KAT, SHE / HER
Empowerment comes to me when I see someone else or I defying known “rules and laws” in personal expression. I can’t tell you how great I feel when I am wearing something quirky and receive positive feedback for it. That kind of responsiveness shows me there are people out there that have open minds and appreciate and respect the unexpected.
While I would not consider myself a predominately masculine woman, by my own definition I dress more androgynous than feminine. With that, my first look was a representation of the femininity of style and the expectations I feel that my father has deep down. While I know that my dad is very understanding and open to change and experimentation, I know he prefers the traditional, non-altered female look.
To emulate this feeling and the opposition to my usual dress, I wore a short, colorful dress that has a very flattering silhouette. In addition, I wore my hair neutral blonde and switched it from a ponytail to a bun. Because my hair is such a staple for my portrayal of self, I wore it up to show that I used to hold back my true style. I felt uncomfortable embracing who I was as well as elements of my culture.
Finally, I didn’t wear any makeup because again, I was attempting to be the most mundane, pure form of myself that I know my dad truly loves the most.
My thought process behind my styling for the second look stemmed from my desire to create a paralleled look to the first but in my true fashion. I decided to keep the shorter skirt silhouette but instead wore a short, black, pleated, Adidas tennis skirt paired with a mesh long sleeved black mock neck and a worn Rolling Stones t-shirt (a staple piece). You can see the wear in the neckline and in the hem of the skirt where patterns of holes have formed. My accessories were the most important aspect of my styling. I wore Dr. Martens that reference the lyrics to one of my favorite songs, “unorthodox paradox in a pair of docs.”—“All I Need” by Noname. In addition, I wore my retainer earrings that I constructed from an old pair of mine, strung through paper clips. I styled my hair down, naturally with my classic half blonde half black color. I kept my makeup minimal, wearing only a few dots of eyeliner around the eyes, a playful look that I enjoy experimenting with. Overall, I wanted to incapsulate the first look but in my true, neutral and more androgynous style.
It has given me the opportunity to connect feelings of comfort and discomfort with the way I dress. After putting myself in an outfit that is not traditionally something I would find myself wearing, I found it hard to express myself and be casual in front of the camera. It never occurred to me that I could feel such an intense feeling of angst in something that is not truly me.
I feel empowered when I can apply a radical element, taking a risk to say “fuck you” to the individuals that question whether or not I will look good or stand out too much.
Styling is extremely important to my identity and self-expression because it is the easiest way to express who I am as a person without having to say a word. Throughout this experience, I learned that my style changes and that it is completely okay. As I change, mature and evolve as a person so will my physical means of expression. But I learned that despite how my style changes it will always be my purest form of expression and with that, I should never lose confidence in how I choose to portray myself, despite what others may say in response.