I don’t know why…but I am suddenly struck by the art of fashion. I have so many friends, cousins, sisters, and repeated strangers i see walking about the city who inspire me with their love of design, color, texture, and moveability.
I never used to care about clothes. Ask anyone who knew me from the age of 11-18. I could care less. I guess it was mostly immaturity, laziness, fear of becoming “too obsessed” with what I looked like, wanting to live simply, and just not caring.
Somewhere between the beginnings of college, a summer in the mountains, and meeting some pretty incredible women who were both beautiful and classy, inside and out, I started to change my focus and perspective. I realized that clothes were not necessarily a big deal..but they were, in a sense, your daily expression or decoration–for yourself. Slowly, I allowed myself to explore color, shape, layering, funk-ifying, and stepping out of my comfort zone.
I can probably write an entire memoir of my relationship with clothes from the age of 8 on. As with most women, it really all began with the nurturers in our life. Mom, grandmaw, aunt, godmother, and so on. My poor mother tells me nightmare stories of when I was as young as 2. I hated anything that signified my femininity. And, I had a sick obsession with a certain blue cookie monster t-shirt. I ‘ve seen picture of myself in big bird shoes, plaid shorts with polka dot shirts, and nightgowns in broad daylight. Let’s just say- my toddler sense of style was quite unique. Through the years leading up to adolescence, there wasn’t much of a battle because I was just a little girl. But, the teenage years, well, that was hell. Fighting my mother about what I wanted to wear, trying to figure out why it mattered that I had to look presentable, pretty, made up or girlish. I am happy I survived those years, and grateful , even, for my mama’s constant nagging(she really has a pretty cute sense of style ;).
Today, I will admit that I am still a bit immature, lazy, and careless, but I certainly do appreciate fashion and style in a way that I never have before. I have friends who are now establishing themselves across the entire board of the industry. From jewelry to boutiques to bags to scarf dresses, these people who I’ve known forever have made “what you wear” thier career, passion, and expression. I recently stumbled on a fellow high school alum’s latest venture. Her name is Jolie and you can read about her story here at Jolie and Elizabeth.
I love everything about their vision. And this post was surely encouraged by their message. They’ve combined the etymology of their names to establish a covenant with their customers. They talk about their “pretty promise” (jolie-pretty, elizabeth-promise) and their thoughts on how we wear our clothes. From their bio, the girls say, “Staying true to timeless southern style, the dresses of Jolie and Elizabeth surpass forced trends that overlook the purpose of a dress: to adorn or decorate; to render pleasing or attractive. Trends come and go, but a true Southern girl knows good style and good attitude go hand in hand.”
This is so so true and I am quite happy that these creative minds and so many others all over Nola are coming together to make fashion art and hopefully inspire all women, young and old, to know that it is ok to feel pretty and that dressing yourself can simply be your daily artwork.