It was never really a question I asked myself when I lived in Toronto.
Hell, clothing was optional, and no one would give you a second look if you felt like looking outrageous.
But all that’s changed since I moved back to Brantford, and I’m not a fan.
I dress for my mood, and always have. My mom loves relaying how when I was small, I would go from an all neon outfit one day, to an outfit with only rhinestones the next.
I got it pretty early on that clothing was an important expression of one’s self, and that’s stayed with me my entire life. It wasn’t about wanting to be noticed or to grab attention. I felt good in the clothing I chose because it represented me the way I felt.
Here’s the problem: if that expression is anything out of the ordinary in our fair city, you’re likely in for a nasty comment or two.
The question for me is not how to deal with these folks (because frankly, who cares), but how to impress upon Netty shoppers that if you like it, you shouldn’t let small mindedness stop you from wearing it.
I’m happy to lead by example, but I realize I’m only one person, and the shift that I envision is not going to come about easily.
So here are some tips to help you rock that new outfit.
- Start noticing how many people are taking a leap already. Yes, there are a lot of jogging pants, and pyjamas bottoms walking around out there, but they are not the majority.
- Make sure the clothes fit. You could easily misinterpret the discomfort of clothes that aren’t fitting properly as being uncomfortable standing out. They aren’t the same thing.
- Start small. Adding splashes of colour or adding bold accessories can open the flood gates.
- Have fun! This is not a life and death thing and anyone who gives you a hard time is taking clothes way too seriously.
- Take the victories that come along. My mom, for instance, is not a dress person. She always looks great, but it just wasn’t something that she had in her wardrobe. She bought a couple dresses from the shop and was amazed at people’s reactions to her. People smiled at her more, she got a ton of compliments and generally felt that she was a breath of fresh air to folks. Because she was.
Wear the clothes you want to for you. You are never going to please everyone, so just go for it.