Today's post is one I've toyed with writing for months now! It's been something that has been playing on my mind for a while, but since reading Chloe Plumstead's post on "What The Spice Girls Taught" her, which you must all read, it spurred me on to finally put pen to paper and then fingers to keys and get some things off my chest about the world of typecasting.
As Chloe so beautifully (as always) said, I guess our first introduction into typecasting came from the Spice Girls, not something I'd ever thought of before (thats what I love so much about Chloe's writing, she makes you think things!)
We had the super cute and oh so feminine Baby Spice, Sporty Spice who was of course the tomboy of the pack, with Ginger and Scary being the loud and proud's of the bunch and Posh being, well, dead posh in that little Gucci dress. It was the hottest question amongst the playground, "which spice girl is your fave" and whilst most had a firm fave, I actually remember changing my mind ALL the time on who I liked the most. I think that says a lot about how I've shaped a personal style and more recently a career for myself, I'm forever changing my mind, forever adapting, evolving and forever fickle about the kind of things I like and don't like.
One day I wanted pigtails and platforms a la Baby spice, the next I was rocking my Kappa tracksuit and a skin tight pony tail and the next opting for crop tops and leopard print; the only one I didn't champion was Posh Spice, which again, says a lot about the person and the stylist I am today.
From then on I was forever trying to work out who I was when it came down to my style. My mum had ALWAYS championed that we didn't follow the crowd, however, as a 13 year old impressionable girl who is trying to avoid the mean girls, this was somewhat hard. I was desperate to blend in, something I learnt rather quickly wasn't something I was very good at. And whilst I tried and tested all the trends the cool kids were rocking, it was only when I was 15 and introduced to Enter Shikari, that I felt I really, truly, found my way in personal expression through clothing. I entered, albeit briefly, into the scene kid stage of teenage-hood, fit with fluorescents, OTT slogan's and hairspray, a lot of hairspray.
That then led me into the whole indie scene which is truly where I found myself and my love for styling once and for all.
As you can see from the above, my entire childhood was based upon stereotypes, and I totally get why. When we're younger we're desperate to find our space, to pave our way and to essentially fit in. We'll go down all these weird and wonderful routes of self expression depending on what others are doing, but to be honest, I wouldn't have had it any other way.
It's thanks to these two key stereotypes that I am the person I am today and I have a lot to thank them for when it comes to my personal style.
A question I am asked more than any other question, whether it's you guys, journalists or brands is "define your personal style" this question usually ends with "in three words!" It's a ridiculous question but one I always have the same answer for, "Different.Every.Day" and 'tis true, my style really is different every day!
Personal style is a depiction of the mood, weather and vibe I'm feeling that day, it's in the name, it's a personal thing that is genuinely affected by the surroundings I'm in.
So to define my personal style in just three words, well thats just down right never going to happen now is it?
The media and the brands in which we love to shop have a huge part to play in the typecasting of young girls and the way we feel we should dress. When I was working at ASOS as ASOS_Megan I was the "alternative trend girl" an alter ego I was pleased to have but a title that should have never been given. The other girls on my team were employed to relate to a different type of girl whether that be the "Scandi Girl" the "Glam Girl" or the "Grunge Girl" we were pigeon holed in order to appeal to a certain type of woman. And whilst I can totally see why this works in the world of retail, it certainly shouldn't be that way IRL.
I've been in a number of meetings where I've felt the brand or person was using me to tick off another box "thats the alternative girl sorted" and it makes me kinda sad that typecasting still happens in order for us to try to process and understand someone.
What I LOVE so deeply about personal style is that it is constantly evolving, heck it's human nature to change our mind, to try things out and to mix things up from time to time, we don't need to be put in a box as one kind of person and especially not to appeal to a type of person.
Personal style is all about discovery, it's about experimentation and it's about being inspired by everything around us (see this video here) It's not something we need to define with a title, we can be whoever we want to be and we can be inspired and take a little bit from whoever we want to also.
Similarly to when I was 8 years old and deciding what Spice Girl to be that day, I change the person I want to channel on a daily basis. Some days I'll rock head to toe pink fit with heart print and the cutest bag you could ever find, but then some days I'll rock my biker jacket with ripped jeans and leather clad boots and thats cool with me and clearly cool with you guys too.
We don't need to explain ourselves, we're just doing us and that just so happens to be a little different every single day. Personal style is a way in which to express ourselves to the world, however it certainly doesn't define us.
And whilst most stereotypes that come my way I will happily take with a pinch of slat, think twice before you label someone with something. Self expression through personal style is a beautiful thing, something that we have the power and creativity to mix up each and ever day to be the person we want to be that day, it's such a powerful thing to be able to control and something I whole heartedly commend those who are brave enough to do so.
So with that, I challenge you to not second guess yourself, don't doubt the sartorial choices you make or that others make, put on your whackiest combination and darling, just fucking own it! Let's banish these stereotypes/typecasts/pigeon holes once and for all.