Friday, October 25, 2013

Becoming Cream:

All my life I have resisted being like everyone else.  In Sociology classes at the university I attended, I studied groups and the science behind what makes people conform and not conform.  It troubled me.  I didn't want to be sucked into a group mentality where mediocrity was the goal.  It did empower me because it taught me that I have always wanted to be a little bit different. 

At my high school in the early 1980's, Vans were all the rage.  The preppy kids wore  Levi 501 jeans, Izod shirts with the collars turned up, and Vans.  I adored the jeans, but hated the dark blue wash that seemed to take an eternity to fade to the powder blue and white, dreamy softness that I thought was heaven.  I worked hard at fading my 501's.  I washed them constantly, left them out in the sun to fade, poured Clorox in the rinse cycle, and scrubbed them with my dad's sand paper.  It worked.  I had beautifully faded and velvety soft jeans while everyone else had dark blue and stiff jeans.   

I liked Vans, but didn't like the checkerboard pattern or the neon colors everyone else was buying at Nordstrom.  I bought white ones and dyed them pink.  Just a solid color of baby pink.  I made a huge mess in the washing machine and even got grounded by my mother for it, but it was worth it.  Nobody else had shoes like mine.  Soon, people started to copy me, either by special ordering a similar color, or by resorting to Rit dye like I did.  That is when I knew I had the power to change a trend, or at least skew it my way. 

I am the oldest of six children.  My father is a college professor and when I was growing up my mother did not work outside the home.  We did fine financially until my parents made the mistake of building a house they could not afford, in the late 1970's, at the time of the energy crisis.  I digress.  My point is that we did not have extra money lying around for high-school girls to buy clothes with.  I had to get creative.  I never really saw it as a bad thing--in fact, I loved the challenge of coming up with things that no one else would have. 

I raided my mom's old bureau down in the basement.  It was full of old clothes she wore in the 1950's and 1960's.  Little cropped cardigans, skinny stovepipe pants, pencil skirts, wool coats with fur collars, blouses with all different kinds of collars and sleeves, and more.  I had learned to sew and so those skills came in easily.  I could let out a hem or hem something up, change the sleeves, take off the collar or change the shape of it, put darts into dresses, you name it.  I also altered my own clothes.  I cut khakis off and turned them into Bermuda shorts.  I dyed a brand-new pair of Keds from white to khaki (there was no such color available in Keds then), and I cut a dress apart and turned it into a skirt.  I was always doing things like that.  I started shopping at the local thrift store, Deseret Industries, and found a treasure trove of things I could either use as they were or alter in some way.  It didn't take long before I had a beautiful, eclectic, and classy wardrobe.  There were the snobs that made fun of my clothes, probably because they didn't have the creativity or confidence to come up with their own style.  I look back on it now and I believe some were really embarrassed for me, some were jealous of my ability to rock my own look, and some were just jealous of the clothes. 

I have continued this hobby and love of showing creativity through clothing for my whole life.  I absolutely adore shopping at thrift stores.  My husband jokes that my closet has no middle ground--it's either Macy's and Sak's or thift store.  I have found stunningly gorgeous, pristine and classic things at the DI and other stores that I would never dare spend the full price on at the department store.  I have things from department stores and boutiques that I got on sale for ridiculously low prices.  I have things in my closet that I have designed and sewn myself.  And I absolutely love mixing vintage with H&M.  The point is that if I can do it, so can you. 

There is a difference between fashion and trends and true style.  Wearing what is currently in fashion is not very difficult.  You get an InStyle magazine and copy what's inside.  Being on trend is even easier.  You look around at what people in your area are wearing and you copy them.  STYLE is harder.  It is individual.  It is your own.  You can copy themes or take ideas from other people, but it is really about coming up with your own signature look.  Style does not go out of style.  It can't because it is yours.  Your style belongs to you.  What has become my style will not look right on my sister or my friend. One of my favorite people to watch for her gorgeous sense of style and individuality (and modesty for that matter--thank you, Diane) is Diane Keaton.  No one else is like her, and that is exactly the point.  Thankfully, God made us all uniquely different.  I believe it is actually His plan for us to be individuals, to be different from each other, and to be creative and use our talents that He has given us to express to the world who we are.  

The purpose of this blog is to share with you what I have learned over my lifetime so far about style, substance, individuality, beauty, creativity, and how we can best use these tools to make the world around us a more beautiful, colorful, charming and pleasant place.  I believe with all my heart that if we really know who we are and where we come from, we will want to present ourselves to the world in the best possible way we can.  It doesn't have to cost money or take up a lot of time, but it does require effort and conscious decision making.  We are all children of God.  He created us in His image.  Shouldn't we work harder on how we treat ourselves and each other and how we present ourselves to the universe each day?  

I am just Gina.  I have no credentials.  I am lucky to have a husband who adores me and has encouraged me to do this, as a way of sharing what many, many women have asked me to help them with over the years.  If I can help those women, maybe I can help you.  I can't come to your house and go through your closet and make-up drawer, but I can share here on this blog.  My desire is to keep this positive and do it with a spirit of gratitude and rejoicing in the talents I have been blessed with and to share and learn from you and the gifts each of you have been given. 

Be gleeful today!

Next time:  Why "Becoming Cream" ??