Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Identity and personal style

I remember desperately wanting to look more fashionable when I was young, as I was sick of the clothes that adults bought for me. As a result of my mum's practice of putting me and my twin sis in matching outfits, I also wanted to look different. Hence I stole clothes from my mum's wardrobe. Needless to say they were way too mature for my age, but it was either them or ill-fitting Bugs Bunny T-shirts (I hate Bugs Bunny). All my clothes never really fitted well as I was at that awkward phase when grown-ups bought everything one size bigger to allow room for growth. I was lanky, flat-chested, had oily skin and hair, braces, acne, eczema and a terrible slouch because of my growth spurt. While I'm of average height now, then I was shooting upwards at a rate that made me taller than most of my peers. At one time I was almost one head taller than my sis. My height made me the defender in front of the goal for every game of Captain's Ball and perenially put me near the back of the classroom (my sis would be sitting a few rows more front).

Basically my hormones were going haywire and it was hard to look good at that age. Everything looked flat on me. I recall scrutinizing my face in the Miss Selfridges store mirror in Takashimaya (where Fox stands now), then a favourite haunt of my mum's. I never tried anything on as everything looked too mature (yet I couldn't wear children's clothes- the frustration!) so I stared at my pimples and wished them away as my mum was in the fitting room.

Irritated about people mixing us up and confused about my identity, I consciously tried to appear different from my sis. I cut my hair short while she kept hers long, or I'd do my hair in another way. Maybe it was the haircut that destined me to play the masculine role when me and my sis acted as a couple in drama class (ours was a single sex school). I even voiced the role of a boy in a soundbook me and my classmates produced. Actually, even now I still think of her as more feminine.

As a student with minimal budget I also had to wear alot of my mum's clothes. It's only recently that I'm able to buy more clothes for myself. While me and my sis used to share stuff, we can't really do so as much anymore. When I expressed my guilt to her the other day over buying so many clothes, she replied, "You should stop thinking of us as having a single wardrobe. We're two different people." Perhaps our practice of wearing the same things when we were young, and our desire to save money by having a single wardrobe, made me forget that we're actually individuals with different taste. We don't fit into the same size and we don't look good in the same styles. Believe me, sharing a wardrobe can be quite troublesome sometimes. There are some pieces that both of us love, so it gets double wear and wears out really fast. Because we're not the same size, some things are too loose on me, or too tight on her. Now with my imminent departure from Singapore individual wardrobes are necessitated.

I think I'm starting to get a better sense of my style, and my sis helps by telling me what works. The hitch is that she tends to be rosy-eyed and thinks everything looks cute on my figure. When I try something on she'll exclaim, "That's so cute!" Even if it's true that I can wear many styles, whether it fits my taste or not is another matter. I'll reply, "Really? Thanks, but is it my style?" I think people tend to take a better view of others than themselves. With ourselves, we'd be more critical, like, "Are you sure it really looks good on me?" It's so much easier to say, "Love it, girlfriend!" than "These jeans look hot on me!" However, I believe that a garment is not really for you unless you feel good and confident in it. No point buying something that's pretty and not wearing it. This has happened to me before. I'd ask my sis, "It's pretty, but is it TOO pretty?" Does that even make sense? I think what I mean is whether it's too feminine. Vintage long skirts are lovely, but they're too feminine for me.

Sometimes when we happen to be shopping alone we might spy stuff that we think is suited for the other. I've bought a green top that I think suits her (she liked it) and I brought her back to the store. A problem happens if I buy something for myself and she ends up liking it. Sometimes I have to get another one for her. I think it's better for us both now because we look more different and have developed our own personalities. At least the PE teacher won't be giving me the death stare because she thinks I skipped a round of running (you can guess who that was!). To be fair, I've done my share of petty stuff as well. I won't say what it is though. This is my blog after all.

No comments: