Hi, here’s a thing that I wrote for my friend, Noble. He is an incredibly talented and all-around wonderful human that you should support. Check out his site here.
Insecurity, Aisle 13. A Reflection of Adolescent Fashion Woes.
By Shelby Newallis
When I think about how and why my style developed, I can trace it back to the time in my life when I had to become aware of how I can use clothes to hide my body or make it seen.
I was always a slim kid. I was active in sports and dance; all of which I had potential in, but no genuine desire to be better than average. This resulted in a slender, childlike body. Until, I had a complete transformation in the unfortunate time span of about a year; leaving me, like many pre-teen girls feeling like puberty did them dirty.
Going from a pre-pubescent twiggy body to a curvalicious womanly body doesn’t sound that bad, until you remember that it was in the seventh grade, a time when insecurity was as pervasive as the wafting odor of Axe body spray.
So, why I am I sharing arguably too many details about a non-enjoyable part of my adolescence? Not, because I love re-hashing the feelings of embarrassment and insecurity that I felt at that point in my life. Rather, I think it’s important as women to reflect upon all the times in your life you felt less than beautiful. Why as girls and women, do we allow ourselves to feel like these “growing pains” are something of which we need to feel ashamed.
I remember that feeling of walking through Hollister or Abercrombie and Fitch (so 2000s, I know) and feeling so out of place. While this clothing sat beautifully on my pre-pubescent peers, I couldn’t even dream of squeezing into an XL, unless it was a baby doll shirt (it was 2007, after all) and at that, my boobs would still be hanging out, which to me, was absolutely mortifying. These stores advertised their clothing with slim, blonde girls who looked great in their clothing, even after puberty…but that wasn’t me.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that my curviness was not welcomed at teeny bopper stores, meaning that if I wanted to look good, I would have to shop in the women’s section. Admitting that ready or not, I had made the transition from girl to woman. This might possibly account for why I’ve always been a bit mature for my age — I grew to love Gap, Banana Republic, Loft and Artisan Clothing — admiring a business casual look, versus the A&F model to which all my friends aspired. I discovered the key to feeling beautiful was feeling comfortable; something that comes from inner confidence and a wicked outfit.
In high school and beyond, I developed my own style, which I can best describe as Urban Art Teacher. This means a mix of printed tees, lots of denim, eccentric jewelry and classic boots with the occasional blazer. I think nowadays, there are the same pressures in adolescence to look model-perfect, but I’m happy to say that there has been distinct progress in favor of body positivity and I hope that young girls are feeling this change as well. I think, now more than ever, it’s time to celebrate individuality, something that my dear friend, Noble understands so well, and something that guides all of his work. I think as consumers, it is our job now to support artists and designers who celebrate the uniqueness of you, making clothes and products that make each and everyone of us feel comfortable and beautiful.
So happy reflecting and happy shopping!