Yes folks, those are my baby girls. My truest style inspirations. The ones who taught me to be myself…
When I was growing up I moved around a lot. As someone who was picked on I thought this was a good idea – new school, new chance to not stand out like a sore thumb. It didn’t actually work. It was like someone sent a memo to the mean girls at my new school letting them know I was transferring. Eventually I started doing everything I could to not stand out. Which wasn’t that easy to do as the pale skinned, freckled faced, orange haired, four eyed geek. I did everything I could (fashion wise) to conform and to be just like the other girls. I was miserable.
When frosted lipstick was in (oh yes, I am that old) I wore it. I hated wearing it, but I wore it all the same.
When I bought foundation I always bought it in the shade I thought I *should* be – the glowing suntanned goddess colour. I am pale as pale can be.
When I got married I put aside the picture of the blue 50’s style ball gown with miles of tulle in the full skirt and opted for the plain strapless white wedding dress I was “suppose” to want.
When I was running my business and having kids I opted for what everyone told me was practical and sensible – jeans and t-shirts. Even though I yearned for floaty dresses.
When my kids wanted to try something different when they were little I was all for it. You want to wear your spiderman costume to the restaurant for dinner? SURE! You want to wear shorts over jeans and long stripey socks over the jeans? GO FOR IT!
Then they reached school age and I became filled with fear. I dreaded them sticking out for fear they would be picked on. School crushed my eldest daughters spirits pretty quickly as she yearns for acceptance. My younger three might as well have said “F**k the world, this is who I am – take it or leave it” – sure enough, where my eldest daughter withered, they thrived.
It took some time after we started homeschooling for her to come out of her shell again. But she did. Then she started tagging along with me op shopping. She started wearing ladies skirts as strapless dresses – belted to fit. Vintage hats and gloves with converse and jeans. She has this amazing sense of style. You just never know what she will come out of her room wearing – and it ALWAYS looks amazing and now she just shines. The photo of her above she is wearing a crocheted beret, a stripey long shirt, a tutu/petticoat I made for her, rainbow socks and converse. She just radiates trendiness. All the girls now desperately want to be like her….and all it took was her deciding to be herself.
Miss 11, our middle child, has always been different. From when she would only wear purple clothes with butterflies on them, to dressing in 17 different layers at pre-school (her teachers always couldn’t wait to see how many things she would be wearing on any given day). She opposes matching socks and deliberately pairs them up mismatched and lives in hoodies. When she was 9 I allowed her to dye her hair. I have never seen her as happy as when she sat there admiring her shiny purple hair. Then she demanded it be chopped off short. All that long hair – I didn’t want to see it go. I knew purple hair was one thing, but as she was shunning dresses and wanted short hair I knew what was coming “are you a boy or a girl”. I was so filled with fear that I said no to the hair for so long. When we finally chopped it off the hairdresser begged her not to. After all – “girls have long hair”. She gave them the “f**k you, it’s my hair” look and it was done. She stopped shopping in the “girls” section and started demanding everything be “not girly”. The other day she asked for a mowhawk and I did it. I learnt to cut their hair awhile ago as I no longer wanted to subject them to the hairdressers who tried to talk them out of being them. If there is one thing Miss 11 is – it is unapologetically herself.
Then we have my babies. My twinnies have always been a little odd. At first I put it down to them being the babies. Then I thought it was a twin thing. Then I thought it was their adoration of Miss 11. But it turns out they are just not aware of the world at all. They think what they think and like what they like and that’s it. There is no “what do you think?” or hesitation. They just are who they are. Lion headress and a party dress? – sounds like the perfect thing to wear to the zoo. Hideous “chanel” sparkly baseball cap and a vintage playsuit? – just the thing to wear to the park. They cut and dyed their hair like their big sister. Tried looking different from one another then back to looking the same. Then the big test of my trust in them and let them truly be themselves. They asked to shave their heads. It wasn’t for a cause, or because someone they loved was bald…it was just because. As you can see from the photo they were pretty happy about it. They are truly individuals who have no interest at all in what other people think of them.
My girls have taught me how to be myself. How to say it’s ok for me to love 50’s dresses with 60’s handbags and 80’s ferragamos and 20’s cloches – and wear them all together. How to wear red lipstick or short shorts (it’s been very hot lately) and not be embarrassed. That it’s ok that while I love the look of heels, I can’t stand wearing them. How to look at things I love and say “I’m going to wear that because I love it” and not because it fits into some box of what I “should” like or what’s “trendy”. It was them that made me realise – I am not prim and proper and while I love all this vintage charm school stuff, I can still be snarky and sarcastic because THAT IS ME!
I had to let go of the fear of what people would think of me, in order to just be me. I couldn’t have done it if my brave and beautiful daughters hadn’t taken the lead and shown me how.
So todays question – who are your style inspiration?
Miss Fairchild xoxo