And then, as Frankie Graddon for The Pool so perfectly highlights in her similar experience, all of that wasn’t okay anymore. The colour pink pigeon-holes little girls, high heels are something that’ll get you sent home from work if you don’t wear them, and dresses and skirts are a symbol of bowing down to the patriarchy. Even using the word girly seemed uncomfortably un-PC. It became unfashionable, unfeminist, and uncool to wear such things. So heels were replaced with trainers, skirts with baggy tailoring, and dresses with masculine-inspired pieces. And these new additions to my wardrobe were great – comfortable, fresh, and fun to experiment with against my slightly saccharine, uber-girly past.
But was it really me? No. Did it ever really feel right? Of course not. In case you hadn’t noticed, I still have a thing (or two, or three) for a super feminine dress, so changing my style as a reaction to the anti-feminine sartorial trend, simply to be seen as ‘cool’ felt plain wrong. It felt like I was adhering and following trends rather than doing what made me happy.
And wait a minute, isn’t that kind of the point of clothes?
Personal style should be about confidence, self-expression, and being who you want to be. If a suit makes you feel powerful then wear it. If a dress makes you feel powerful, then wear it. And if going completely naked makes you feel powerful, then for fuck sake, take off all of your clothes and wear nothing at all!
The best way to stick it to the system isn’t by wearing something that doesn’t conform to a gender stereotype, but by wearing something that makes you feel like the best possible version of yourself, and the sooner we all realise and adhere to that, the better this place will be.
Photography by Rebecca Spencer