Clothing: A walking memory, a strike of lightning, a flash of intuition, and a surge of clarity

What you wear and how it is worn speak to who you are and what you are all about without ever having said a word. This silent and instantaneous communication is perhaps more valuable than we realize. Upon a more careful inspection, we can gather intel into one’s life, their culture, religion, wealth, self-care, what they value, and self-confidence. The essence of what they are or the percentage of things and experiences that make them-them. By just a simple glance, I can make up their life history with the info I’ve been given ( whether I’m right or not is a different story). This is why people watching is so fascinating, and why the fashion industry is a multibillion-dollar industry.

With the rise of fast-fashion and prices of clothing reaching an all-time low, clothing is purchased, worn once or twice(if it holds up in the wash), and thrown out. While these clothes are on trend, they say nothing of who we are and are cause for little inspiration. They are easily lost among the sea of here-today-and-gone-tomorrow fashion. For my generation, fast fashion has become the norm and quality a thing of the past. Yet when clothing can say so much about you, is fast-fashion what we want to convey? I worry that the generations that precede me will miss this.

I worry that if fast fashions continue to rise we will completely forget to appreciate quality and craftsmanship in clothing. When we value cheap over the importance of safety for those making the items, we are doing a great disservice to ourselves and everyone else. How can you completely enjoy something that has caused others suffering? You cannot!

Which leads me to say that fashion is so much more than just pieces of clothing. It is about how silk feels on your bare skin, or how a specific fabric makes you want to dance. It is when a dress has pockets, and the color yellow makes your heart sing. It makes you feel amazing and that you can conquer the world. Fashion allows us to feel the fabulous fabrics, and smell the coat that reminds us of our loved ones, to see our favorite colors dance about on fabric, and to know, at the end of the day, life was just a little bit more enjoyable. It allows us to honor our ancestors by wearing pieces that reflect who they were and the struggles that they went through. Fashion has the ability to take us back to a specific memory much like a smell would. We are transported back in time to our favorite moments and experiences — our own little secret!

Have you ever worn an excellent quality article of clothing? How did it make you feel? If you’re like me, you probably didn’t want to take it off. It feels amazing and you value it because it brings joy and is beautiful. What if it was owned by your grandmother or grandfather and passed on to you? You would think of them every time you put it on. You would treasure it, and a piece like that would never be casually thrown on your bedroom floor. If someone asked where you got it, what a wonderful story you would have compared to the standard “I got it at H&M” answer.

Now, maybe you’re like me and your family never passed you special clothing items.                                                      What’s a girl (or boy) to do?

Raid your closet. What are the pieces you are drawn to ( colors, textures, prints, styles, etc)? Get to know what you like and dislike. I would highly encourage going through your closet and giving away anything you haven’t worn in six months, things that don’t fit, items that were purchased but you hate, and make way for things that you are going to love wearing! Often times our closets hold treasures that are hidden by the pieces we hate. With the extra room in your closet, you’ll have an easier time finding outfits to wear and things that inspire you. In the future, think quality over quantity. Maybe you’ll score a well made and beautiful dress(may it have pockets!) at a vintage or second-hand shop. You have a story and a dress that will last. A piece with a past to be handed down to a beloved daughter, niece, or granddaughter. Think of the rich history that dress will have!

Not only will you be saving money, but you’ll also be helping humanity by choosing not to purchase from brands that knowingly gain off the backs those who are suffering. (think sweatshops, low working wages, child labor, etc)  You will have clothing that brings you, and those who see it, joy.  The things you wear will be inspired by your past, your favorite places, the things you love most in your life, and, who knows, maybe even by your favorite foods! What an excellent conversational starter that would be!

Explore! Branch out and check your local second-hand and vintage stores. Learn about fabrics and color. Learn to sew and create one-of-a-kind pieces to pass on to future generations. Create the story you wish to tell, and let fashion be a walking memory, a strike of lightning, a flash of intuition, and a surge of clarity for yourself and everyone around you.

May you always have a good story to tell!

Cultivating Happiness

This idea of cultivating happiness is revolutionizing to me. I’ve never heard those two words together until this last month. I’m sure this idea has been around a long time but I’m just now catching on. To cultivate means to foster the growth of  X according to Merriam Webster dictionary, and Dictonary.com states that it means to promote or improve the growth of (x) by labor and attention.  I looked up a few synonyms of happiness and my favorites: pleasure, contentment, delight, joy, satisfaction, and bliss.

Why is no one teaching this?!

How many of us walk around with the expectation that happiness will fall in our laps? We look for it in people, in food, in our possessions, and always we are left disappointed. We redouble our efforts and seem to just miss happiness. It stares us down, but we are so busy looking for it we can’t see it. We make excuses for our lack of happiness, and blame everyone else for our misfortune.  We are jealous of those people who seem to be genuinely happy and fear that happiness is not in our cards.

We have been given so much yet we are so unhappy and miserable. 

Who is to blame? No one but myself. No one may have ever taught me that I have to create my own happiness, but I neglected to ask if maybe there was a different, better way. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. We have just taken society’s happiness formula at face value without ever having examined it. I think a lot of times we just take what we have been told as fact but in reality, it couldn’t be further than the truth. We often trade the truth for a lie without even realizing it. Lies, although cheap at first, always end up costing far us more than the truth in the end. We have been sold a defective idea, and we have been informed it’s a user error and there are no refunds.

But the truth? 

Happiness is yours for the taking. I’m not saying it will fall in your lap, in fact, it will take time, energy, and commitment. Just like a garden, you will have to tend to it in the spring and in the hot summer months. You will have to water it and pull the weeds, but the end product is so satisfying and can be shared with others. The first step is knowing what you want to plant. If you are satisfied with anything, you won’t know the difference between a weed and a vegetable. Do you know what makes you happy? I’m guessing you’ve never just sat down and asked yourself that question( don’t worry I didn’t know either ).  For me, spending quality time with my favorite people brings me so much joy. One of my favorite things to do is to turn on my favorite songs and dance like no one is watching (in my house, of course, I’m not brave enough to do it in public…yet).  I schedule myself in my to-do list because if I don’t I will never make time for happiness.

Below is a list of things that bring happiness into my life:

  • dancing
  • exercising
  • spending time with my family
  • snuggling with my dog
  • taking a nice, long bubble bath
  • having deep conversations with my friends
  • reading a book snuggled up
  • helping others succeed
  • blogging
  • making delicious snacks
  • being silly
  • picking wildflowers
  • having fresh flowers in my house
  • wearing a cute outfit
  • yoga
  • being in nature
  • eating fruits and veggies
  • spending time with my sisters and nieces
  • laughing so hard my stomach hurts
  • being kind

Make your own list, see how you feel at the end of the month.

Choose to create happiness in your life and it will overflow to others around you. We all know that the world could use more happiness and it is up to us to create it. Let me end by saying, that you alone are responsible for your own happiness. It is not your significant other’s job, or your job’s job, or anyone else’s job. You cannot blame anyone else for your own unhappiness.

P.S You can no longer pretend you didn’t know, the choice is yours 🙂

Signed,

A very happy twenty-two year old