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  • Writer's pictureTaylor Waits

New Year, Same Me: Part 1- Inspiration drives individuality

Updated: Apr 25, 2020

"We're all born naked, and the rest is drag."- Queen Mother RuPaul Charles

I was always going through a phase with my fashion. Or what I originally categorized as a "phase". To me, a phase was when you obsess over a fad, trend, or item for a while until you eventually move on to the next thing. I have always seen my life as a book, or an annoyingly long tv show. Each phase in fashion reflected the chapter of life I was in Chapter 6: Midlife Crisis #1, Chapter 10: I hate high school, Chapter 20: Hair? Who is she?, Chapter 21-100: Midlife crisis #2. I also have always thought that everyone has different parts of themselves and can access those parts at different times in their lives. I know, confucius headASS but hear me out. Who I am on a date is not who I am at work. Who I am at Thanksgiving would be appalled with who I am on my birthday. I think the same should go for my clothes. I may change any part of my outfit up to four times on any given day. As the quote above emphasizes, "We're all born naked, and the rest is drag." You can literally wear whatever you want everyday. Why not dress up, indulge in the human necessity to become another person, to embody a new personality. I want full fantasy darling! When I am at a conference I am exuding Black sophisticated business casual! When I don't feel like being bothered I dress like a hurried young professional, with large sunglasses and the biggest purse I can find. For the most part, life is pretty bland so at least I can look good.

I gained most of my inspiration in fashion from my parents. Both very bougie, but very stylish. I come from two grandfathers who are very sharp dressers, each with their own signature style that suits their frame and keeps them modern. I know right? My grandpa came up in my house one day with some Jordans on and the first thing I asked was "How old are your friends?" My parents, instilled the same importance of body maintenance and public appearance that was instilled in them. Always iron your clothes, only buy underwear from these stores (never the bag), and as most Black mothers emphasize for Black girls: mandatory earrings and a brush ran through your hair. Since my parents would disown me if I walked out the house looking any kind of way, and I always went to schools that required uniforms, I began my obsession with accessories.

For a while, I had a flower crown stage. I would make them for all my friends, sport my own at practically any oppourutinity, and loved being able to add something I made to my daily outfits. That obsession moved to earrings, necklaces, hats, shoes, and anklets. Yes, most of the time I wore all of these at once and I apologize to any glasses wearers who had to be next to me from 2008-2015 and constantly had a glare in their sideview. SIKE! Apologize, I looked fucking amazing you are welcome world.

In regards to fashion, I find it important to remain open-minded to different types of inspirations. I am inspired mostly by Black women, of course and for a long time that was it. I mean I grew up in a house where all the dolls were black, all the angels were black, and Santa was always and will always be a black man. With role models like Beyonce, Oprah, and Michelle Obama, it wasn't hard to stop the search there. Additionally, my problematic ass childhood friends did nothing to help either. The "oreo" label was particularly frequent during my pop punk phase. I loved my Black girl power, but what was being left on the table? What else could I draw from to create these outfits? Who is allowed to inspire me, who am I allowed to relate to, and who the fuck cares?

I had a polyvore with over one-hundred outfits, a youtube playlist full of DIYs and clothes repurposing videos, and a very active pinterest account. If it was fashion, and people did not usually wear it, I probably had it. I loved feeling unique, like what I had on was something only I could imagine.I make sure to always keep an eye out for fashion or beauty inspiration. Where I looked to the most was definetly Youtube. I would spend hours upon hours on Youtube watching tutorial everyday. Morning routines, DIYs, cooking videos, wood working, costume making, chile anything. All of these things that I could wear and do and say and so many amazing people to look up to. Some of my favorite beauty bloggers to draw new imspirations from are Jenn Im, idressmyself, Dina Tokio, IAMKARENO, The Fashion Citizen, Lua P, Amy Valentine, Natasha Lillipore, StyldbyChris, Barbiegutz, and Tothe9s. I continue to be inspired by all the black beauty gurus I grew up watching and still watch to this day, with some honorable mentions to Iris Beilin, TootsieTime, MsChrissyJay, TheNotoriousKIA, Lateef Thynative, Jennie Jenkins, Chizi Duru, and of course Auntie Jackie.

So what has been inspiring me lately? Mostly, my mood. I heard somewhere that this woman wore what she felt. If she felt sad, she would throw on a fierce and sharp all black outfit so she could be left alone. If she was happy she would wear a bright outfit to try and exude positivity throughout the day. I used to plan my outfits the day before, look at hundreds of outfit combos on my pinterest or polyvore, choose the one that I didn't already have a picture of on my instagram, and start my day. Now, it's as simple as waking up, allowing whatever emotion I wake up with to takeover and allow my outfit to be the outcome of my morning introspection. I know that sounds so serious and too dramatic, but that's like, my thing. Sometimes I feel like that bitch and just need to wear a 48-inch platinum wig and party dress to the grocery store, and sometimes I throw on slides and no bra to class. Sometimes I feel like more masculine and choose to go for a sports bra and some baggy pants. Sometimes I need to get into full fantasy and take three hours to do my makeup. Sometimes I wake up wishing I hadn't and adorn all black. I can do all of it and none of it and still come out looking like a hot bag of fuck me.

Another thing that inspires my closet? My bank account. I never inherited my parents' love of name brands and expensive clothing. It takes everything in me to pay more that $30 for a single piece of clothing and I am an undergraduate in college my budget is $0. I am a thrift store frequent. If you live in San Antonio, Canela Vintage is an amazing spot. I go there when I want unique, quality pieces that are vintage and won't break my bank account. It is owned by a badass woman who proudly reps for her heritage, her people, and her community. When I have money, and I need clothes, I give it to her. ( of my outfits are things I revamp myself, or tie loosely together with old tired belts. My mother and others have called it "homeless chic" but I can guarantee you that you will NEVER catch me and someone else wearing the same thing. It has never happened. I just don't want to be seen in something someone else can get, sue me.

At the end of the day, my style is me honey. It changes with my weight, my emotions, my bank account, with all that I do. Trends forever come and go so pick up a few and try them out. Wear that thing that seems out of place and own that shit. I always tell people you can pull anything off as soon as you put it on. Don't allow society, your race, your size, your age, or anyone who isn't you, determine how you look. Something I also always tell people is to only care about the person who is paying yo cell phone bill. Mine is my mama and I still barely agree with her fasion sense. You have the choice to speak something about yourself everytime you set foot outside your door. So secure that wig, put your best foot forward, and always look to stay inspired.

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