MEESH, SHE / HER
Upon discussion I realized that I transform my style to fit a mold. A mold of what a good designer needs to dress like, to be polished but casual, feminine but not too much, to look “clean” like my designs. Styling myself involves knowing exactly what kind of situation I will be going into and weighing the outcomes. This means that I overthink every scenario about an incoming situation. Will I sweat too much, will I be sitting down, will I be going up and/or down stairs, will I need to be able to run a short distance at the drop of a hat? These questions are just a few of the ones that go through my mind as I prepare for the day.
Look 1 was all about showing the idea of dressing to look like a “designer.” This look is very “clean” in terms of lines, cut, and fit. Whenever I am dressing to look like a more polished designer, I think of perfectly pleated trousers with a light blazer, turtleneck, chunky oxfords and a leather bag. I think of head to toe black and the perfect mule heels. I think of pin stripes with jeans that have frayed edges with chunky sneakers that are probably Balenciaga. For someone like myself I tailor those elements together (in a sustainable, secondhand and ethically made way) to create an easy everyday look with minimal effort to throw on as I’m running out the door before class.
This look is one that kept me from looking too sweaty in class as I panicked about every assignment. This outfit got me through the summer semester where I took 4 studios, online English, worked part-time, and did some freelance photography here and there. This outfit gives me the confidence to take myself more seriously as a designer because I feel like I now dress the part as a young professional. If I didn’t dress like this, I worry that I wouldn’t be taken as seriously, my designs won’t get the chance to speak for themselves, and I will become inferior in comparison to my cohort. I know that might seem kind of extreme but it is how it feels when you have chosen to position yourself as a creative and to be constantly out under a microscope to look a certain way to be that artsy person everyone perceives you as. What if I just showed up in sweatpants one day? What would happen then?
Listen, this look to me was about having fun and feeling hot. I’m not gonna lie. This is one of my favorite outfits because I feel so powerful from head to toe. I am channeling Patti Smith, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Nicks, Ann Wilson, Pat Benetar, all into one badass outfit. I love wearing this look when I go out for special occasions (I change the shoe depending on weather and environment, these shoes have a lot of razzle dazzle).
This look I didn’t feel like I needed to put a lot of work into because it makes me feels most like myself with minimal effort, just some concealer, lip balm, straightened my hair, and threw this on. I am comfortable, I am me, and I feel free. When I wear this I don’t care who glances my way because I know they just wish they had a look as great as this one. Period.
When I was initially asked to be a part of this project I was surprised. I thought I wouldn’t have anything to contribute because I have yet to experience the extremes of being dress coded in the workplace. This is in part due to my natural style but also because I am in a field that, over the last couple decades has transformed immensely into an environment that thrives off of individuality. So much so that sometimes you feel like you have to have something that makes you stick out. It has become such a prevalent part of being in the creative world that I feel like I can’t just let my work speak for itself, that I need to dress in a “creative” way, or very minimal and hyper polished.
This project, and being apart of it, has led to a little more self reflection into what I subconsciously have to adjust about myself everyday. If I have to dress a certain way in case I end up in a friend’s social media post or if I somehow meet someone while I am out that could turn into a future client. My process has become rather refined over the last year or so. This is simply because I move every 4/4.5 months. I live out of one suitcase and a backpack so my closet and options are pretty contained. This is a blessing and a curse. My closet is now centered around pieces that I feel reflect who I am right now, as a young designer. However, because I move so much and have been working in different environments, I have picked up new pieces along the way to reflect my new setting and the new culture I am being immersed in.