Beauty & Fashion: Finding authenticity through fashion


Olivia Viktora. PHOTO CREDIT: JESSICA REILLY


Olivia Viktora. PHOTO CREDIT: JESSICA REILLY

It was about five years ago that I gave my wardrobe a complete makeover. I looked at it hung up neatly on its rail — organized by color, of course — and thought to myself, “None of this belongs to the person I am today or the person I want to be tomorrow.”

I pulled everything down and ripped the garments from their hangers. One by one, I tried each item on, down to the last blouse. For everything I tried on, I would stand in front of the mirror and not gauge how the item fit but how I felt in it.

Some dresses made me feel childish, while a skirt I once loved felt much too girly. I picked through the pile of polyester and cotton until I was left with about 20 pieces. My once dazzling closet filled to the brim with shades of maroon, mint and mustard had been reduced to just three colors: Black, gray and white.

Now, I know what you might be thinking — those are funeral colors. And while they might be appropriate for a funeral, they also were the colors that made me feel what I always thought I was. When I slipped on my black motorcycle-style leggings with a chunky knit sweater, I felt cool and confident. A silk blouse adorned in ruffles gave me the feeling of elegance and maturity. These were traits I always saw in myself, yet my clothing never conveyed it to the world.

To keep the newfound cohesiveness of my wardrobe going forward, I changed the way I shopped. I ditched impulsive bargain buys, where you often buy an item just because of a good deal, for a more thoughtful approach.

From now on when making a purchase, I would ask myself, “Would the person buying this item have bought what you already own?”

By giving every possible addition a thorough consideration, I was able to craft a selection of garments that appear as if they were part of a single collection.

As we enter this new era and return to a more normal way of life, I encourage you to evaluate your closet. Take the time to reflect on who you are and how you want to look. Craft a color story.

Perhaps, like Jessica Day, of “New Girl,” you rock a lot of polka dots. Maybe your signature color is red. If you find yourself most happy wearing lace-covered dresses, don’t be afraid to wear one everyday. When you start to dress for yourself, you will find much more satisfaction in getting dressed everyday.

Once you’ve crafted an image, consider donating the clothing you no longer need. Local organizations such as Women UNITED’s Community Clothes Closet help women find clothing to wear to job interviews and training. By donating clothing that no longer fits your style, you could possibly help someone else find theirs.

Olivia Viktora edits for the Telegraph Herald.

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