My fashion has been described as “peasant-chic”, “very colorful”, and “only you would wear that.”
I’m not sure if there is a generic way to describe my fashion sense because it’s a total mosaic of all the places I’ve lived and the cultures I’ve passed through.
Growing up in northern California meant that I dressed like a river hippie through high school. Then I began hanging out with the emo/punk/indie kids and blazers, studded belts, and Converse got thrown into the mix. Once I was in college, I realized high heels and curling my hair was expected to attract boys at crowded parties.
By the time I went on my first backpacking trip through Italy and Greece, my style was all over the place.
I studied abroad in Sweden for a year and this is when my fashion started to drastically change. I saw the effortlessly stylish Swedes dressed in black, all day, every day. I felt like a freak in my bright blue winter coat. Maybe it was going to IKEA so much, but I began to realize less can be more. My style became more minimal and less bohemian mix and match. I became obsessed with H&M and Cheap Monday jeans.
South Korea is where many trends in Asia start and Seoul has definitely become a fashion capital in the world. My students called me “fashionista” and I decided I needed to live up to that nickname.
I was making good money and the underground shopping malls were pervasive, so I spent a good amount my time in South Korea shopping and becoming obsessed with my looks. I also bought into the cutesy, little girl style and wore lots of headbands, patterned tights, and short skirts.
I headed next to northern Spain, where dreadlocks and rain jackets were all the rage. I honestly wore my black boots (that some girl left behind in my new apartment) and army green jacket every day. My cute fashions from South Korea slowly drifted away, but I still wore short skirts, albeit with tights and boots, when I could.
Taiwan seemed very unfashionable compared to South Korea. People could go out and party in whatever they wanted. Shopping was cheap, but most of the fashion seemed stuck in the bad parts of the 90s. I still enjoyed dressing up for my English teacher job, but the rainy, windy winters and humid summers had me dressing quite casually and deciding I no longer liked high heels. I also went through a fake glasses phase, which I don’t regret.
Now that I live and work in Phuket, Thailand, it is comical to call my style in Taiwan “casual” because now I dress like a beach bum. At the moment, I’m wearing baggy jean shorts, a cotton tank top, and my hair is not brushed. I’m not wearing make-up, my shoes are Tevas, and yes, I’m in public. At work, I throw my hair into a messy bun, put my uniform (a button-up and long black skirt) on, and only wear make-up if it’s a holiday or important day. People in Phuket don’t worry much about what they wear. It needs to be easy, comfortable, and something you could end up at the beach in. The clothes I brought from Taiwan sit in the back of my closet. They are deemed to fancy for my life here.
I’ll be heading back to California and we’ll see if I revert back to the river hippie look, if I will bust out my dancing heels from South Korea, or rock a nice, black dress from Sweden.
Most likely, I am going to mix it all together and keep it eclectic; just like my travels.