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The world stopped in March of 2020. We were forced to stay at home as we watched the world around us slowly start to shut down. We might not have realized at the moment, but we were living in unprecedented times. The uncertainty rocked me to my core, sending me into a state of constant anxiety. The pandemic and isolation brought things to surface that I never had the chance to focus on with the normal hustle and bustle of everyday life. These unforeseen circumstances gave me the opportunity to rediscover who I am through a medium that has inspired me in more ways than one. After about 2 weeks in isolation, I knew that I had to get myself out of this funk that was ruling my world. I turned to the medium that always brought me joy and comfort, fashion.

I opened up my computer and surfed the web for pieces to add to my quarantine lookbook. This shopping experience felt different from that of any shopping experience in my entire life. What am I shopping for? Where am I going? We’re living through a pandemic, why am I shopping? These are the questions I had to ask myself.

My style pre-COVID lacked direction and originality. I seldom took risks due to the fear of being judged. Playing it safe was the go-to, sticking to athletic wear, denim and graphic T’s, although I always envisioned my style as so much more than the safe route. This time felt like a better time than any to experiment with my personal style.

We’re now at home virtually 24/7, but you still want to feel good about how you look. There was a shift in trends to leisurewear around May of last year as designers tried to accommodate the needs of their consumers.

Leisurewear does not have to be boring. You can take a pair of joggers and add elements like leather to give the look more of a statement rather than just being a basic jumpsuit. However, as time started to pass and we all figured out how to move forward with our lives safely, we started to have reasons to get dressed up again.

Spending time in isolation forced me to take a look at myself. I realized that I did not really know who I was. I took out my journal and I started to write down all of the things that I was happy about and things that I felt I could work on within myself. Ultimately I came to the conclusion that I was not living my life to the fullest. Seeing tragedy all around the world with the way that the virus was tearing families apart, I knew that I had to make those changes.

In the list that I made, fashion and the art of creation were at the top of things that made me happy. I started to find ways that I could create things at home. Taking vintage denim jeans and personalizing them, giving them new life. Thrifting on online platforms like Depop gave me the avenue of finding pieces that aided in shopping consciously as well as having one of a kind items that I like to call hidden treasures.

Through this self-discovery I found that the old me that played it safe with athletic-wear, denim jeans, and graphic T’s, was a part of my DNA. However, I found ways to add more creativity to this style. You can stay true to yourself, and at the same time find ways to experiment with new things that you might have avoided in the past.

I also made a big change to my look. For years I had been wanting to change my hair color, and I was able to go to the salon to make that big change. It was one of the most freeing experiences in my life. I’ve wanted to color my hair since high school, but never did so because I was afraid of the change that would come with it. Doing this signified my personal growth and my journey to self-love and confidence.

Some people may see these things as superficial, carrying no real significance in life, but that’s not the case. Fashion is more than the clothes that we wear, it’s more than the labels on the tags. Fashion is the art of self expression. It is the way we paint ourselves. Experimenting with my style and aesthetic during the pandemic helped me see myself in a way like never before. Like a butterfly in a cocoon, there was a rebirth.

My confidence grew which has allowed me to continue to push the boundaries with my style. It is a constantly evolving process that I have fully submitted myself to. I challenge you to take the chance at rediscovering yourself through fashion.

Photo of Shawn Owens by Vagabond Aesthetics

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