I remember Valentine’s Day 2006.
This sounds like a random date and well, it is.
I fell in love but not with a boy but something of an entirely different nature. You see, each Valentine’s Day my parents give my sisters and I small gifts.
That year I received chocolate, lip gloss and, unexpectedly, the May issue of Teen Vogue.
That was it. I thought nothing of the magazine in my hands because up until that point I was busy with teeny bopper magazines that dished the latest gossip. The glossy feel of the pages, the colors that popped, the scent of Chanel No. 5 and Vera Wang wafting to my nose with each turn of the page, sent me spiraling into a world of which I wanted to be a part.
So what upsets me is how people continually say that fashion is shallow.
What I cannot understand is where these people are coming from.
I understand the negative connotations that stick-thin models create.
I do not intend to glamorize anorexia, bulimia.
My heart goes out to these women who feel pressured to conform to what society says is right or wrong.
It is not fair that any woman should feel this way.
I believe fashion can make women feel strong. Developing a style is like discovering what you can be.
The messages these women created has catapulted feminism to where it is today.
Personally, I like to give a chunk of credit to Gabrielle “Coco” Bonheur Chanel for aiding in the start of women’s liberation. This woman sang in bars with her sister for pennies and created an empire of a fashion house that is still strong today.
Coco Chanel was a seamstress who looked upon fashion of the early 20th century as frivolous and constraining.
She challenged the societal norms that had depicted women in corsetted gowns, up do’s that would give the ultimate pony tail headache, hats that could be seen from space and called it all nonsense.
What I love about Chanel is her simplicity.
Her clothes have elegance and chicness to them that are simple enough to transcend generations.
Coco is the only fashion designer to be named on Time’s “100 Most Important People of The Century.”
Throw on a little black dress, add some heels, some chandelier earrings and ladies, you are going out.
Where did this classic outfit originate from?
Chanel. She cut the hem of a dress to the knees.
She went with neutral colors and threw away the obnoxious floral patterns.
She dropped the neckline of dresses and shirts and cut women’s hair to below their ears to create the bob.
Also, on a side note, she created the camisole.
I mean what would women have done without her?
She was not trying to create a certain look for one skinny model, she was trying to break a mold and create an entirely new mindset for what is feminine and strong.
It was suddenly OK to look a little scandalous, so show a little leg.
Before Chanel came around if a woman walked into a room wearing a short dress, she would not be painted in a bright light.
I feel that without Coco Chanel, the clothes we would be wearing today may look a little different than what we are used to.
Fashion has followed in this iconic woman’s footsteps. Vogue, in the 120 years the publication has been around, has featured women from Marilyn Monroe to Michelle Obama.
They have featured women who are independent, hardworking and beautiful no matter what.
When I read fashion magazines they make me want to strive to be charming and tenacious like Lucille Ball.
They make me want to be ground-breaking and classy like Mary Tyler Moore, outrageous and independent like Carry Bradshaw.
I want a career. I want to feel some of that power.
I want an office with a view.
I think more women should want to be independent for themselves rather than dependent on a man.
Feeling comfortable in what you wear can make you feel comfortable in your skin.
Confidence and having strong self-esteem can be the best accessories anyone can wear.
What we wear is like art and we should appreciate all works of art because they take time to create.
People say fashion is shallow but I think that is because they do not understand the message.
Helen Gurly Brown, an editor at Cosmopolitan for 32 years said it best.
“You must develop style. Every girl has one.
It is just a case of getting it out in the open.” I could not say it better myself.