What is “style?”
In the fashion world, “style” is usually shorthand for “personal style,” or the way an individual expresses themselves through aesthetic choices such as their clothing, accessories, hairstyle, and the way they put an outfit together.
I know that there are a lot of people who don’t believe style matters. But, I genuinely believe it does. Because, like the definition above – it’s how a person chooses to outwardly express themselves. So in trying to figure out if I had any actual kind of “style” I took a number of little quizzes. None of them pinged for me because those quizzes were all about the aesthetics of the outfits that I might choose to wear, and none of the answers led to anything that felt right.
For once, words weren’t being useful to me. Then I realized the problem. It isn’t the clothes themselves that make me want to wear them. The key to my style is, “Does this avoid clashing with or covering/showing off my tattoos in ways I desire?”
My tattoos are my outward expression of self. They are what defines or influences my “style.”
I purposefully got two tattoos that come up high on my shoulder and up my neck, because I knew that no matter what else I might wear to suit a certain situation or activity or that’d cover the rest of my ink, I would never wear clothes that might hide those. I had decided to take a stand when I got those particular pieces.
In the way many people feel about the way they dress or the way they style/wear/color their hair, I was tired of being told “you shouldn’t/can’t have visible tattoos.” I was tired of being told to conform. Of being told that people will make automatic assumptions about me, won’t respect me, or won’t treat me as a professional adult.
There will always be people I come upon who will think about or say those things to me. People have opinions and beliefs. But, I can stand up regardless. This may feel insignificant to some people, but if through just the way I outwardly present myself I can show even one person who USED to feel that way that maybe their opinion or belief was mistaken, then I am helping the next person. And the next.
Because it might make that person reconsider some of their other misguided opinions and beliefs. And not all of those might be about what a person wears.
One person affected doesn’t sound like it’d make much of a difference. But, one person can become two. Two people could become ten. Ten might multiply into even more.
So, circling back to the original writing prompt: “describe your style.”
My style is defying stigma.