I learned from a young age that I will always need to try things on. Because my body type (and most people’s for that matter) isn’t what fashion designers design for and therefore will never, ever look like it does on the hanger, putting the clothes on before buying them is the best way to avoid shoppers remorse, or even worse, a piece of expensive clothing sitting in my closet taunting me. Frustrating as it is to schlep in and out of dressing rooms, it’s hard to really get a sense of which trends actually work for my body and which are just not made for me.
A dressing room can easily become a trial by fire, where my insecurities are the brutal judge and unrelenting jury. It’s hard to see pieces of clothing as just pieces of clothing when most of the time, if you have a non-model body like I and most other women do, will not fit correctly without tailoring and/or going up and down a different size, and it’s easy to default into it being an issue with your body, and not the clothes.
My body is athletic from over a decade’s worth of 3-season sports. But now, as a 25 year-old with a reconstructed ACL and a full-time job, working out is no longer a priority in my life. My stomach is softer than I’m used to, my arms and thighs jiggle when I walk, and it’s taken a little while to get back into being okay with my body. But the biggest thing was getting into the role of being a fashion and beauty editor. I wanted to be trendy, and chic, and look like I knew what I was talking about. And that required keeping up with what’s going on in fashion. But I had made all of these fashion rules against 99% of the trends I was hawking on the site.
Trends have always been hard for me. They are impossible to avoid, which is one of the main reasons I end up hating them right out of the gate. Skinny jeans were the worst invention in 8th grade, when I woefully gave up my heavily-faded and ripped Hollister bootcut denim, and now they are God’s gift to my 5’1” body. High-waisted flares were silly and costume-y immediately when I saw that ‘70s style was back, but man does my ass look awesome in my $30 H&M jeans that have me stomping like a runway model. I have detested culottes for as long as they’ve been on the must-have list because I knew that on my body, one of short stature and a thick, athletic build, they would look like I shrunk my trousers in the wash and tried to continue to wear them. And yet, I just bought a pair and I wore them yesterday with a flurry of awesomeness.
Fashion rules are your own security blanket. It’s incredibly easy to generalize about fashion trends and I am so guilty of it. What you don’t think about immediately is that once a trend starts to gain traction, there will be so many places copying it. If you want to try it out, you can actually find something that works for you. And if you don’t, don’t sweat it, because next season there will be something else to try. My culottes are from Zara and they’re are longer than others I’ve seen, with a large cuff that hit about 2 or 3 inches above my ankle. When I pictured them before buying these, I picture glorified Bermuda shorts, which never look good on me. I still think that a lot of times they look ridiculous. But when I found a pair that worked for me, it just clicked.
My biggest piece of advice to people that want to try out the trendy clothes that you see in fashion blogs and even here on The Gloss: Break the habit of saying “No” to everything. Shutting down a trend immediately takes the fun out of fashion and trust me, it’ll wear you down. It takes much less effort to grab something and try it on than it does to continuously say “But maybe?” every time you see something you had previously rebuffed. I poke fun at all the clothes I try on that don’t work because that’s what fashion is for, to subjectively decide what works and doesn’t for your own self. There are so many pieces of clothing that you may have rules against, but make sure those rules actually make sense and aren’t an extension of your own insecurities. And seriously, just try on the damn thing.