[Written By: Annegret Maja Fiedler]
[Illustration: Lara Delmage]
It is 8:00 am. I am hunched in front of my mirror, concealing acne scars and the bags under my eyes. I then fill in my brows, apply blush on the apples of my cheeks, and swipe mascara on to my lashes. I dab some highlighter under the brow bone and inner corners of my eyes, and instantly look more awake. This routine takes less than 10 minutes of my morning and allows me to feel put together for a day of lectures, labs, and then work in the afternoon.
“You don’t need makeup to feel good” – I do not care, because I feel good.
It’s a regular weekday; I am wearing one of my retro blouses, decorated with flags from all over the world, a 90s hand-me-down from my mother. My denim jacket, decorated with enamel pins, also belonged to my mother and is over a decade old. My high-waisted black jeans are the only jeans I actually own, because they are comfortable to wear. I go between this and my high-waisted black button-up denim skirt. My shoes are 1461 cherry red Doc Martens, which have saved me from all kinds of peril in the mosh pit and clubs. This is a typical everyday outfit for me, it flatters my boyish figure, and my flag-print blouse always gets compliments, whether they are from classmates or drunk strangers on Sauchiehall Street.
I present myself the way I want to. I am defeating the years I have spent loathing the way I looked. I used to lack self-esteem, mainly due to bullying. At 21 years of age, I can safely say I am empowered by my own appearance. I have stopped caring about what other people think of how I look. I would have never gotten my septum pierced if I cared about people finding it ugly. The day I decided to get it done, I thought, “fuck what everyone says, I’m going to be a rebel!”. I know, this is very cliché ‘young adult’ behaviour. That doesn’t matter to me.
I have worked on my body confidence, and feel empowered from “within”. However, I still feel proud when I am told I have a distinct style, even if I usually just look like a stereotypical ‘West End Wanker’. I have never been heavily into fashion, but after abandoning ill-fitting clothes and baggy hoodies, I have discovered I feel comfortable in items which are often grungey, androgynous, and thrifted. I love heavier make-up on nights out, sometimes covering myself in glitter before diving into the dancefloor. I also don’t shy away from wearing a BDSM inspired choker, lacy bralette under some mesh, shorts, fishnets, and platform boots. I dare you to come at me with a cat-call – you will only make yourself look foolish. As long as I feel like I would compliment myself if I were someone else, I will wear it.
Ralph Lauren once said, “fashion is about something that comes from within you”, and the way I express myself through fashion reflects on what I feel is my ‘true self’. I am avoiding becoming philosophical, because there are certainly aspects of vanity and socialisation in the way I dress. I also acknowledge that I am privileged to be able to dress in a way that makes me feel confident, seeing as many are unable to dress how they would like to due to financial and oppressive political circumstances.
The point of this article is to make you think about the way you dress – does it make you feel good? I recommend donating or selling anything you do not enjoy wearing. Allow yourself to be inspired through Instagram. Experiment with looks you admire but have been too shy to try out. If you are content with your style, don’t let anyone else make you feel otherwise. Try to be less judgemental about what others wear and don’t be afraid to tell someone you enjoy what they’re wearing!