Personal Style Journey: Hannah
Hi, Flopsy Life readers! My name is Hannah, and while Britt is recovering (Get well soon!) she asked me to pop over and offer some thoughts. She and I first connected through Instagram, and after many fun chats about clothes and getting dressed, and she asked me to share a few thoughts about slow fashion, what it means to me, and my journey toward re-discovering (or maybe truly discovering) myself and my style.
So, a bit about me.
Growing up, I was always known for having a big personality. I’ve been known to be boisterous, fun, and quick to make a joke (or an Arrested Development reference). I feel like that’s inherently who I am, and that has translated into my style, too. I’ve been a thrifter since I’ve been a shopper. My first “style icons” were a group of girls at my high school who would spend weekends scouring the local thrift store for the coolest 80”s statement earrings and brightly-colored blouses. I tried to find my sense of style, but I was about half boys’ baseball Ts and polyester pants, half grandma-chic with a side of too-much-plastic-jewelry.
I was a sight to be seen, for sure. But, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten softer, emotionally and physically. At 30, and now as a mom of two precious boys, I’ve been through as many major life changes as one could hope for, and I found myself at a loss for who I *was* when I was wearing my clothes. I was used to being told “only you could pull that off,” and taking that as a compliment, but I vividly remember looking at my closet after my first son was born and thinking, “Who is the person who wears these clothes? And who am I now, and are those two people the same? Were they ever?” (I also remember literally hulking out of a dress because I couldn’t get the zipper undone and it was now too small and I was so upset. I ripped the dress off of myself. RIP, dress. Literally.)
It was then that I started the trek toward slow fashion, if only because I started trying to the find the symbiosis between who I was and how I was dressing. I knew that going to Target and searching the clearance racks for something, anything really, that fit me, didn’t make me feel good. I knew that it shouldn’t be a struggle to clothe my precious body, the one that has continued to impress me in spite of my abuse of it. I felt like there should be a way to honor my self by honoring the way I dressed myself, but I couldn’t find it. I couldn’t figure it out. So I went back to what I knew; thrifting.
I started buying the biggest clothes I could find so that I could essentially hide myself. I consider this my “cocoon” phase - I wasn’t ready to be seen again by the world, because who would recognize my if I wasn’t wearing something that cinched at the waist? If I wasn’t showing off my assets, the most “desirable” parts of me, what was the point of getting dressed? I felt like a mess. But in that, I started to regain some power. If I de-sexualized myself in a social context, what was I then allowing to surface? If I wore a t-shirt that was 4 sizes too big, sure, to some people I might look weird, but I felt like a blank slate, like I was finally able to relax and be whoever was coming forth. I realized that I’d spent most of my life dressing up as myself - I’d dedicated so much energy (both knowingly and unknowingly) to a version of myself that didn’t feel truly authentic. Sure, often it was fun, and it’s not that I regret dressing “differently” at any point in my life, but who I am now doesn’t need or want that burden.
So I started combing Instagram and Pinterest for people who looked how I wanted to feel. I started finding and building a community of inspiration and accountability for a way of dressing that spoke to not just who I was, but who I wanted to be. The ethics of slow fashion aside, (because that’s a whole other post, right?) I wanted to feel at home in my clothes and proud of what I was wearing. I started to unpack that thought - yes, I wanted to look a certain way, but what was the story behind my clothes? Who made them, and do they live a life that feels and looks beautiful? Am I breathing life into myself when I get dressed, or am I putting undue pressure on myself? Am I dressing in such a way as to be proud of what I’m wearing, or have I purchased something on impulse or out of guilt? Because that never makes me feel good. I became very in-tune with the energy of my clothes - did it cause me anxiety or sadness because of old memories made in the garment? If yes, then it needed a new home. Did I feel guilty for not having lost all of my pregnancy weight and was I trying to squeeze into something from a former self? If yes, it was time to send that item to a new home.
It’s a process; a journey. And I’m giving myself the space and grace to make mistakes and figure it out. But I’ve been surprised by the joy of getting it right. Feeling at home in my clothes, feeling like I’m actually free in the home of my body, allows me to be present for myself and my community in a way I’ve never been able to be. And I can’t wait to see how this journey unfolds and where it takes me.
I would love to hear from you all about your journeys, your struggles, and your triumphs as we figure out what it means to be modern-day consumers. I’m still an avid, albeit much more selective thrifter, and I’m a huge fan of women-owned, small-maker businesses, and trust me, I LOVE to talk about this stuff.You can find me on Instagram @awwdacity, where I’m most often posting cute pictures of my kids and/or reflections on life. Feel free to introduce yourself, and we’ll have a little party. Unlimited juice? This party is gonna be off the hook. (I warned you about those Arrested Development references…)