The closet of a hoarder (Valley Magazine photo)

One of the most painful things for me to do is to wear a new pair of shoes. Not necessarily because shoes generally take a little time to stretch and fit to form, but because I’m triggered by an anxious feeling that they will be never be the same, mixed with a bit of I-don’t-have-everything-I-need-to-complete-the-look.

I am embarrassed to say that like shoes I also have clothing, untouched with the tags dangling, waiting for the perfect event, or accessories that I have envisioned.

In my online saved bag for ASOS, I probably have over 100 pieces, including maternity clothes (because I have already decided what I will dress like for basically every event/stage of my life). But believe it or not, I have three pairs of jeans that I rotate: two for special events and the other for running errands. I practically live in my husband’s boxers and t-shirts, while my pajamas remain neatly packed. Some have probably only been worn once. I have a particular taste and I buy things that revolve around it, but hardly ever wear them.

I often reflect on why I hoard some of my best pieces when clearly and undoubtedly, they are a representation of me in the truest sense. It has nothing to do with comfort and being lazy, but a general feeling of inadequacy.

There is this thought process that I go through before embracing my style persona that I clearly mapped out in my mind. It always leads to doing comparisons and shifts the focus from me trying to be truly appreciative. Admittedly, too, there were times when I regretted wearing an outfit to an event that was “flat” as Guyanese would say, which meant I was overdressed for the occasion. But this also does an injustice to the element of enjoying fashion.

Though fashion is a reflection of value systems and culture, both aspects reveal that self-esteem plays an integral part in living your best fashion life. In fact, I imagine two selves, my regular self and another superior one. Together with clothes/ideal outfit detailing, there is also a high ceiling of goals, often influenced by society.

Every time you keep the clothing you so dearly love, that remains neatly hung in your closet, from actually functioning, it feeds into you never feeling adequate. There is no right time to wear anything really (there are a few exceptions).

For style to be truly embraced, it must be honoured and in doing so we must practice wearing rather than storing for a perfect event that may never come. We must practice being okay with being ourselves and try to disregard how social media has accelerated the look of perfection.

Here’s hoping that we not only constantly imagine our best selves but actively believe that we are that person in reality in whatever we do.

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