What fashion means to me

I wasn’t always obsessed with fashion. It’s weird to me to even say that I sort of have a fashion blog now and all my childhood friends are probably incredulous, because up until midway through middle school, I really didn’t care much about clothes and let my mom basically shop for me.

I’ve written about how shy I used to be, but that’s really at the root of how I became interested in fashion. I don’t think there was any dramatic incident that got me interested in style, but because I was so quiet and had such a hard time expressing myself and speaking up when I was younger, somehow I realized that clothes could be a way for me to express myself without having to speak up. I began to develop a clear idea of what I liked and what I didn’t like, and that’s exactly how personal style develops. It wasn’t necessarily that I was wearing wild outfits that made loud statements (although there’s nothing wrong with that!). It was more that fashion helped me find a way to express myself and express my opinions about what I liked and disliked in a way that didn’t require me to be verbal at a stage in my life when I was painfully shy and found it very difficult to speak up.

Fashion for me also helped me gain an incredible amount of confidence and self-esteem. As many pre-teens, I was plagued with a lot of self-esteem issues and self-doubt, which made for some pretty rough middle school years. But once I started to genuinely enjoy picking out my own clothes and exploring my style, I found a great amount of fulfillment. I didn’t dress for anyone else. It wasn’t the compliments or attention that gave me confidence, but it was more the empowerment I felt in doing something for myself that helped me express myself. Some people express themselves through creative outlets like art or music — my creative outlet is fashion.

This is why I think it’s a shame that fashion is often seen as frivolous. I know there are some who judge people like me who love fashion because it’s seen as a purely materialistic, frivolous thing. When I was in college, I headed up a student-run fashion show which donated its proceeds to charity, and I absolutely loved it because it combined my passions for fashion and philanthropy. But I remembered getting strange looks from other students, both other premeds who thought I was being involved in something extremely frivolous and unrelated to medicine, and students interested in pursuing a career in fashion who thought my interests in fashion were too cavalier and that I had no place in the industry.

A big premise of my blog is that I want to break these preconceived notions and stereotypes. To me, fashion is a creative outlet and a great way to express myself, particularly because in medicine there aren’t exactly that many creative outlets (particularly right now during my pre-clinical years when I just read and read and study and study!). I’ve had the most amazing experience discovering so many fellow bloggers and Instagrammers since I’ve started my blog who also have other non-fashion careers but love fashion as a way to express themselves. I genuinely hope that my little blog can somehow help minimize the thought that people should be and look a certain way because of their career/fields. In my opinion, fashion is a great creative outlet that can be an incredible help in personal expression, particularly for a shy person like me, and we shouldn’t de-legitimize it just because of the stereotypes and preconceived notions we have in our culture about what fashion is.

Sandro leather jacket, Zara dress, Sigerson Morrison boots, Rebecca Minkoff earrings

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