It's no secret I'm really into my clothes. My love of fashion could be construed as materialistic or vain... and I suppose in some aspects it is. My closet is bursting with dresses, skirts, blouses, belts, shoes, and accessories. Some would say I have too many clothes. I know my husband does. Ha!
BFF Monique dress by: Heart of Haute, Mirror Brooch: Deer Arrow, Fruit Tart Necklace: Jillicious Charms, Cardigan: Doll Me Up Inc.
But aside from the material aspect I feel like clothing, and they way we choose to wear it, can hit at a deeper level. I personally find immense happiness from curating the perfect (and not-so-perfect) pieces and transforming them into, what I feel, is a walking work of art. Clothing is a creative outlet for me. It's an outward expression of my inward self. I quite literally wear my heart on my sleeve.
I've also have discovered the importance of supporting small business. My purchases don't fund a CEO's fourth sports car.... My purchases fund a families house payment, a woman's financial freedom, or a child's education.... My purchases are ethically made.. My purchases provide jobs for and support higher wages for workers.
Not only that, but my purchases and choice in clothing are inspiring. I don't say this to brag; I'm simply repeating what I've been told many times... and what I've told other inspiring women on numerous occasions. When I go out (or even post a picture), I'm usually greeted with smiles from other women who long to know where I got that skirt or brooch, or shoes. I can see a question in their eyes and a spark of emerging confidence, "I wonder if I could wear something like that?" If they're brave enough to pose that question to me I tell them unequivocally, "YES, OF COURSE YOU CAN!" and throw in a (sincere) compliment good measure. Often times just seeing another woman happily throwing caution to the wind gives them the push they need to wear that gorgeous little lipstick red number that's been sitting in their closet for months, unworn because they've been afraid of how their arms/thighs/stomach/bum/whatever would look in it. Because "If SHE can rock it, why can't I?"
But most important to me has been the impact my mode of dress has made upon my own daughter. Daughters emulate their mothers... that's a fact. My sweet girl has always liked pretty clothing but as she's gotten older she's come to appreciate the impact dressing for oneself has. When she was younger she'd occasionally groan to me, "Ugh mom, are you really going to wear that out in public??" I'd reply with a firm, "Yes! I like it, I'm comfortable, and that's all that matters." Sometimes she's still tad embarrassed when we go out in public and I'm sporting a giant purple petticoat underneath a novelty skirt, but those (perfectly normal) teenage pangs of embarrassment have come less and less as she's gained confidence through her own attire. As of late she'll even go out of her way to tell me how cool she thinks it is that I dress how I want to.
Hydrangea Beverly Dress: Heart of Haute, Petticoat: Pettiskirt Style, Bird Brooch: CAB Fayre, Shoes: Bait Footwear.
She takes time with her appearance and has begun to cultivate her own style. I truly believe that because I'm not afraid to express myself through clothes she is brave enough to dress how she wants to and not succumb to the teenage pressure of dressing like everyone else. She's her own person with her own unique style... but more than that she has become unafraid. Not only is she unafraid within herself she is also unafraid to appreciate, or at very least understand, another's personal choices. For instance if she hears someone mock another person's clothing she's very quick to speak up to defend the mocked person with, "You shouldn't make fun of them." or "It doesn't matter how they look as long as they're happy."
Matching Mother/Daughter Skirts: Holly Dai Boutique, My Top: Heart of Haute, My Shoes: Bait Footwear.
My hubby told me I've had a big something to do with that. And that makes me feel good as a mother.
So as it turns out that clothing isn't strictly a materialist thing. Clothing can be art. It can support people. It can inspire. It can build confidence. It can defeat bullies.... and so much more. What do your clothing choices say about you? What would you like them to say? Just remember that your answer to those questions is strictly up to you. Don't let anyone else define you.
All photos by me
Be sure to check out some of these other amazing small businesses!
Sugar Doll Swim