When you are about to turn 30, there is one thing many people will say to you – you stop caring. You will not care what people think, hold onto shallow relationships, worry about petty drama, etc. As it turns out, those people were right. I did not expect that not caring would also play into my style.
In my 20s, I would like to say that I did not care when it came to fashion, but that could not be further from the truth. While I did have my point of view, as much as I hate to admit it, I did spend a lot of time trying to fit in. I had my stand-out looks, but would often make style choices that prevented me from being the outlier. I always wanted to avoid being considered extra or too much while also avoiding being underdressed. This worry put me in a (stressful) box.
Here is when it clicked for me – my surprise 30th birthday brunch. My mom and sister planned it. My husband (boyfriend at the time) told me we were having brunch with his best friend and girlfriend. The best friend is a tee shirt and jeans type of guy, and I did not know his girlfriend well enough to know her style. So I opted for a cute pajama-style button-up, mom jeans, and flats. I did not even bother checking the restaurant out to see the vibe because I assumed it was casual.
My mom calls me the week leading up to brunch and cooly asks what I am up to that weekend. I tell her. She asks what I am wearing, which is a common occurrence for us. She says, “Why don’t you wear some cute heels?”
I explain that is just not the vibe for this brunch.
On the day of brunch, my sister calls me and asks what I am doing that day. After I tell her, she too asks what I am wearing, which is less of a common occurrence but not enough to sound an alarm. She says, “Why don’t you wear those new booties you got?”
I reply, “Those don’t go with the outfit.”
They didn’t, but that is beside the point.
Fast forward to us getting to the restaurant. I instantly regret my outfit choice because it is not casual. We turn the corner, “SURPRISE!!!”
All of my (tall) friends are there, dressed to the nines in heels. I was somehow super grateful and mortified at the same time.
Here is the funniest part about the whole thing, I loved my look when I left the house. Do I maybe wish I threw on some lashes? Yes. Do I maybe wish I had thrown on a slight heel, if only to avoid standing on my tippy toes to take pics with my 5’6 and up friends? Um, yeah. But looking back, I would repeat that outfit. Yes, it would not have been my first choice for a brunch centered around me, but if I had not let insecurity take over, I would have reminded myself that it was a surprise. No one was expecting me to arrive in a ball gown.
Why am I sharing this story? I let other people’s potential thoughts affect my feelings and style choices not once, but twice. First, when I was worried about being Brian’s over-the-top girlfriend. Then I did it again when I ruined a beautiful and thoughtful surprise by complaining about how underdressed I was. In an outfit that I liked at the end of the day!
There was a shift in my outlook after that. I stopped worrying about what people thought, and that was when the real fun began.
- Do not let other people’s styles or potential opinions dictate what you wear.
- Unless there is a dress code, formality is your choice. If you feel like wearing sneakers/flats when everyone else is in heels (or vice versa) the only person this affects is you.
- Remember that your style has its unique point of view. Putting it a box hinders you from sharing it with the world
Since I have stopped trying to be what I think people expect of me, my style has grown by leaps and bounds. I do not care what people think anymore, which is the best fashion gift I have given myself. What is exciting is that there is still room to grow and evolve. I am ready to see where this outlook takes me.