Many years ago, when I was starting school, I wanted (as all teenagers do) to fit in. My all girls catholic school had a lovely uniform (which has since sadly, been changed) and you would be forgiven for thinking that this would make it easy to look the same.
Unfortunately for me, my mother refused to buy the expensive woollen, ribbed tights the school uniform shop offered and instead bought me opaque stockings from a regular store. I hated everything about these stockings, they were brown not fawn, they were smooth not ribbed, they were far too big and had to be rolled at the top, they did not have the lovely teddy-bear coziness of the woollen tights and (worst of all) they were bought on sale to save money.
Oh, how I suffered in those tights! I felt so conspicuous in something different from everyone else. It was never commented on by anyone but I felt it in my bones that people knew we couldn't afford the expensive woollen tights and worse that these had been on sale when we bought them. Later, in my schooling I got the teddy bear tights and loved them however, the fact that I was now the same as everyone else similarly went unnoticed by everyone much to my dismay.
Two big things have changed since then. I no longer wish to fit in and seek out bespoke, one off items to make me a unique individual. My work place is not known for its sartorial finesse but I make a point of dressing differently to everyone else and it often gets noticed. And secondly, I love a sale in fact, I love a bargain and will often bore friends with tales of one.
I still see this today, hordes of teenagers on the weekend, huddled in groups, all dressed the same. They don't care if the current trend suites them or not. they simply want to fit in and so when the appointed alpha makes a fashion decision it is quickly adopted by the rest of the group. I can just imagine all the Facebook messages casually enquiring what she was going to wear and then the frenzy of activity trying to assemble a suitable approximation of this.
Why is it as adults we stop doing this? I would never think to ask a friend what she will be wearing when next we meet. I love the surprise of seeing them and enjoying the creativity and flair they display. It is as much about our outward selves as it is our inner. We eventually figure out who we are and feel comfortable enough expressing that thus the need to appear the same disappears. I wish I could tell the 12 year old me not to worry but the best I can do is dress for myself and express myself every day.
Find inspiration in your freedom and express who you really are the next time you get the opportunity.