From a young age, it was evidently clear that fashion was going to be a pivotal part of my life [you should see my childhood photos!]. Over the course of my life, this journey has been shaped, formed and weaved in many directions. I have found that fashion can be all consuming if we allow it to be. It can steal our true identities, and force us to place our value in how others see us, how much we own, or how much we work. I have learned many things along my fashion journey that have truly shaped how I view fashion all of which have led me to now be speaking to you on this very platform! So today, I want to get a bit vulnerable with you by talking about what I have experienced while being a woman who loves fashion, and the how it’s changed my life.
Are you with me? To start today’s post, I want to first emphasize a key theme that has been a pillar in my fashion journey since the beginning:
You must first and foremost, no matter what, own your own STYLE and not be swayed by what the culture says you should wear.
That brings me to this next paragraph. My style is truly feminine, and I have embraced what that means to me through full skirts, lots of pink, and plenty of sparkle. You will almost alwaysssss find me in one of those 3 things, no if’s, and’s or but’s. One brand, that particularity embodies my entire essence of femininity is the amazing Review Australia! They helped me to bring you this lovely post today which makes me SO excited because I truly, completely love their pieces [and think you will too!].
They are officially launching in the US and have uniquely gorgeous, feminine pieces [again, right up my alley!!]. If you are like me, and love all things girly, Review has SO many lovely items. Remember: Don’t be swayed by the person that tells you not to dress up. BE YOU and own your style. As a BONUS, Review is offering free Intranational shipping TODAY to the US!!!!!! The gorgeous, girly, pink dress I am wearing in this post is from THEM and you can get it in time for Christmas- woot woot! Click here for all the goodness.You must first and foremost, no matter what, own your own STYLE and not be swayed by what the culture says you should wear. Click To Tweet
As a Child
Growing up, I was quite the interesting little girl. I absolutely loved being adventurous, going on rollercoasters, climbing trees, and the like. The funny part was that this adventurous spirit also came with a twist. I was adventurous AND loved fashion. Meaning I would go to amusement parks decked out in perfectly matching outfits, and climb trees in dresses. I was also the girl in 5th grade that would raid my mothers closet for pretty scarves and jewelry. I also did my hair a different way every day that year [#embarassing]. Even compared to my peers, I stood out because I always seemed to want to wear something different than what everyone else was wearing. At a young age, I learned that I was okay not being the girl who just “fit in”. I wanted to stand out and express myself. I was never afraid of being the girl who was the most dressed up at any occasion [and still to this day am proud to own that!]Click To Tweet
The Days of High School
In high school, I wore heels to class and would never be caught dead in sweatpants in public. I was voted best dressed Senior Year and couldn’t have been more honored. While everyone else didn’t see the need, I truly LOVED dressing up and expressing my personality outwardly with my fun, girly style. In high school, I learned clearly that fashion is and always will be a way to express my inner most personality outwardly.I learned clearly that fashion is and always will be a way to express my inner most personality outwardly. Click To Tweet
The College Years
I decided in college that I wanted to pursue fashion [big surprise!]. I remember my parents not being surprised one bit. I gave finance a shot, but knew I would never be satisfied as an investment banker the rest of my life. I loved math, and had a knack for it, but my true passion lied underneath. It was clear that my passions were destined to lead me into this crazy industry of fashion.
Alas, I switched my major to Fashion Merchandising with a double minor in Business and French. The interesting part was, instead of going to a solely “fashion school” I went to a 4 year college with many degree options. I remember in college so distinctly that everyone would walk around in nike shorts, sorority tee’s, and no makeup, whilst I would be found in dresses, heels, and lipstick in every class. Talk about sticking out like a sore thumb! Even on the days I had to truck it across campus, I still managed to dress for success.
My thought was, if I was in comfy clothes, I would feel tired and too comfortable and not be able to focus as diligently on my studies. To this day, I truly believe that dressing the part will mentally help your affinity for success as well as your overall mentality for endurance. In college, I learned that dressing up each day allowed me to feel empowered and confident, which in turn allowed me to press into being more focused and driven.
My First “Big Girl” Job
After graduation, I was ready to face the fashion world with spunk and determination. At that point, I had talked up moving to NYC for years in college, and was determined to move there upon graduation. But strangely, God opened up a beautiful door for me at an amazing [and v. stable] job in Dallas. The interview process was completely vigorous and intimidating for this job [they even made you go to dinner to test your manners with the other interviewee’s]. After this fierce interview process and actually getting the job offer [AND seeing the PAY] I knew I couldn’t turn it down. So, I started my career, ever so humbly at good ole, JCPenney.
Even at JCP, what I loved was still being one of the most fancily dressed up women. I didn’t own that much JCP at the time, but I learned the value and humbleness that came with incorporating both HIGH and LOW into my closet. In fact, I actually still have some things to this day that I bought from my days there!
I also probably got a bit spoiled beginning my career at JCP, because they had such amazing work life balance. I worked a true 8 hour day with a one hour lunch break. I remember working out at 5am every morning and feeling more balanced than ever.Hello #bestlife! It was through this well balanced working experienced that I also learned that fashion isn’t always about grinding your way to the top, balance can and should be prioritized ….[too bad this didn’t continue!].I learned the value and humbleness that came with incorporating both HIGH and LOW into my closet. Click To Tweet Fashion isn't always about grinding your way to the top, balance can and should be prioritized. Click To Tweet
Moving to NYC
After a year at JCPenney, I felt a VERY clear push from God that it was time to move to NYC. It hit me while in Mexico with my mom over mothers day like a giant WOOOOSH! Isn’t it funny how sometimes God does that? He just comes crashing in and shakes everything up. YUP!
After being spoken to so clearly by the Lord, I wrote down a list of what I needed to do to move to NYC. Roommate. Job. Apartment. Moving Situation. It was WILD, but I became truly in awe when all of these things happened in just 3 weeks! That is nearly UNHEARD OF! It was about 5 weeks after I felt the calling to move to NYC that I actually accepted a job [at the amazing brand, Coach] and MOVED across country. NYC had always been a desire on my heart. It was through this crazy move that I learned that God does want to give us the desires of our heart. Through steadfastness, and patience He will move even when we least expect it.God does want to give us the desires of our heart. Through steadfastness, and patience He will move even when we least expect it. Click To Tweet
When I was finally in NYC working at Coach, I thought as though I had made it and life couldn’t get any better. I had an amazing team, loved my new doorman apartment, and started going to a lovely church. THEN. Something amazing shook up my world [yet again!]. I got an insanely amazing opportunity to work at Barneys NY [the epitome of my fashion dream job]. GASP! I could have NEVER expected for this to happen, but there God went just blowing me out of the water… yet AGAIN. This specific story including my full experience of living my fashion dream deserves an entire post. STAY TUNED FOR THAT later on.
Landing my Fashion Dream Job
While working at Barneys, I have to admit that some days I felt like Anne Hathaway in the Devil Wears Prada. It was crazy, BUT ALSO, amazing all at the same time. One thing that specifically stuck out in my experience at Barneys was that in terms of style, I was not a typical quote on quote “Barneys girl”. Most of the employees had cool, effortless style. Sort of like that whole “model off duty” look. Easy hair, little makeup, and easy styled looks. I on the other hand, came strutting in with my stilettos, bold red lipstick, styled hair, and full skirts for days. To say the least, I was a touch out of place.
There were days people would go to coffee and no one would ask me. People would hangout after hours and I wouldn’t be invited. I felt so clearly not the typical “Barneys girl”, but also simultaneously determined to not let that impact how well I did my job. There were times that I almostttttt wanted to change my style so they would look at me differently. But I always stopped, realizing that if people did not want to like me because I didn’t look or dress like them, then they were the ones missing out… not me! Being at a high power luxury fashion job taught me the importance of not letting fashion define me. Style is an expression of my personality, but it does not define my worth, value, or my heart in any way shape or form.Being at a high power luxury fashion job taught me the importance of not letting fashion define me. Style is an expression of my personality, but it does not define my worth, value, or my heart in any way shape or form Click To Tweet
Moving to Sunny California
Later in my career I gave up this “dream job” for the sunny coast of California. I was ready for a change in lifestyle, specifically a change of pace. I took a job as a buyer at NastyGal which was quite the change from Barneys. I was only there for 6 months before getting offered another INCREDIBLE opportunity at a luxury fashion company in LA that bought designer product for stores in beautiful exotic hotel resorts.
When I got the job offer to be a Senior Buyer at this amazing fashion company my mouth dropped wide open. I could not believe I was being offered such a role as THIS. “Really, girly, little old me?! With my sequins, constant heels and not enough years of experience?!” Though I felt the title far exceeded my experience, I knew that God was opening this door because I was up to the challenge. Through surprisingly being given this wild job opportunity, I learned that God gives exceedingly, abundantly beyond our wildest dreams and works THROUH us to carry out HIS visions for us.God gives exceedingly, abundantly beyond our wildest dreams and works THROUH us to carry out HIS visions for us. Click To Tweet
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us..” Ephesians 3:20
What I didn’t realize through accepting this amazing opportunity was that since it was a small company, the unsaid mantra was often to “do anything to get the work done.” I was used to this mentality in NYC, but had specifically moved to LA to seek more balance and rest. I soon found myself working upwards of 60-80 hours a week and and every weekend would be spent at the computer. I was passionate and determined but sacrificed a LOT to do work all for the name of fashion.
Leaving Corporate for the Entrepreneur Life
I felt a very clear desire to LEAVE this amazing job, but I had no idea what in the world I could possibly do instead. After all, it was kind of intimidating to leave a career I had built, with a stable income, health insurance, and a 401K. I was really good at being a buyer, but if I wasn’t going to be a buyer anymore… what in the work was I going to do? I had been pondering the through of entrepreneurship for a few years, but just felt uninspired with no truly life shattering ideas….PS. If you’re truly struggling with this, check out my post on How to leave Corporate and become your OWN Boss!
Eventually something crazy happened. An idea for an amazing business sprung about suddenly. I was so thrilled and overwhelmed, that I decided to write a business plan with the help of my super intelligent brother in ONE day and presented it to my friend Kat that same night. After my presentation, she AGREED to which case I think I started jumping around with joy and awe. This was my chance for freedom!!!
Just a few days later, I ended up leaving this job, the amazing paycheck, and the crazy wonderful title for a life of entrepreneurship. It was fast and furious, but God can and will work at whatever pace he wants! What I learned through these long hours and sleepless nights was that I am worth more than my job in Fashion. In fact, my physical work does NOT define my purpose in life, but rather, my purpose is defined by God’s work within me and how I utilize that for the outpouring and glory of His Kingdom.physical work does NOT define my purpose in life, but rather, my purpose is defined by God's work within me and how I utilize that for the outpouring and glory of His Kingdom. Click To Tweet
The Overall Truths
All this to say, my learnings in the fashion industry have been far and wide and truly GREAT. My identity has been challenged, my spirit has been weakened, and my morals have at times even be tested. But in the end, this passion for fashion has changed my life and allowed me to see some extremely important truths along the way.
Fashion is not a way to glorify myself or my own style, but to rather showcase my inner personality through my style.
I have been called to shine light in the darkness of this industry where people wrap their identities in how much they own and how hard they work.
I have been positioned to share where my true identity lies, far a part from the gorgeous fabrics, lovely silhouettes and cool trends.
I have been shown that “fitting in” with my style doesn’t actually matter, because the truth is that I am uniquely, and perfectly crafted just HOW I was created.
I have been called to have persistence in faith and believe for the greatest, as it has been consistently revealed that my plans are less than His plans.
It is truly through all of these things and MORE that I can confidently stand tall through my fashion journey and embrace the truths that I have come to KNOW about myself and about my relationship with fashion.
If you’ve gotten to the end of this post, I want to THANK YOU for reading and for joining me on this journey. I hope this post has help provide some insight into my overall journey and relationship with fashion, and why I am SO passionate about spreading truth and light through this platform. Thank you for listening and being a part of this amazing journey with me!
Love you all!
Dress: Review Australia
Thank you to REVIEW AUSTRALIA for every so graciously sponsoring this post!