I’ve always find peace and connection with my self whenever I dress up. The freedom to choose what I want to wear and what kind of clothes I’d don the next time I go out is like a present to the heart and soul. I realized that the kind of thing I was practicing has always been my unconscious way of self-expression and creativity. All along, despite not knowing exactly what it was, I had a deep sense and need to express wordlessly. It was through Fashion that I gained confidence and a grip to patience and open-mindedness.

Back in the days of both high school and (and a whole lot more in) college that I was a hard-headed student who had occasional riffs with security guards due to dress codes. I found myself suffocated with wearing uniforms and looking like everyone else that I needed to have something different on me. I’d go with accessorizing or I’d go dyeing my hair or I’d wear unique shoes… anything to be different, really. Then, as stealthily as I could, I’d run past security and flee like bloody hell to my classroom not wanting to get caught. It was all sorts of an “expressive adventure” being an Art student, more so desiring to be different through dressing up.

(I did follow the dress code a lot more than the times I tried not to. I still had to bear in mind that I was still studying, under authority and should still respect rules because they were there for a good reason.)

Now after graduating and with no clothing restriction whatsoever anymore I was more exposed to what I identify as my source of passion and delight: Japanese Street Fashion and all of its sub-styles and culture. More and more do I find happiness discovering style and designs that worked one way or another: chaotically and harmoniously. The Gemini in me finds comfort in polar opposite of the genre inspired from Japanese Street Fashion: the dark, gothic style and the sweet, princess style. These both are the roots of my then-project and now current online businesses of handmade leather accessories – Dark~Sweet~Soul – and personal designs of cute and sweet bags and more – M’Lady.

While there were a lot of pleasant memories about dressing up, there were also the troubles. Expressing yourself through fashion – even the slightest variation of this country’s staple pants and t-shirt – would garner stares and finger points (and the catcalls and whistles). There was nothing more irksome just minding your own business but someone just had to go bother you with their blatant disapproving and unsolicited remarks. It was an unnecessary stress, honestly.

I’ve long gone past feeling self-conscious and embarrassed about it actually. Let me tell you that striding forward with your chin up and feeling confident with what you were wearing was no easy and quick feat to overcome. Everyone is struggling with their own personal issues and none of anyone needs to get more bothersome remarks from negative people. It took me years, coupled with experience and inspiration from folks who were as positive, accepting, supportive and kind made me realize reasons why I shouldn’t feel small, embarrassed and self-conscious about dressing up: I am not hurting anyone’s being and dignity doing what I do and I am not bad-mouthing others’ taste in fashion.

While I do understand that this isn’t a perfect world where you expect others to do what you do unto them, it isn’t so easy not to be just slightly open-minded about personal preferences and styles. Being different makes you stick out, for better or worse… and the worse encounter I experienced made me a better, more persistent person who loves fashion and dressing up still.

No matter what or what other people say, I am fashionable by heart. Even my earliest teen-years of unconsciously knowing exactly what it was, my heart already knew what it was for me.

Word of advice for those who are afraid to dress up: As long you are not hurting anyone, anything or any being (and by hurting I mean trampling their body, mind and soul and shiz), wear what you want to wear. Aaaaand, you are not getting any younger so why waste time following what the common lot is doing? Be an awesome snowflake! There is nothing more self-fulfilling, peaceful and satisfying delighting your creative senses through fashion and style. As the No. 1 rule in fashion dictates (and, like in my case, that honors what my heart quietly desires): Always wear what you want to wear. Dress up, no problem. Dress down, no problem. Just always wear what YOU want to wear.


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