The only thing we have to wear are masks?

I do not understand this discussion on wearing masks or not wearing masks. I get a bit nauseated by it, actually. 

And angry. 

Seriously people, only now?

The way people argue over the masks sounds a hell of a lot like how people always argue about clothes. There are people that conform to the status quo and there are people that do not. The people that do not get called out by the people that do. 

It is just a little louder now. 

A video if you do not feel like reading, today….

Maybe because instead of a trend it is now a completely new garment. Maybe because it was fast this time rather than slow, coming onto you silently through the generations. 

Look, the oppression you are trying to revolt against (and please do, I love change…) is everywhere. But it sure is not new. We have always been told what to wear. We are just so used to it that we have stopped seeing it. We are in fact scared to see it, because when you do you realize we have sunk away in it, and getting out might be impossible. Once you have given away your freedom it hurts too much to realize how far it has gone. 

And you, my friend, are a cog in the machine. 

Do you think you are free to choose what you want to wear? Do you think that when you look in the mirror you objectively look? That the mask is the only thing that you have to wear, the other items are freely chosen?

How you are supposed to look is dictated to you. For a starter, you are fed information on how you are supposed to look on a daily basis. From tv shows, movies and commercials you get to know the newest trends, or simply how somebody like you is supposed to look. When you are a certain age you no longer wear short skirts, for example, or your hair really long. Often they will try and create a problem, like wrinkles, and have the solution for you to. You will have to buy it, of course. 

You know it is all about the money! 

One tool that is used to make us spend all our money are trends. Trends in fashion as much as trends in the beauty, food or car industry. Literally any industry, actually.

Here is how they work.

Trends do not come out of the blue. There are companies and people that have made trendwatching into a job. They are excellent in spotting vibes that are global, catch them and then sell them to the different stores so it is easier for them to design their new outfits. It is all based on the idea that when a complay doesn’t show the right trends things do not get sold.  

But it is a self-fulfilling prophecy, especially in the fast fashion. The biggest stores, through this workflow, all have their own interpretations of the newest trends. And they are everywhere. The biggest chains can afford to be close to you. They can afford to be in all the main shopping streets all around the world selling the same collections. They can afford the biggest ads and maybe be featured here or there. So then we buy it. And we walk around in it. What you see others wear makes the biggest difference in what you want to wear. What you see others wear is what you want to wear. 

It is so freaking simple it is difficult for me to write down. 

If everybody you meet would be wearing something truly different, truly unique, something that would fit with their individual personality perfectly, you would be wearing something unique. 

They don’t and you do not. We all wear the same uniform. 

So, there you have it, that is where you are making sure that the status quo stays the same. That is where we allow them to keep us in their grip. 

I’ll add a little example from my own experience because maybe I do not feel so appalled at wearing a mask because I am used to the feeling. 

I am used to the feeling of being trapped in what we are supposed to wear. I am used to having my outfits dictated, commented on. I vividly remember a Dutch guy in the Swedish Alps trying to give me a hard time about my outfit. He saw I wore a onesie ski-suit from the 80s, and was appalled. He told me how stupid he thought it was to actually still be wearing those things. (Rather have me spend more money on a new suit, did he?) It didn’t hurt me, the outfit was thought through by myself relentlessly. It just shows how he limits himself, how we limit each other. 

The biggest benefactors from our behaviour, are the people, investors, owners etc of the biggest companies on earth. Most fashion brands belong to the same people. Did you know that? They just keep getting wealthier and we keep feeling bad about ourselves because we cannot keep up with the newest trends, spend too much money on new ski-suits while the old ones are fine, or feel fat/hairy/old and try to work against that. 

Stop giving them power, please? 

How do you do that, you ask?

Try to think about what you really want to do, and do that. You want to stimulate a big fat spoiled albeit clever guy that is already wealthy? You can. Don’t change anything then. But there are so many new initiatives, cool designers and kick-ass brands that try to do something better! I would love it if we can give them more power. 

So, my message to the one that is trying to find the best print and the best shape for their home-made mask; take this approach with you to the rest of the wardrobe. You want to find what works for you the best? Keep at it and don’t you dare to stop at masks.

And to the one that is getting in trouble for not wearing masks; what is the next thing that you see all around you and you do not want to do? Keep up with this attitude and put it to f*cking work in the other things that you do too. What else can you challenge? What else doesn’t suit you? Don’t you dare to stop at masks. Walk around on your bare feet and in your naked bum, what do I care, as long as you are not hypocritical and start being critical of all the things that limit your freedom of expression. 

Jealousy as a guide.

When you look at how you look, it is normal to also look at how other people look. Lets take a look at at that!

Okay, that was a joke, I am not saying it is a good one. But I want to talk to you about how and why we, yes look, at other people, especially when it makes us feel bad!

Obviously if you can look at your friend, who has just lost all of her pregnancy weight and looks stunning in that newly (made) dress, you can feel different things. If you only feel good, for her, than you are fine. But if you look at her and get ideas in your head like, I wish I looked like that, or; if only I could also lose those extra pounds that I carry around, than something needs to change.

I have seen different ways of how people are tackling jealously. For example, they try not to feel it, which is understandable, as you might actually not feel super well about not wishing your friend to feel great. Some take it as a que, they make themselves think of compliments to give to others when they feel a streak of jealously coming up. I imagine telling your friend she looks lovely with clenching jaws still comes across as slightly false. You might want to start a different approach to tackling jealousy.

Jealousy can help you to plot a course for a life that you love. It might make you feel horrible until you realize what you need to change and put your energy towards that. Or it will stop hurting when you have realized that you just cannot change some things and you need to change your perspective.

You see somebody that has something you want and you can feel the “auch” coming up from inside. That might be things that they own, or they have a relationship or a child that you want but do not have. Or it is that girl around the corner that seems to sport the right colours every year, that gets you thinking: “every f*ck*ng season she nails it”, that sort of thing. The feeling lingers inside yourself like a sort of; If only I had or, If only I was….

Hate to brake it to you, but that rocks.

There is something inside you telling you what is not right about your life right now. But that doesn’t mean that all you need to do is get what they have and than the feeling will disappear. Think about it like this, what if you would have that dress that she is wearing, combined with those shoes, would they really look good on you? Or would that simply be her style that you are emulating? So what is it that your jealousy is trying to tell you?

Your jealousy is trying to tell you what you need. In the case of the fashionable girl around the corner, you do not want that dress and those shoes, but the confidence that what you are wearing is perfect for you. You need to feel and think through this jealousy to find out what it is that makes you feel this way. It is never what you think it is about initially. Something superficial will spark jealousy, while the solution is on a deeper layer.

I want to share with you a personal story, to illustrate… I am a tall brown-haired Dutch girl. My family is pretty strong. My grandfather is rumored to have saved his tractor from a ditch in his heydays using only his hands. My brother singlehandedly lifts washing machines up stairs and my mum used to be a pretty good shot putter in college, according to my dad…

Knowing what my genes are, I still used to envy short and petit build women. I felt they were closer to how women were supposed to look. And if I was unhappy with how I looked I decided that eating less was the way to go instead of working out. Working out would make me look bigger in no time, because I would increase the size of my muscles.

Eating less to look more like how I wanted to look had never worked for me, not in the way that I wanted to anyway. I was just too tall to be petit! It was absolutely ridiculous to want to be so different from who I was. I was just unhappy with who I was and decided that the total opposite was the way to go. I had to do some inner work in order to tackle this one.

That didn’t start with how I looked, nor with my wardrobe. I had all kinds of characteristics that didn’t fit in with what I thought a woman should be like. Not just how she should look but also what she should endure, how she should express herself and how she should live her life. And they didn’t make any sense with who I was.

But I had tucked that away somewhere far.

Only until I started to give myself some room to be and show who I was, often starting with what I wore, I started to realize that I didn’t want to be a long haired blond delicately playing the violin. Or the harp. With her perfect long fingers and her long eyelashes. I am a girl that sometimes listens to Rammstein, loves Lara Croft and knows a thing or two about Klingons.

in the background of this picture there is a little something that I would have never added to my home a few years ago… Can you recognize what it is?

The funny thing is, I always liked Lara Croft. She is more a role-model from my past than my present. Why I gave the idea of the perfect woman being petit more attention that Lara, has to do with feeling insecure and a negative feeling of self-worth.

Now, today, totally accepting the Lara in me, I am working out more than I ever did before. And I love it. It has shaped my body in a way that I would have never liked in the past. But changing my perspective means that I do love how my body looks now. I am not saying it is perfect, but it looks strong. (Want to know something funny, for those of you struggling with your weight, I now weigh exactly what I always wanted to weigh. Letting go of looking trying to look like a skinny model meant I now have habits that work better for who I am…)

It also means that I do not want to look like a petit woman anymore. I still think they look fantastic, and I mean it. It doesn’t make me feel envious anymore. Because they look great, but what the you-know, I look great too. Those things can co-exist. And if you do not feel that I look great, you are not ma thang!

Wear what you see.

For years I have had the problem of forgetting the details of my outfit in the morning rush. When I quickly slip into something that looks nice, I forget to look at my jewels! Kidding, I do not own that kind of jewellery, most of them are strings of metal with silver paint on them.

Anyway, I wanted to change that habit, I wanted to see what jewellery I had, so I can actually wear them. Before this realization, I had ideas aplenty in my head, but they weren’t good enough to go and actually make something.

Until, I took apart a closet. Well no, until I took apart a few vertical planks of wood that were holding some horizontal planks, that in turn were holding up my fabrics. Let’s see if I can find a picture, so you get the picture.

So, contrary to what you might think, I love the look of the cheap-ass wood that came off. They are made of chips of leftover wood glued back together. I love the randomness of the patterns that you get from that. I had 4 short shelves that were exactly the same, and a lot of metal hooks and screws that I could use. Also I recently received a box of very small rusty nails. I was sure I was going to be able to put these to good use.

Now, I had to take the shelves and all of my rings, earrings, necklaces, the whole lot. I only left out the stuff I use for Halloween. There is no point looking at that stuff on a daily basis, it just clutters the brain.

The most important job I had to do was to make a collection of them. One way or the other I had to make sure to match them together so they worked as a whole. After all, they were going to be a bit like a painting, so better make it look nice! You can see me meddling with the compo in the time-lapse that I shared on my Instagram at the time.

Now, about the composition, it is not just the colours that I was looking at to combine everything to a nice whole. I looked at shapes too. To either mirror sides with necklaces in the middle and earrings on either side, or to contrast heavy items with smaller ones. There was one necklace that was very long, I think I solved it well by having a bit of fun with it.

But the most important thing I did was integrating on each panel a part of a necklace that I used to wear. Something that I no longer wear, but is part of my history. The letters from my name on the side of one of the panels for example. They come from one of those broken and half lost items. On another panel there is a M and on one of them there is a heart that I do not even remember getting, but you know, a little love doesn’t hurt. And a ring; a ring that I never wear but bought for myself, (maybe for my birthday) when I was about 14 years old. It is weak and twisted, but it just might be the oldest thing I own in my wardrobe.

So, besides the fact that I have a reminder staring at me when I get dressed in the morning, I also have a fun additional artwork that is very personal. I would say it is a win win to have something so meaningful, stored originally, in plain sight!

Make more impact

As you are learning to be who you want to be, your wardrobe might feel dated and it does not show who you are anymore. As your personality deepens, your clothing and the impact your fashion choices make, can deepen too. You can create the world that you want by aligning how you feel, with what you do.

As a person who is developing, you are going to be a better version of yourself. It is hard to figure out who you are and what you are supposed to do in this world. As soon as you start shifting, you also start to notice that people react to you differently, because you have changed.

So, you clothes should also be transforming. They are a part of your old life and old self. Similarly, the relationships you have with people from your past might change due to you developing. Some relationships will have just minor changes, and some will deepen. There are some people who you will need to let go. These changes are similar in relationship with your clothing… Almost.

If you feel this shift, if you feel like the wardrobe you have is not what it could be, you might take this new person shopping. But shopping seems different to before. The shopping trip now feels a bit, empty. The stores that used to give you joy no longer have this effect. And what you bought, well, after the first rush of buying wore off, it is just the same as the items that you had before.

As you are more aware of who you are and what makes you happy, the chances are you are also more aware of the depth and meaning in the actions you take in your daily life. And if you are not, you should be.

This new person that you are didn’t just shift away from your old wardrobe. This new person is one who wants to own clothes that are meaningful. It is so common to feel like you have nothing to wear, it is so common to own clothes that are so cheap, that they are easy to discard. It is hard to know exactly what this moment would look like. I believe you know now that you deserve a meaningful wardrobe, just like you knew you were ready to change into a better version of yourself, even though you didn’t know what it would look like!

Shopping like you used to will just get you the same results. Clothes are quite generic. Most stores use the same trends to design their clothing. In comparison with the fashion we buy, high-fashion creates trends and is used for its deeper meaning, to show the designers discontent with a certain social problem for example. We are sold a made-up story that we are tempted to buy into, while the real story is possibly a horrible one.

You have been brainwashed and stick to buying meaningless clothing. Your old shopping habits do not suit you anymore. You will need to create new ones.

Use your creativity to start to curate, (as I like to call it) clothing in your wardrobe to help you be who you are. Curating your wardrobe means you are very demanding about what goes into your wardrobe. It means that the look as well as the story of the garments reflect who you are and what you find important.

We create all day every day. Every day we decide what gets our attention, time and money. Whatever you give your attention will grow and is bigger tomorrow. The same goes with fashion.

So when you look in the mirror, what do you want to see?

What would you want your wardrobe to resonate back towards you when you open the doors?
I know you do not want it to say; Cheap ass. Probably kids working in the production. Meaningless rip-off shape. Horrible pay, maker cannot afford good meal. Designer working overtime. Brand has no idea where the yarn comes from. Clothes will fall apart after x-amount of washing. Or the garment has an expiry date.

You might want your wardrobe to suggest, that you are an honest person who cares for others, and is socially responsible. Is worth the effort. Has fun with outfits. Knows the designers. Helps the farmer. Co-designed. Made for especially for me. Will never toss stuff out. Holds awesome memories. Owns fashion. Hand made. Local. Fairtrade. Feels great.

What exactly you want it to say is up to you to decide, and I have written a free e-book that can help you with this, as this blog is wayyyy too short to really get into the subject of meaningful and personal wardrobes. Know this though, curating a personal and meaningful wardrobe takes time to collate. Your wardrobe is as changeable as your personality and it is the journey that matters. So; are you ready? If you want to go from frustrations about your wardrobe to owning an inspirational wardrobe you can take the first steps right now. No shop needed.

Improve your sustainability by adding your personality

The current popularity of changing to a sustainable wardrobe is a symptom of bigger issues. The blandness of our wardrobes and the lack of meaning in the outfits and the fashion that we wear is something we cannot solve with sustainable habits alone.

Whether we buy from a brand, a big clothing chain or an online website, we are sold a story. This story has been carefully constructed, often for years. You see this in the commercials they put out into the world, the ads in the stores and the clothes’ shapes, colours and materials. These stories though are shallow, as we do not know anything about the ‘real’ origin story. We do not know how and where a garment is made, why it was made and what the designer had in mind. Heck, we no longer know the store owner or where we bought the item, nor have a connection with the people who work in the store. It doesn’t help to make us feel positive about the garments that we own knowing that the real story is probably a horrible one. 

Repairing is caring

The worst result of being a more sustainable consumer isn’t that bad. Anybody who changes from a high-street wardrobe to a sustainable wardrobe would own a meaningful impersonal wardrobe rather than a meaningless impersonal wardrobe. But when your goal is to simply change to a sustainable wardrobe you miss out on a fantastic opportunity and that is to really make your wardrobe personal!

The popularity of buying sustainable is understandable, as it tackles more than just the meaningless of our clothing. It makes buying much more personal. A typical sustainable store is smaller; usually the owner is in the store or available online, and able to tell their own story or the stories of the products that they sell. This is very different to what usually happens in a High Street store. 

Right now, looking into sustainability, you are in the perfect position to completely change your relationship with your wardrobe. You feel the need to change the habits that have dictated the content of your wardrobe because you know they are contributing to some particular problems in the world. You want to feel happy wearing the items that you own, you want to know that the money you spend is put to work honestly in the world-economy. Can you take this one step further and add your own happiness and well being to that wish list? 

As you have been reading, buying sustainable will solve a few of those impersonal wardrobe problems that I have been talking about. But we are still talking about buying sustainably. Let me say that again; BUYING sustainable; spending money on brands that are working on a story they sell to the world. It is no doubt, a better story, but it still is not very personal. 

Possibly my most favourite place

Creating, or curating as I like to call it, an inspirational personal wardrobe is a lifetime’s work. Your wardrobe will always be changing, not just because your personality is ever-changing. 

The opportunities within fashion to express your individuality will increase. Fashion at the moment is an industry that has suffered because of the way fashion itself works. Garments are cheap, so there is very little room for evolution or revolutions in fashion. To give you an example, currently it is possible to design your own sweater, with zero waste and no extra production time. These kinds of options are becoming more available, but only when we start to ask.

This example shows that looking at personal fashion is interesting from an environmental point of view. What do you want? What would excite you to wear? What would you want to create that is unique and that would make you feel good? Asking these questions will inevitably slow your fashion habits down. 

The feeling that we have whilst making choices for our wardrobe resonate back to us when we open the doors to our wardrobes. The feelings we like to feel when we open the doors is highly personal. But we are unable to ask for what makes us feel happy because we have never done that before, nor have we seen it demonstrated. 

The life long buying habits we have are difficult to break because they are so normal. However, just because it is the way things have been done, does not mean it is how it should be done. In my ebook, I explain more about how we experience fashion at the moment and how that can harm us personally. I want to help you to take a step back and objectively look at your habits. As you are looking to buy more sustainably, you are in the perfect position to really elevate your wardrobe and start expressing your true self.