Chris Kleiber told me in the 4th grade that all the other girls in our class were making fun of my outfits. He was perhaps the most popular boy in my year, yet he was always sat next to me because every teacher seemed to know that:
1) I’d keep him in line
2) There was no fear of either of us getting distracted by the other
But in a strange way, I felt like we were friends. I knew he was smart and not as academically hopeless as he pretended to be, and he treated me basically as an equal – In coolness terms that is – And that meant a lot to me.
One day, he told me that all the other popular girls made fun of the way I would regularly wear all black, with capri leggings layered under chiffon skirts. They laughed at me when I wore my patchwork skirt with my victorian-style ankle boots. And they thought it strange that I continued to wear yarn ribbon bows in my hair, even at age 9. (Hell, I am still rocking those looks now and wish I had kept that patchwork skirt!)
I told him that I simply didn’t care what everyone else thought. And the kicker is, I remember saying it and completely believing it. I didn’t care one bit. This was maybe the most important moment of our acquaintance, because I think, in that moment, I impressed Chris Kleiber.
“That’s great,” He said. “You should never care what people think.”
And he was right.
That was over 20 years ago. And yet, I am STILL being laughed at for the outfits I wear. Not by little 9 year old girls anymore, but full grown women. And frankly, I’m so over it.
I don’t want to feel like dressing a bit differently, or having fun with my look is going to subject me to ridicule from my peers. I am all for dressing appropriately, and following dress code standards, but I’m not into judgement or snobbery when it comes to how someone looks.
Since I work in fashion, this is all a little bit unnerving, but I keep going back to those wise words from the boy in my 4th grade class. You should never care what people think…I’d also add: unless they think something positive, in which case you should believe it completely! I think Chris would agree with me on that, and so would the popular girls.