As a fashion and shoe blogger, I’ve had a lot of style-related questions over the years, and one thing that struck me recently was how many of those questions revolve around the idea of fitting in: of following established fashion “rules” and doing your best to look more or less the same as everyone else. People planning a vacation want to know how to dress like a local, people looking to build a new wardrobe want to know which items are currently “on trend” – and so on, and so forth.
My answer to all of those “how do I fit in” questions can be summed up in one word:
You don’t always need to fit in. You don’t have to dress the same way as everyone else. There are no real “rules” when it comes to personal style, and it’s absolutely fine to just be yourself – even if it means standing out from the crowd.
There are some obvious caveats to this idea, of course. I’m not advocating that you ignore cultural traditions relating to clothing, or intentionally flout your employer’s dress code, obviously: that would just be plain silly. But you don’t have to slavishly follow trends either, or wear things that aren’t really “you”, just because everyone else is wearing them, and you don’t want to stand out. The impulse to “fit in” is normal, and it’s totally understandable – there are even times, as in the examples I just gave, for instance, when it can even be advisable.
Not all of the time, though.
The fact is, in the vast majority of cases, there are no real consequences of wearing something that’s a little bit different. Nothing bad will happen, I promise you. Sure, you may get a couple of curious looks, especially to start with, but it’s just as possible that those people are looking at you and wishing they had the courage to wear whatever they want, as it is that they’re looking at you and thinking something negative. My own personal style is far from unique, but it is quite different from the type of thing people typically wear in my small village. I would be lying if I said there aren’t times when I feel I stick out like a sore thumb, or that everyone is looking at me, but the fact is that I only ever get positive reactions from people in “real life”, and I get many more compliments on the outfits that “stand out” a bit, than I ever do on the ones that “fit in”. I also have way more fun when I wear what I want to wear – and that’s a good enough reason on its own to keep on doing it.
My ultimate piece of style advice? Stop worrying so much about whether you’re blending in with the crowd, and dare to be different: you might just enjoy it.[Image]