I feel like my wardrobe is going through somewhat of a revolution right now. Whereas this time last year I was sporting a whole host of neutral knits and monochromatic pieces, this autumn winter, my rail is positively overflowing with statement jumpers, textures and new colour combinations.
Basically, this is a plea. Will the real Chloe Plumstead please stand up?
Something has gotten into me. All of a sudden I’m finding myself looking for statement pieces on a loop, rather than bagging one bright red knit like I did last year and then milling around in the tepid pool that is my comfort zone, complacent until Spring comes and I start to panic all over again.
Some of it, I’m sure, has to do with my growing understanding of my own identity. The difference in how I feel about myself as a person - about my core values, my nuggets of intellectual interest, my qualities and flaws - has developed so much in the last year, that maybe I’m truly throwing all of my fucks to the wind and it’s manifesting in my wardrobe.
I have so much respect for people who wear what they want, when they want, and wherever they want - people who break the mould and defy expectations, wearing platform boots to Tesco and a two-piece velvet suit for a casual Wednesday night dinner at Zizzi. I’m a rebel at heart, and seeing non-conformity, pride of personality and freedom of expression all as qualities that I admire so much in others, I’ve tried to push these in myself and ask the question: do I actually like a minimal style, or am I afraid to be seen?
I can’t drive (say hey if you can’t too - we’re dwindling and with every person that gets their licence, I regress one year further back into the womb). Since I can’t drive, I tend to walk most places, and I have done for as long as I’ve needed to get around. This means that I’ve experienced my fair few unsolicited cat calls, uncomfortably long stares and crossings of the road ‘just in case’.
At the back of the mind, I think I was always aware that the brighter the colour I wore, the more attention I would be drawing to myself. Was I in the right frame of mind to flip off any white van beeps today? Could I be bothered to inevitably panic when some creep makes a comment at me as I walk past him in the street, only to think of an amazing comeback 5 minutes later and be fuming at myself for not telling him to fuck off?
There was also this quiet hesitation from having nearly every outfit I ever wore documented online. Okay, a brightly coloured jumper might seem like a good idea now, but in a few months time I might look back on said Insta snap and severely regret ever trying to switch my style up.
Maybe it just wasn’t me. Maybe I was trying too hard. Shit, maybe I wasn’t trying hard enough. How the hell does anybody even know how to dress anyway?
And now, I just don’t really give a fuck.
This last half of the year has been monumental for me coming to terms with me. Of course, you never stop learning, but I feel like this time last year I was very much trying to curate a cool and edgy representation of myself, to the point that I was at odds with what I actually wanted.
But now, as the year begins to draw to a close and I’m as chubby and Realisation Par-less as ever, I’ve found this new golden sphere of confidence within myself that I’m slowly buffing and perfecting, able to enjoy in a way that I can only illustrate as myself standing still whilst the world whizzes on around me. It's as if someone has pressed fast forward but I’ve remained at regular speed, and it’s sick.
I’m still scared of public speaking and I’d rather not call Dominos if I can place my order online, but the confidence to say that, at this moment in time, I feel like I’m really starting to explore myself and know myself, is frankly fucking brilliant.
Of course, normal life still happens and I’m still need to pay off my credit card and I still feel shitty and sad and sometimes hopeless, but I bounce back. And I don’t doubt the fibres of my personality each and every time I feel low. I feel like I’m in that place where I can be an agony aunt. Like I can give good advice because I have a level-head and a better knowledge of myself as a person.
And out of all of this - out of all of the cliché, young 20-something personal journey of discovery - do you know what the most laughably pure result has been? I’ve started wearing bright clothes. I’ve started experimenting with colour combinations and textures and cuts that I never before would have considered. I wear a hat with everything. I overdress for Sunday brunch and underdress for meetings. I wear mascara. I don’t wear mascara. I wear sunglasses and then I let my bags and dark circles do their thang. Did you know that I used to patch them out of all of my photos? Now, I just feel like if somebody is offended by the fact that I have facial features, then they probably won’t value what I think or feel either, so let them be offended right on out of my way.
Life is too short to care what other people think of you. It’s not an easy lesson to live by, especially in a digital age where it’s all to easy to anonymously pass judgement on somebody that you’ve never even met, but in giving less fucks, I’ve been able to divert that energy into spending more time with me. I’m connecting with myself and the people around me on a deeper level, plus I’m wearing clothes that I’m actively excited to put on.
So know this: anytime you see me sporting something bougie, it’s another step in the way of me knowing and accepting myself, and sticking a big middle finger up to anybody that doesn’t like it.
Viva la personal development.