty lines were a big deal. Also, thong underwear is the worst. Can we all just agree that having a string of fabric riding up your butt all day is uncomfortable?
I wore the highest heels I could find. I loved the way they made my legs look. I mean sure my feet wanted to fall off three hours later, and it really put a lot of pressure on my back, and my bunions got worse which put a strain on my knees…. but those legs tho.
Why did I stop doing all these things? Was it my strong feminist convictions? Was it because I went to the motherland and had some deep spiritual awakening? No. I stopped because had no other choice. One normal afternoon I was going about my day when BAM. I sneezed and herniated my back. Yes, I sneezed. The sneeze created enough pressure to rupture my disk and create a 10 mm herniation. I’ll save you the painful and boring details. But that injury and subsequent surgery forced me to say no to things that do not make my body feel good.
I learned to say no to toxic people. I learned to say no to my perfectionism. Most importantly (at least for this blog), I learned to say no to clothes and styles which hurt my body. This processes royally sucked. I loved my heels. I loved my lack of panty lines. But my back didn’t care. The only way my back improved was when I nurtured it. So kicking and screaming I ever so slowly ditched the things that hurt and replaced them with self-care.
Self-care is a daily practice for me. It’s boring and unsexy, but I know that if I don’t do it I will pay the price. Every day when I select an outfit, I have to check in with my body and see what it needs. And then I have to honor that need. The honoring part is the hardest because I want to follow any fun style that catches my fancy. But the truth is, I can’t. Some days my cramps are killing me, and I know that if I wear that bodycon dress I'll be sucking in my stomach all day and this will only intensify the pain. If I’m going to be walking around all day I have to choose the sensible sneakers even though my sandals will look waaaaaay cuter with my outfit.
Instead of listening to some style report, we should listen to ourselves.
This week I’ve been fighting pain on multiple fronts. My back went out on me and I developed a wicked cold. I had multiple events and meetings during the week but canceled them all. My body needed rest and I had to give it that. So instead I wore my trusty nightgown by Luvahuva. The soft blue color, gentle lace detail, and organic cotton made my body happy. Wrapping my body in comfort was exactly what the doctor ordered (just kidding my doctor couldn’t care less what I wore). I watched good movies surrounded by tissues and my cats. It was glorious.
By the time Friday rolled around I felt well enough to catch a few shows at LA Fashion Week. I'd planned on pairing this super cute vintage silk jumpsuit by Kristinit with an equally adorable pair of glitter platform heels and a pink faux fur cropped jacket. I would be one giant glittery confection of girliness. I couldn't wait! When I checked in with my body though, I realized if I wore those heels I would pay dearly for it. There's no way my back could handle it. I was angry with my stupid back. Why couldn't I just feel fine?! I didn't want to take care of my back, I wanted to wear my super cute outfit! But I just couldn't.
With only an hour before the show, I had to come up with a whole new gameplan. I did a 180 and added some edge with motorcycle boots and a vegan leather jacket. You know what? I liked my new outfit even better than my original one. My annoyance became my joy as I realized that by honoring my body I was forced to be more creative with my style.
In trying to force ourselves to wear the latest trend, we silence our bodies needs and in turn our creativity. You don't need a stylist, you just need to listen to your body! It's the only one you've got and it's screaming to be heard. By listening to that inner voice you'll stretch your fashion horizons and develop a style that totally unique. That's really what style should be.
As we go into the cooler months, take some time to think about what your body needs from your style. Is it working for you? Do you actually like what you’re wearing or do you feel like you don’t have a choice? Whatever you want, whatever makes you feel good inside and out that's what you should be wearing. Even if it is thong underwear and heels.
What makes your body feel good?
Boots: Bhava Studios
Photos: Anais Ganouna