(Me: Bare faced, flat hair, and how I look every other day.)
Recently a friend of mine invited me to a casual girls’ night out event, where she excitedly told everyone there I had a fashion blog. Instantly I shrank back, alarmed that I didn’t have a “cute oufit” on but a very ordinary one at best. My hair and makeup were at its minimal. I had anticipated an evening of relaxation, not an event where I had to network and explain why I was just wearing a sweater and jeans.
My insecurity must have been written across my forehead because on cue, one of the girls gave me a once-over and exclaimed, “You? You have a fashion blog?” She enunciated the words in such a way that no one could mistaken her exact thoughts–you and fashion blog don’t belong together in the same sentence.
“Uh, yeah,” I murmured, staring down at my month-old pedicure and suddenly noticing a chip on my big toe.
“Interesting,” she enunciated again, and turned away, becoming engrossed in looking for her drink.
I felt defensive. Why couldn’t I wear a solid-color sweater with blue jeans and be a fashion blogger too? At what point would I have looked credible? If I had worn a sweater with an owl on it? If I had worn neon jeans? If I had worn oversized red sunglasses indoors? What is the tipping point?
My wonderful photographer friend Brian Lee recently sent me this video of a Ted talk by supermodel Cameron Russell. Watch the first minute and she addresses exactly that—“How we look, though it is superficial and immutable, has a huge impact on our lives,” she says, as she changes from a short, tight dress to a humble wrap skirt and flats. By switching out only a few articles of clothing, she went from a sexy Victoria’s Secret runway model to a pretty but rather ordinary looking girl.
Russell says, “In December I was shooting in the Bahamas, and on the way back I was in a boat with other people staying on the same island. One woman was going on and on about the model she’d seen on the beach who was ‘so gorgeous.’ Of course, that model had been me in hair, makeup and a neon bikini. The whole 30-minute boat ride she didn’t recognize me. I was sitting directly across from her wearing sweatpants, a windbreaker, no makeup and hair up in a bun.”
And suddenly I felt validated. Part of the reason I have a fashion blog is because I’m creatively wired. As an art major, putting an outfit together can be as fun and challenging for me as composing an art piece. But there are days when I just want to put on a sweatshirt and that should be okay too. I don’t feel the need to put on makeup just because I’m going to the supermarket. And should I run into an acquaintance in the milk aisle who says, “Hey, so I hear you have a fashion blog, is it true…?” I will answer assuredly, “Why yes. Yes it is.”
What is your perception of beauty or what a fashion blogger should “look” like?