My Style Journey…

I think the best way to describe my style is to explain how my style developed. I believe style and fashion is a form of personal expression, so I would say my style has been a journey, just like my development as a person has been.

Firstly, as a teenager, a time where personal style tends to most especially develop, I really didn’t have much of a personal style. I followed trends, wore whatever was popular, with a few personal likes thrown in. For example, I remember in the summer of 1998, khaki pants from the GAP were popular where I was, so I had a pair and wore them often. Nevermind that I felt awkward in those khakis because I felt it made me look heavier; I just wanted to keep critical classmates at bay.

I do remember during my junior and senior year two shirts from Mandee that could be best described as boho-like. I loved those shirts, but tried my best not to wear them too much or else those critical classmates would not be kept at bay.

You see, I didn’t have a lot of self-esteem in high school. In fact, I had zero self-esteem. I was bullied a lot, and blamed myself for it, thus leading to a self-loathing mentality. But the clothes I wore did not reflect that. Instead, I relied on clothes to make me feel better about myself. The prettier the shirt, for example, the better I would feel.

Yet, this didn’t always work. It wasn’t like if I wore a lovely shirt, I would like myself. If anything, the pretty clothes were like a costume, pretending to be something I wasn’t. It was like a role I was trying to assume, and I would do this for many years – wearing clothes to make me feel better about myself.

Yes, I would insert a few outfits that I personally liked, no matter the trends or what people said. Starting in high school, I loooooved skirts and dresses. I felt feminine that way and tried to wear them often. Too bad kids at school would mock me, saying I looked like a teacher (OK, I did), and that made me afraid to wear the clothes I wanted. Basically, I was too concerned with others thought about me, so I never really developed myself as a person. Instead of getting to know myself and explore myself, I was consumed with what people thought of me (or what I thought they thought of me) for many years – and I mean, many.

You might recall an earlier post where I explored my interest in goth sub-culture. It is true in junior high and high school, I admired some goth style, particularly the witchy and the Victorian-like styles. But I didn’t have to guts to explore that side of me for a number of reasons. Among them, fear of being bullied and too self-loathing to truly express who I was.

So, for my teens, 20s, and early 30s, I wore clothes that I felt I should wear, not what I wanted. Yes, I wore a lot of skirts and dresses. But I wore what was trendy, or I would wear something to make me feel pretty, to mask the ugliness I felt inside. Again, I felt the clothes I wore were making up for what I did not have or feel.

You could say, since style is personal and a reflection of one’s self, my style during this period reflected me running away from myself and trying to be something I wasn’t.

Things started to change when I was 31 and moved from Staten Island to Brooklyn. I was on my own for the first time, and free to get to know myself and develop a sense of self. I didn’t expect that to happen, but once it began, it was exciting. And a little scary at the same time. A new world had opened up, and a new me was coming to light. At this time, I remember wearing pastel sweaters with sequins on them, sparkly tops, and gold glittery flats. As in, outfits to make me feel pretty since I felt ugly inside.

But as I got to know myself, and became kinder to myself, I began to eschew these items. I started to go with plainer, simpler clothes, and to my thrill, I did not feel ashamed. I didn’t care anymore what people thought, and it was liberating. I also began to explore the boho-chic look, though not all of it would appeal to me. Some did, like peasant tops and Roman coin jewelry. But I wasn’t fully boho.

Eventually, I began to feel more comfortable in darker clothes, particularly black. But I was still hesitant. I was afraid of being teased for wearing too much black. I wasn’t ready to let that side of me out.

Then came a dark period in my life, so to speak. I was at this job from hell, that caused me to develop serious mental health issues. I began to embrace darker colors, and soon began to explore the goth subculture again. I became honest with myself that I should’ve been a goth as a teen, and felt like I missed out on a major development period in both style and as a person. After all, I had spent years and years trying to be something I wasn’t and not being honest with myself. So, where would I be now if I had done that whole goth phase when I was younger?

At the same time, the major mental health problems I went through left me with some shame and a sense of darkness in me. I felt like I had gone through some sort of an abyss in me, and it took a while for me to get over it. Basically, I was haunted by my mental breakdown, and it took a while for me to love myself again and not feel ashamed about what I experienced (Someday I’ll talk more about my mental health journey, but not right now).

But still, I could not see myself wear clothes that were not dark. It felt like I was slowly, very slowly, stepping into my own skin whenever I would buy clothes that were dark red, dark blue, gray or even black. I still felt uneasy, mainly because I felt I was far too old to be developing this side of myself. But then again, I believe in the saying, to thine self be true. And my truth was reflected in dark clothing.

Over this past summer, I re-embraced my penchant for dark clothes, most especially black. I could not ignore that I felt like I was truly in my skin whenever I wore black. It just felt – and feels – natural. It is who I am.

True, I do get self-conscious still. Even though I am embracing an all-black look more and more, I still tend to wear other colors – red, purple, gray, dark blue and even ivory. I choose to wear ivory sometimes because I believe in healing, and ivory/off-white/ecru/whatever reflects that belief. But I wear other colors because sometimes I like the clothing item I see, or I feel like I should “spice up” my wardrobe by wearing more than just black all the time. I don’t know if it is because I am worried what others say or think, but I suspect this is common among those who wear black all the time.  Like, perhaps we admit we could use a different color now and then, or there’s more to us besides black. Hmmm, that sounds like a blog post topic down the road!

Anyway, I am feeling more comfortable in my skin these days. If dark colors are it, then so be it. To hell with the opinion of others. I am more at ease with my style more so than I ever was, mainly because I have more inner peace and self-liking more than ever. And my clothing choices are a reflection of that.

And who knows where my style journey would take me? Will I be in black at age 50? Who knows?

Just who knows?

 

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Why I’ll Always Wear Black

Hi there,

Yes, I went on a hiatus after life got in the way,It's me again! and I went into a bit of a funk that led me to doubt whether or not I should do this blog or my Instagram account. But things changed the other day when I went shopping, and it inspired me to start The Dark Pearl Blog all over again.

See, the reason why I call this The Dark Pearl Blog is because of my penchant for wearing dark colors, particularly black. I started dressing this way a few years ago during a dark period in my life. But in recent months, I began to feel like something lifted from me, and a light appeared at the end of the tunnel. My confidence came back and I had better self-esteem. So it made me wonder whether or not I still should wear dark clothes.

However, when I stopped by H&M earlier this week, that all changed. I picked out a few items, one a white top with black floral designs, a simple dusty pink top and a shift dress that was white with blue floral all over it (I adore flowers). At that moment, buying that dress was a step towards lighter clothes, thus a lighter view on myself and life.

But when I came home and tried on that dress, I knew instantly I made a mistake buying it. In no way did it reflect me. It wasn’t me at all. I felt awkward and uncomfortable in it, like I was trying to be somebody I wasn’t. Luckily, I saved the receipt and will return the dress soon.

That made me question what colors should wear and why. However, maybe it is not worth overthinking. Dark clothes, particularly black, suit me. They fit me. Yes, I did buy that dusty pink top, and you see me in a bright red top in the photo for this blog post. Certain colors suit me, especially when mixed with black. That dress had no darkness to it, so it didn’t go with me.

There’s something dangerous yet mysterious about black clothes. There’s something beautiful yet intimidating about black clothes. There’s something strong yet depressing about black clothes. I love that. That is what I like about black clothes, and even gray, purple and other dark colors.

Colors mean something to me, so I can’t wear just random colors like some people do. It appears I will always be drawn to black, no matter what. It feels so natural on my skin. It just suits me.

No, I am not trying to get in touch with my inner goth like I used to. Perhaps I am, to some degree. All I know is black is my color. And that is how it will stay.