Fashion and style should be about expression, empowerment, feeling good in what you wear. You like a certain jacket because it makes you feel powerful, sexy, beautiful, whatever adjective you want to use. The pieces of clothes that we are attracted to, and the way we put them together is our style; a reflection of our individuality, and the person we are underneath the layers of fabric.
We often get caught up in labels and designers because it’s what everyone else is wearing. But Iris Apfel, “It Girl”, once said, “When you don’t dress like everyone else you don’t have to think like everyone else.” Iris was never concerned about labels. She valued diversity in styles, textiles, and diversity of thought. It’s not the labels on these clothing pieces that define who we are. Instead, it’s the whole ensemble; a conglomerate of different fabrics, textures, and colors.
Iris increasingly rose in popularity after her documentary Iris debuted. What makes her interesting, and why so many gravitate towards her philosophy on fashion, is that she chooses to dress for her self, not for the eyes of others. She’s not your typical fashion guru; she’s 94 years old, she exudes creativity, her uniform more of an art statement than anything, with her large bug-eye glasses, loads of costume jewelry, and quirky taste in fabrics and textiles. She sees fashion as an art form.
On the same vein, when it comes to personal style, labels that society puts on us do not define us either. Terms like hipster, preppy, goth, etc. do not need to be labels that stereotype us, box us, into a category. Don’t let someone else’s take on your personal style, or even your character, reduce you to a type. We are all complex, complicated people, and oftentimes our style reflects that. Our styles have the tendency to change, depending on our moods, the season, our changes in interest, style icons who influence us.
Don’t let labels define you, personally or physically. Don’t take fashion so seriously. Have fun with it. Try different styles, pair unexpected pieces together. Don’t choose clothing based on their label, choose them because you like them and you’re excited to style them. Walk out on the street with confidence, channeling your inner Iris.