Fashion Empowerment!

Written by Tamyka Bullen

 I do not believe that younger people have wide choices in clothes because I am the proof in her 30s who is still experimenting with clothes. I disagree with fashion experts who say that young people can pull off more eye-catching outfits than older people because all young people have different sizes, shapes, and shades of skin colours. Particular clothes may not look good on them just because they do not fit their shapes or shade of skin colours. Snow white never looks good on my light brown skin and many certain clothes do not look good on me due to my small frame or just my shape.   

In my teenage years, I was not a fashionable diva since I was just a plain home-girl who always wore her favourite overall pants and t-shirts. I didn’t have a lot of clothes back at that time. I had a few rapper’s clothes while rest of other were stay-at-home. Nothing more. I had a small amount of clothes…maybe about 20 clothes. I attended a Catholic high school that required uniform and I led a sheltered life, so I didn’t have to worry about buying clothes to impress my peers. My parents didn’t buy me a lot of clothes. I didn’t have a lot of clothes, pairs of shoes, make-ups and jewelleries back at the time.
My fashion revolution had started when I entered Gallaudet University. I never forgot my freshman year, I wore clothes I wore when I was a teenager. I still wore the green overall pants, a childlike green and white stripped t-shirt, and a square-shaped eyeglasses. I was a practical nerd who only partied five times in straight three years. I was the gal who loved museums the most. I am not so sure which in the first or second year; I started buying clothes in the American clothing stores. Almost all my clothes were bright colours. I still keep the green bead bracelet that I bought when I was a student. Wow…I have it for more than 14 years now!!! But I was not that hard-core fashionable. Do I think I am hard-core fashionable now? Not really or perhaps not yet since my identity is still developing.

After I left my career as a teaching assistant, I met new faces and therapy; boom…my soul started to unfold front of me. There were so many things I had suppressed with the annoying and suffering years of various abuses by my parents but mostly by my mother. My mother was the one who constantly criticized my appearance and my clothes, as they were not fashionable. My mom used to dress nicely before she had kids ,and when I was a baby. My mom said that I had ugly teeth, bag of bones, never compliment about my clothes. One time she decided to pick what clothes I must wear for school when I was 13! I was forced to wear the ugly, really tight jean because as what my mom said that the pants would show off my legs. Oh gee…I was only 13 years old and I didn’t need to hear about that! My mom didn’t appreciated when I didn’t want to shave my legs and armpits. She called me lazy for that! She was so manipulative, and an emotional and physical abuser. Later I learned her secret…she dressed to attract men for sex for money and cheated on my stepfather occasionally. I was sexually molested by my stepfather when I was 11 and it had been continuing in my late 20s.

I understood why I preferred to be covered, showed less skin from shoulders to feet. And I had come to understand that I had no motivation to explore fashion styles because my mom criticized my clothes and appearance that made me felt I was not worth to wear any clothes. Although when I was at the university, I let my naked arms be exposed. 

After left Gallaudet University, my exploration in fashion styles was limited as I was busy working two jobs to pay the debt off for straight two years. After that, I enrolled in George Brown College, I juggled with school studies, two jobs and placements; my wardrobe was still a few but replaced the old ones. I discarded my old clothes to the third-world countries and bought new clothes. Eventually, it had became my tradition. Moreover, I started to explore in jewelleries more than clothes. I don’t know why. I explored in the fashion world a bit.  

During as a teaching assistant, students gave me a lot of used clothes they didn’t want to keep, and I kept some of them for work as I almost had no business clothes to wear. The employer had a strict rule was that there were no bare arms and a bit skin from my stomach to be shown. Almost all remaining tops and blouses I had were short that expose my stomach easily if I signed or bent down.  

Thanks to therapy and newfound friends, my fashion sense heightened in my early 30s. Also I suspected that to be in the LGBT world; I went undergo a massive fashion experiment. My old rule was that I must had different colours of pants until later I realized it was not necessary. Finally, I dived into and swam in the adventurous and ruthless fashion world deeply. Now, I looked around me, my wardrobe had exploded!

So many shoes.

So many clothes.

So many headgears

So many jewelleries

So many make-ups!

Are they a symbol of unpacking and showing my hidden treasures?

I know for sure I am lively, I gibberish when I feel very affectionate toward someone, tell cute jokes, laugh a lot, difficult to follow the rules, and have temper.

Anyways, back to point, I do not know if it is true that our tastes change as we get older. Because I wonder if I become too old and no longer look so HOT, will I wear what I wear today? Maybe my style change but I might STILL like bright and shiny clothes.

Generally, fashion experts say that if old people wear clothes what younger people wear, it will make them look ridicule. In my opinion, I truly believe that clothes are designed for seniors should be coming in various styles and have all colours to reflect their personalities. Unfortunately, there are not many clothing stores for seniors. Even worst is that I have noticed that seniors’ clothing lines are tedious and most are solid colours. Really pathetic! No wonder that old people can’t be adventurous with their wardrobes! Even shoes for young people will bring seniors a lot of aches. OUCH, OUCH, OUCH. I speculated at seniors’ shoes; they all were boring! COME ON! Time to vary their clothing lines!


Sigh…anyways, here are tips to find clothes you like!


1.     ALWAYS remember there are absolute no rules what to wear and what not to wear!

2.     Style comes from within! When you shop, look through clothes quickly until certain clothes catch your eyes. Your instinct knocks you and yells at you that it is SO YOU! You grab them and try them on until which ones look good on you. If you have a small amount of budget, so here is other tip for you. When you see clothes you like, try them on first to see which ones that fit you rightly. Then you compare the prices, go for cheapest prices! BUT sometimes it is a good idea to rationalize if they look good on some of clothes you already have. If yes, then they are worth to buy.

3.     Don’t ever think you are not beautiful enough to have kewl clothes. You deserve to wear clothes that you like to flatter your personalities! This tip should have seniors’ attentions as well!

4.     How many items in your wardrobes make you feel good? If you do not gravitate to some clothes or you say there are nothing to wear when you look through your wardrobe. It is a sign that these clothes are not right for you. Time to get rid them off! Your wardrobe should make you feel sexy which means it should contain amazing choices. We all have our own unique amazing choices in fashion!

5.     Rid off clothes that are not fit you or no longer look good on you anymore!

6.     Importantly, don’t follow trends, because you never know you’ll find clothes you like at cheap stores such as flea markets, H&M, vintage bargains (have wide variety of styles), or shop at someone’s wardrobe! And if you’re a woman and NEVER shop at men’s clothing lines, I suggest you to try to shop in the men section. Never know you will find something you really like there. I LOVE men’s underwears!

7.     Suppose you find certain clothes you like but you want to add finishing touches or want to revamp old items, then do it! Get a tailor if you do not have the sewing skills. 

After all, I like the fashion designer; John Galliano’s quote: “Glamour today is confidence, independence, not giving a damn, going for it and indulging your desires in fashion, life and living.”




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