Just about every second night, I rock up at my boyfriend’s place dressed in his grey trackpants (arguably mine), a pair of stained Nike sneakers and at the very least, four layers of jumpers on top. I literally look like The Rock after a cheat meal – perhaps even bigger.
“When you’re girlfriend makes no effort and still looks beautiful,” I’ll mock, aware that I’m breaking just about every rule in both the fashion, and the girl-guy book, and that I’m far from doing so in a cool manner.
“You do. You could wear anything and you’d still look good,” he argues. Perhaps he’s telling the truth, more likely, he just wants to keep me, looking like Paul Blart’s cousin, happy as he can (even if it means by coercing me into delusion).
When this sort of commentary becomes recurrent, I wonder firstly, if he’s following some “tumblr boys” page, and simply regurgitating phrases atop those photos of cute couples doing cute things.
Sometimes, I go as far to question his acclaimed perception, “honestly, if I wore this the first time we met, would you have really turned to look? That is, out of anything other than disgust?”
“Of course,” he responds, diving into the realms of his multi-faceted attraction. Now, I’m not so much making fun of him nor completely denying his capacity for honesty. I appreciate it. It’s lovely.
But it makes me think.
My natural response to such complement is disbelief. Sure, I’ll take it and I’ll laugh, but I’ll also settle with the fact that it’s not true. In this moment, I am simply okay with the idea that I look like shit. I’m not under the impression I look great, so frankly, if I catch myself in the mirror, I’m not utterly shocked or disappointed. It was expected, in fact, it was planned.
And it’s okay within the walls of your boyfriend’s home, right? He’s seen you in every unflattering light before and he’s still here. He still loves you.
Now take something inarguably unflattering and place it on your figure amid the fashion event of the year? Does the situation change any? Are you adorning self-confidence, a feminist statement or quite simply, a sack?
Just a few weeks ago, I headed to meet Jess Matthews of Wellington-based label, Aida Maeby. Centred amid her concept is the significance of comfort and ease alongside style and distinction. We were chatting in her basement studio when she pulled out this navy piece, one which would literally cover me from head to toe in somewhat of a picnic-blanket manner. Now, cool as it were, I really wondered if I could pull it off.
I threw it on and was utterly surprised. For both the way it physically felt, and for the way it made me feel, it was perfect. It turns out that sometimes the least flattering things can make you feel your most confident, empowered and for lack of a better word, awesome.
Not only was it bold and sure to capture attention of far-off eyes (exactly what you want here at NZFW), it was also the comfiest thing I had yet stepped in. Much as I was in the mindset to make a statement, I was also tossing up rolling around on the carpet, perhaps even, petting a cat. No wonder Jess asserts this piece as perfect for relaxed Saturday mornings, for coffee with a friend and errand-running in style.
The truth is, in such a fashion site as NZFW, attire such as that of Aida Maeby which embraces comfort in combination with style, is most fitting. Why? Because it breaks those very bounds of mainstream fashion. That we should prioritise the way we look – and even more so, the extent we appeal to masses – far more than the way we feel, is an old, outdated notion.
It’s fun to show off. Of course it is. We work hard for our bodies. There are occasions that warrant the accentuation of our curves, the exposure of our skin tone, our collarbones and our calves.
But it’s also a wonderful phenomenon to hide it all and feel confident too. Its only in doing so you’ll learn the true extent of your self confidence. To put emphasis on other than your figure, instead, on your love for fashion, for intriguing prints and for structured cuts is liberating. It’s a step towards self love and frankly, I encourage that you test yourself.
We should stop concluding how good we look or how attractive we are with pure reference to how much of our figures are highlighted. And we should do so, not because the fashion world shall appreciate our bravery. Not because our boyfriend will love us despite all. Not even for anyone else will. We should do it for us. Do it because there is more to life than our appearance, and more to fashion than the mere complementation of our bodies.
Happy Sunday, folks. I hope you’re damn comfortable.
Photos: Two Dark Coffees