My copycat fashion confession earlier this week brings to mind a funny story. I was maybe 15 years old on a trip to the “Big D” with a girlfriend and her mother. We were hitting the big shopping hot spot: the Dallas Galleria, naturally. I was a small town girl (Ruston, Louisiana to be exact) in awe of the big city trappings when suddenly I spotted “him.” This fellow’s outfit was dreadful, comical even, but purposefully so. His dress dared you to say something, assuming you weren’t rendered speechless by the myriad of patterns and bright colors he had thrown together.
Needless to say, I could not take my eyes off this intriguing guy or his outfit. I wasn’t offended by his appearance, I was fascinated by it. He may have been in his early 20s. As my eyes ran up and down his body taking in every detail of his ensemble, he caught me staring, cocked his head sassily in my direction and said, “Oh, look at yourself!” If I had been quick with my response (which is never the case), I would have told him quite frankly that was my problem. I HAD looked at myself and I didn’t like it. I wanted to be more like him, maybe not dress like him, but I wanted a style like he had a style. I wanted to take risks, and put together wild colors and patterns and dare the world to say something about it!
The details of his outfit are a distant memory, but the experience stayed with me. One of the things I love about fashion is the ability to take it and put your stamp on it as that young man did. In my opinion, it is almost impossible to look ‘cookie cutter’ because each person puts themselves together in a unique way. Put 10 women in a room wearing the same black dress, and none of them will look the same because of the way each pulls the look together with accessories, hair and makeup. The way you adorn yourself is specific to you and your personality, unlike anyone else.
So the next time you catch me staring, please don’t take offense. I am merely learning from you. To me you are walking art. Some of you are Degas, others are Picassos, and so on. You inspire me to go further and try more within my personal style. And I thank you.
What do you suppose became of the Galleria guy? I imagine he is still pushing the fashion envelope. I hope he would be proud to know I looked at myself and made quite a few changes for the better! Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.