Life is Too Short
Life is Too Short: Wear The Clothes You’ve Always Wanted
by Shammara Lawrence
Raise your hand if you’ve ever looked at someone in a chic outfit and thought to yourself, “they look incredible, but I personally could never wear that.” Not in a hating way, but rather, you’re impressed by their confidence while wearing something you’d personally consider too bold or out there for you to try on. My hands are raised alongside you, as I have also fallen victim to this limited mindset numerous times in my life. In fact, it happened frequently during New York Fashion Week while I’m going to fashion shows I’ve had to cover for my job as a fashion and beauty writer.
While walking into the venue, I’d inevitably spot a couple of people in line waiting to get inside dressed to the nines. “Wow, I love their outfit. I wish I could rock something like that,” I’d think to myself. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a diehard fashion lover. I’ve always been one for as long as I can remember. I was the child who would create clothes for my dolls out of my mom’s tattered old clothes she no longer wanted. I even went to high school for fashion design — and while I didn’t enjoy designing and creating clothes, I really loved dressing up for school each day in the latest trends and fashions.
Still, even as a self-proclaimed fashionista, I’ve always placed limitations on myself around what I could or could not wear. As someone with a curvy body, I strayed away from clothing that was too revealing, so no crop tops (unless I wore a tank top underneath) and definitely no tops or dresses with deep necklines. The thing is, though, you can never fully express yourself through your fashion or beauty choices if you’re restricting yourself from trying out different aesthetics.
This became clear to me while I was doing a closet purge in spring during the COVID-19 pandemic. With some extra time on my hands, I decided to do some deep cleaning, starting with ridding my closet of pieces I no longer love or have never worn. While going through my clothing collection, I noticed a pattern: lots of black garments, wrap dresses, and ill-fitting shapewear. As I stared at the soon-to-be-discarded clothes I transferred from my closet to bed, it sunk in: I haven’t been living up to my full potential in the style department.
It’s no secret that the past year and change have been transformative for many people, including myself. The past couple of months have really put a lot of things into perspective for me, such as the most important things in my life — self-love being one. For as much as I consider myself to be body positive and a champion of diversity and inclusivity of all bodies in the media, I was still following limiting ideas around fashion when it came to the way I dressed. Sure, I knew deep down I didn’t need to solely wear black in order to look “flattering” or because of its so-called slimming effects, and yet, I racked up too many black garments to count in my overflowing wardrobe. Where was the color? The Fashion with a capital F? If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that life is too short to limit or stop yourself from playing with fashion and beauty to your heart’s desire.
Before the Delta variant came into the picture, I started socializing a bit more with close and trustworthy (read: vaccinated) friends. These outings provided ample opportunity for me to finally dress up after a year of mostly wearing sweats and loungewear. I ordered a slew of vibrant spring and summer dresses in colorful patterns and figure-hugging silhouettes. I even wore a maxi dress that showed my cleavage for an intimate backyard gathering at my brother’s house. It was so uncharacteristic of me that even my mom was shocked when she saw my full look.
After a rollercoaster year, I’m granting myself permission to enjoy the joy and full breadth of fashion out there, and you should too. After all, fashion and beauty are incredible outlets to express yourself and your personality, so why not bask in them in all their glory. Hopefully, next time you see a fashionable person walking down the street in a look you love, instead of thinking you wouldn’t be able to pull it off yourself, you start planning your next shopping trip.
About Shammara Lawrence and The Power of Plus
Shammara Lawrence is a multimedia journalist based in New York. Specializing in plus-size fashion, body positivity, and social justice, she’s passionate about using her voice and platform to uplift and amplify marginalized voices that have been left out of mainstream media for far too long.
In July 2020, Shammara co-founded The Power of Plus with fellow writer, Gianluca Russo. In essence, The Power of Plus is a size-inclusive community promoting style, respect and love for every body through open and honest conversations (panels, IG lives, etc) and engaging social content.