When I was younger, I didn’t understand the concept of “tough”. I didn’t know that the world would harden us if we let it, and I certainly didn’t know that my mom was one of the toughest people I could possibly imagine. Growing up in the middle of the woods in Arkansas led to interesting adventures. If you’ve been lucky enough to spend time with my mom & I during the holidays, then you’ve certainly heard your fair share of stories.
I’ve let life harden me. We all do. It pushes us from the innocence we didn’t know that we should treasure only for us to realize that all monsters are human. Style telegraphs so much more about us than what we can afford and what we have access. It pokes holes in our facade, revealing vulnerabilities most of us aren’t self-aware enough to acknowledge.
In the past two months, my style has evolved into a celebration of being alive. My ideal aesthetic life just so happens to closely resemble a collaboration between the Texas goth bar I fell in love with during SXSW & a bondage-adjacent fashion goth. I’ve purchased nearly every leather, pleated, sheer, item I can get my hands on and each day I get closer to living my life as an extra from American Horror Story: Coven.
While I could easily explain this style shift away with the arrival of fall, it goes deeper than that. As the chaos of the year gets further behind me, I am finally seeing what “normal” might look like for me as my hormones, and my mental health as a result, level out. I feel more vulnerable than ever before, which is never a feeling I’ve particularly enjoyed. This faux leather/fur/aggressive choker/dark lipstick armor is just another way for me to create distance from those around me through a very Fashion way.
Speaking of fashion, let’s talk about this ELOQUII dress that lit up my soul the moment I saw it. My rule is that if I can think of at least five different ways to wear something, it must be mine, and this dress was no exception. When it arrived, it was a bit thinner than I had anticipated (based on my previous experience with ELOQUII faux leather pieces), which is both good and bad. You won’t feel like your whole body is being smothered with leather, but a bit more weight might have helped it be more wrinkle resistant & hang on the body better. Regardless, I love it and look forward to seeing it in lewks through May. It’s a bit big on top because *surprise*, all those body changes I’ve been lamenting about have most notably impacted my bust size. I can’t win ’em all, but I can wear this dress with a sweater. Who wants some lemonade?
Get the look: ELOQUII Pleated Faux Leather Dress | Lane Bryant ankle moto boots (similar) | Universal Standard Thames Fog Dress | Stackable Sweets Leather Chain Choker | Panache Tango Bra (my review) | Zara Tricolor Faux Fur Clutch | Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Licorice |
Photos by the wondrously generous, patient, and kind Kristin Booker