Guest post: Shoshi Winstanley-Brown
Bio: I’m Shoshi Winstanley-Brown and I’m a style and life coach based in London. I help people to live authentic lives that reflect their individuality and their personal goals. I believe in authenticity and self-expression. We are all individuals with unique gifts and talents, and with so much to contribute, held back only by our limited beliefs. We all have the right to express ourselves and our truth, whatever that looks like. I help people to move beyond societal convention, challenge their perceptions and reclaim their lives.
Fashion carries with it a very different meaning now than it did for previous generations. For a long time, fashion was restricting. Clothes seemed to wear people rather than the other way around. Individuals were encouraged to follow the status quo, repress their individuality and embrace the current trend. Both men and women were expected to adhere to particular ways of dressing that were in line with the gender stereotypes of that time. As an industry, and as a society, we have come a long way. Instead, clothing now serves in many ways as a vehicle, a channel through which people can reclaim and express their identity. We are working towards a time in history where fashion caters for everyone, regardless of size, gender, culture or sexual orientation. There is now a much wider range of options available to us. Certain shops are stocking larger and more realistic sizes, androgyny has not only become more accepted but has gained popularity as a style and we are seeing models with shorter hair and a more natural look. We have choices.
People often dismiss fashion as “materialistic” or “superficial”. For anyone who does, they have missed the wonderfully hidden depth of what it can provide for us. It gives us the gift of self-expression. Our image is something we carry with us wherever we go. What could be more important than being completely in tune with who we are by presenting ourselves in a way that is real, honest and reflects our truth? Our wardrobe can say a lot about us, but sometimes we focus on the wrong things. We worry too much about what other people will think and how we believe we are expected to look. Creating a wardrobe that really represents our personality, our character and our life is a lot deeper than just selecting something appropriate for the occasion.
We are surrounded by throw away fashion. Clothes that come in and go out so quickly that we have barely made the purchase before the next line is out and they are suddenly old news. In the last few years, the focus on sales and bargains seems to have increased. For a lot of people, it has almost become a constant must when making a purchase. It’s as if without the bargain the thrill is no longer there. We enjoy shopping as an activity. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I think most of us would be hard pushed not to enjoy it. But when it comes to the actual buying, we so often like something because it is “new”. The problem with this is that everything we buy will at some point stop being new. If we allow ourselves to shop in this way without questioning our buying habits and our values when it comes to shopping, we are destined to be disappointed. It feels great in the moment, we return home and the items are thrown haphazardly into the wardrobe, probably on top of the purchases from our last impulse buying spree. Other than being able to pin point how much we spent and the bargain we attained, we would struggle to explain why it is of value to us because without the price the item has lost its meaning. This is in many ways the society that surrounds us, but we have a choice. We can choose our values first. We can ask ourselves, what is it about those pieces I have already that makes me never want to replace them? Is it their individuality, do they say something about who I am as a person? Is it their quality? What are my values? Updating our wardrobe in any way should be an investment. Every piece of clothing, every pair of shoes, every accessory, should make us feel brilliant, not merely in the moment of its acquisition or on a level of beauty, but because of what it means and says about who we are.
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