Growing up, I lived with my mom who is kind of a big science nerd and REALLY enjoys numbers and creating tables and charts (barf). She loathes shopping of any kind, but definitely knows her ins and outs of a quality bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. She taught me how to be driven, how to have goals and not allow anything stop you from reaching them (she graduated with her Masters degree after going back to college as an adult with a full-time job and two children). But fashion/aesthetics was just not something I grew up around.
As you can imagine, my mom and I have very different interests. And always have. I think for the better part of my life (honestly, only up until recently) I felt guilty or conceited to have an interest in fashion. Part of me felt like it was arrogant and narcissistic to put that kind of focus on your looks, but at the same time, I REALLY wanted to be “allowed” to like it. For some reason I just put so much attention on the opinions of others and what a shame and disservice I gave myself.
But you know what? I realized I didn’t need anyone to give me permission to have an interest in something. I realized that this interest of mine was not harmful, it was not offensive, it did not negatively affect me nor my family.. After recognizing the “safety” of fashion, I saw an opportunity, a path I was too nervous to really consider. I saw my dream.
Through middle and high school, sure, I bought clothes I thought were cute, borrowed my friend’s tops (and probably never gave them back, oops) and spent time on my hair and makeup now and then. I enjoyed feeling good about myself, but, again, I felt like everyone thought I was too self-absorbed to care about what I looked like so I always held back. I limited myself to what I was told to like, what was popular in the teen clothing stores, so I wouldn’t stand out. Years and years of “basic” or “easy” clothes just so I didn’t have to worry about being considered to be “self-absorbed”. I was always so scared to be “seen”, to have a voice, to have my own sense of style. Well, it was time for that to change.
The moment I trusted myself and allowed myself to just be “Jessica” was such a great moment. I started this journey with the release of my Nolan Top crochet pattern back in 2016. This was my first garment design and the moment I truly knew that crochet clothing was SERIOUSLY my jam. I was hooked (you can decide if that pun was intended or not, ha!). The growth I’ve found in myself since that pivotal experience to now has been tremendous. Not only have I found my own sense of style in my designs, but I have also allowed myself to be just as original and unique in my daily life. I used to try and match the “level” of dressiness for whatever I was doing that day (grocery shopping meant lounge clothes, play dates with the kids meant jeans or comfy pants and an “easy” top). But now I fully allow myself to dress up if that’s what I want to do. No matter the occasion. I am happiest when I have a fun, slightly eclectic, slightly high-end outfit on and a pair of killer shoes (whether they’re a pair of super bad-ass booties or even just some sweet Vans). And that’s ok.
Are you totally not relating to me at all? Are you nervous about fashion? About finding your own style, or being brave enough to let you show, no matter what that may look like? I know everyone is different, but there is the saying, “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” I apply the same concept, except I am choosing to dress for the LIFE I want, not the life I have. I want a life of happiness, of self-worth, of being proud of who I am and for what I am doing. For me, I love feeling fancy. I really enjoy dressing up. I have chosen to accept this and find ways of expressing it instead of feeling embarrassed of being “different”.
I am on a mission to be completely, 100%, unapologetic ME. Even if others may disagree, or see my choice as self-centered. Outfits can be powerful. Do you see the most successful entrepreneurs showing up to work in pajamas? No, they find a priority in themselves, as well as their business/endeavors. By simply getting dressed (no matter what style you prefer) each day, it can encourage and motivate you to be the best you can be, to be productive, to lead a life you can be proud of. Allow yourself to spend the time, the money (thrifting and Instagram resale shops are some seriously awesome ways to grab big name clothes and small prices), the focus on yourself. You’re important. Really, really important. Don’t forget that.
Ok, ok. Enough of the pep talk.
I am just so utterly thrilled to have chosen to let me be me. To let me be the fanciest, most socially awkward, fiber-loving-est Jessica I want to be. This new inspiration has encouraged some seriously fun projects in the works and I’m so ecstatic to share them all with you. I. Can’t. Wait.
Do you have any specific things you’d like to see me try? Share them in the comments and let me know!
Don’t forget, it’s ok to be you. Everyone else is trying to figure out how to do the same thing.