the fashion disciple

Style | Travel | Lifestyle | Taste is having the courage of your own convictions.

Category: My thoughts on…

My Thoughts On: “Why Do You Wear Makeup to School?” (and other stupid questions)

Ah, the number of times that I’ve heard this, either being addressed to me or someone else. It’s in the same ball park as asking “Why do you wear heels?” or “Why are you wearing a push-up bra?” and my personal favourite, “Why do/don’t you shave your legs?”. You just don’t do it.

At least, not if you’ve already made up your mind that their answer is going to be wrong. Ask because you’re genuinely interested in their reasons, ask if you care. Not if it’s coming out of a place of judgement and malice.

Personal grooming is called just that for a reason. It’s personal grooming. It’s not a topic up for public discussion or debate.

It took me some time to realise this, but it really was the same thing as when I asked someone why they wore extra long and colourful socks to school, or why their school pants were so tapered. It’s the same as when I still question why this person uses a branded purse as a schoolbag, or why this other person always wears tank tops on casual dress day. Is it out of vanity? Is it for attention? Guess what––it’s none of my damn business. 

You do you. And I’ll do me. Who am I––who are any of us––to tell people what the “right” way is to be themselves? I’m not hurting anyone by wearing makeup (in fact, I think I might be doing you all a favour by sparing you my morning face), and she’s not hurting anyone by wearing whatever the hell she wants to wear. Unless we think we know them better than they do their own, then we don’t really have a say, do we?

I know that there are tons of girls that can wake up in the morning and not have to put anything on their face, and be straight out the door and still feel completely confident. If that’s you, then great! By all means, pride yourself on the fact that you don’t care, or that you’re happy the way you are. Keep doing whatever you’re doing that makes you feel good about yourself. But don’t put others down for doing the same, just because their way of feeling confident is different from yours. 

I used to wear coloured contacts on a daily basis because I thought my eyes were too small and dark. At that point of time, that was what helped me feel confident. When I didn’t wear them, I would feel mousy and anxious, and insecure. Yet when I did wear them, nobody would really notice the difference. So was it really vain of me to wear them even though the only person that actually seemed to see the difference was myself? Was I really just trying too hard? Perhaps. But that’s for me to judge, and no one else.

So I’ve since stopped using my coloured contacts (for the most part at least) and I’ve never felt better. I still don’t know what has changed, but I’m willing to go with it. And now if someone else does the same thing, I’d understand why and I wouldn’t tell them to do otherwise.

On the flip side, I know of instances where people judge others for not doing certain things; like shaping their eyebrows, or maintaining their manicures. But the same rules still apply.

Something funny that often comes after “Why do you wear makeup to school?” is the infamous “But it’s just school.”

So once we’ve established that it’s completely fine to wear makeup outside of school, you’re deciding that the moment I step into the classroom with some eyeliner and eyebrow tint, it’s suddenly not okay? Because it’s school, and school’s not about looking good. It’s about, well, school. Rules aside (because we all know that both your and my skirt lengths are not of regulation either), is there really a problem here?

The thing is, feeling good about myself and feeling confident is (usually) directly proportional to my mood and thus, how productive I will be. I mean, I can’t imagine being all excited and ready to face the day when I’m in frumpy clothes and my hair hasn’t been tamed, and there’s a shine on my face that a little powder could help remedy. On any normal occasion, feeling good outwardly and inwardly makes me want to go out and smile at people and make friends and get things done. Am I not allowed to achieve the same feeling in school? People find confidence in all sorts of things. Are you going to tell them that it’s conditional?

For some, it may be in posting extra glamorous pictures on Facebook. And for others, it could be in going out and socialising with friends or strangers.

 For me, taking that extra 10 minutes every morning to fix my face or hair isn’t for anyone. It’s about taking pride in my appearance, and feeling primed and put-together. It isn’t about impressing anybody, or being unappreciative of what I naturally have. It’s simply for me. And since I am the one going to the mall, I am the one going to the movies, and I am the one going to school, then why is it your prerogative to say what I should and shouldn’t do?

You know, another thing I’ve noticed is that people loooove to stereotype. Just because it’s easy––certainly not because it’s true.

No, I’m not shallow because I wear makeup to school. She’s not uptight because she ties her hair up every day. She’s not a slut because her skirt is halfway up her thigh and he’s not a douchebag because he spikes his hair up or has a strut for a walk. And no, you definitely do not get to make judgement calls on people’s characters based on what you do or don’t see.

Honestly, I could go on forever. (People ask a lot of stupid questions.) But I feel like it’s something we all can consciously reflect on on our own. You don’t need a blog post to know, truly, when you’re just making an observation and when you’re straight up being mean. A lot of the time, whatever we’re criticising others on, we do ourselves. Maybe just not noticeably in the same manner.

So the next time that someone asks me something like this, I’ll know that I don’t owe them an explanation. And I don’t have to justify anything to anyone. I’ll preserve my right to do whatever makes me happy and make sure that they, too, are aware.

“Because I want to.”

A x

My Thoughts On: The Luxury Label | Why I Don’t Buy from Designer Brands

If you know me in person or have been reading my blog for awhile, you’d know that I don’t buy or wear luxury brands. To be completely honest, in fact, I’m rather clueless on most brands high-fashion. And I get questions–criticism, even, about how I can own a fashion blog when the closest I’ve gotten to high-fashion is probably Project Runway…

To me, it’s more than just a matter of taste and preference.

Perhaps it’s partly of the way I grew up…though I am lucky. No one in my family was born into money, and that includes me. And so I am conscious of how it feels to barely have enough. To have a mom working full-time, two jobs a day (and night) to put food on the table. To be living in a room of a house that belonged to someone else. I try not to take it for granted that I now can live (more than) comfortably.

I think I used to brush off the idea of me ever paying for a branded item like it was dirt on my shoe, never really noticing how offensive that could’ve been.  Maybe I felt guilty for even thinking about owning a bag that was more than someone’s monthly salary. Maybe I thought resisting luxury was in a way humble and modest. Maybe I was just afraid that it would make me look materialistic.

It’s ironic how on the flip side, some of those who boycott luxury brands are the ones with the superiority complex instead.

A family friend once gave a two-toned silver Mulberry bracelet cuff (God bless his poor soul) to a fifteen year old me who couldn’t see the beauty in simplicity of that bracelet and chucked it into a corner of her room. It was rather costly too–he made a point to tell me so…which instead of making me treasure it, for some backward logic, made me reluctant to wear it out. What if I lost it? What if it got scratched? But most of all, why would he pay so much for a bracelet as plain as that?

But now, two and a half years later, it’s one of my favourite pieces of jewellery I own. And I’m proud of its origin.

The price means nothing. Well…it means something. But it’s all subjective; to who is paying, what it’s really worth and the value the buyer has personally placed on it. $100 to someone could be peanuts to someone else.

If I like a dress, I like it. If it’s pricey and I know it’ll make a dent, I won’t get it. There’ll be other dresses. If it’s pricey but I know it’ll be worth it, I will get it. If it’s $5, even better. It’ll look the same–whether I pay a fortune or get it for free.

Every time I splurge in Topshop, it’s good to remind myself that it’s probably more than what my mom would let herself pay for a pair of shoes. But I have an option. And for as long as I choose to relish that option, I will be grateful that I have it.

My dad took me and his family out to dinner at Great World City the other day, at which the bill came up to about $200. He then took us shopping in Royal Sporting House and Zara which collectively added up to another $500.

I asked if he was doing well at his new job. He must’ve been, surely, if it didn’t hurt to spend almost a thousand dollars in one evening. It didn’t hit me until a day later why I was still feeling so bad. Maybe his love for me gave him the illusion that his pockets were deeper than they really were.

It’s a given. Parents just like buying stuff for their kids or at the very least, like to see them have what they want.

So perhaps until the money comes from my own, I’d try my best not to develop a designer bag addiction…

Putting that aside, it’s hard not to take notice of these brands when I’d, in recent years, been among a more affluent community and culture. And I can’t say altogether that I haven’t cozied up to the idea of owning my very own Céline mini luggage handbag or Chanel 2.55, or that I don’t sometimes envy those who do own them.

Still, I don’t find it worth it.

It’s not that I don’t admire the design and workmanship. At times, I really do. But for me, I don’t think it’s ever actually about the bag.

I will admit right now that if and when I were to buy something branded, it will be because it’s branded. Because if it’s the design that I want, I could find it elsewhere for a fraction of the price.

I think I enjoy finding a “meaning” in every tiny thing just as much as the next girl. So what I’ll really be paying for when I finally choose to get one is the feeling of authenticity, exclusivity and maybe even accomplishment or reward.

There’s a certain sense of maturity and sophistication one feels when they are able to (and I mean, truly) appreciate high-fashion. It’s like the gourmet food of fashion. Your taste buds finally agree that red wine and foie gras taste absolutely delightful and suddenly you feel like a class A adult. Or maybe that’s just me…

I’m sure that when you’re paying for the brand, it isn’t just for the brand–and all the glory that comes with owning it. You’re also paying for quality. Quality that perhaps a cheap knockoff you get from a street-side cart could never give you. Forget the tears in fake leather or discoloured fabrics, this authentic, carefully crafted work of art could last you at least a decade.

But then I think about it…

Do I really want this bag for a decade?

Fashion comes and goes. I can barely commit to a hairstyle for more than two years, much less a handbag for ten. If I’m going to pay (or more accurately, make my parents pay) so much for something, I’d want to make sure that I actually use it and not just wear it while it’s hot and then after, leave it in my closet never to be seen again.

I’m seventeen. I change my mind. About everything. What I like to wear, how I like to wear it…hell, my favourite colour changes every year. (Apart from black. I will always love black. So maybe that’s a start.)

 Keeping that in mind, I could live with myself if I got a designer knockoff. I don’t feel that it in any way gives anyone reason to see you as inferior–especially not yourself.

It’s kinda (though not at all close, haha) like getting a temporary tattoo before you get the real deal. That way, if I decide that I don’t like it anymore, damage it or even worse, lose it…I wouldn’t feel the pain of seeing $4000 fly out the window.

Alright, at some point in here, I’ll have to give credit where credit is due. The best designers are known as just that for a reason. They produce beautiful, unique and sometimes timeless pieces of work and there’s no reason not to be successful for that. If I could create something that millions of people wanted to get their hands on, who’s to say it shouldn’t be worth that much?

But, fashion influences fashion; imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, right? I read this article titled Why Knockoffs Are Good For The Fashion Industry, and if you’re one who’s against buying knockoffs or disapproves of those who do, try chewing on this.

Nonetheless, it’s the time of my life when I’m thinking about my future and what I want to do as a career during which, I’ve come up with 2 things:

1. I want to write. I want to change minds and create sentiment where there seems none.

2. Fashion, music and design will always be a part of my life in one way or another.

That being said, I’m more than keen on learning all I can about the fashion industry in time to come, even the parts that intimidate me; especially the parts that once seemed out of reach. I can’t promise that I’ll be as well-versed in everything fashion as your other bloggers out there, but I can promise that I’ll try my hardest to stay grounded along the way.

And so I shall wait.

I shall wait until I know I’ll take good care of it. I shall wait until I can understand fully how fortunate I am to enjoy things some can’t. I shall wait until I’m sure that indulging in something pretty and waaaay over-priced is not going to turn me into someone different.

But make no mistake, that day will come soon enough.

A x