Since I was a little girl, I find it imperative to dress properly, just to look nice. I don’t remember when exactly I started, but I remember my parents played a huge role in educating me the importance of “dressing up nicely”.
It was a funny story really, before I hit puberty, I never bothered to dress up. I would always reach out for the first top and pants that were on top of the pile of clothes I owned in my closet. I guess my dad has always been more anal about this habit of mine. He would pass remarks saying “Takde baju lain dah ke????” (Are there no other clothes?) and “Asyik pakai baju sama je?” (Why are you always wearing the same clothes…) and “Kenapa pakai baju lusuh ni?” (Why are you wearing old clothes!) and “Ada ke keluar pakai seluar tidur. Pergi pakai jeans!” (Don’t you even think of wearing your pajamas out. Change into your jeans!).
And I remember I would make sure to dress nicely just to make sure my dad quits yapping on me, haha! My mom is more anal about cleanliness, but she’s also anti-sandals. Like, when we’re going out to the mall and if she catches me wearing selipar jamban (slippers) she would laser-eye me and say “Cubalaaaaah pakai kasut cantik sikit… penat je beli kasut mahal-mahal tapi tak pakai” (Can you wear nicer shoes? What’s the point of buying all those expensive shoes if you don’t wear it) with that syrupy sing-song voice dripping with lethal sarcasm.
Ah, good times.
And I think at that point of time, I started to grow my love towards fashion. My mom would always bring us to the shopping malls and I would stare at the mannequins in display and keep a mental picture of how I should dress myself up. Mom would always bring my siblings and I to shop at “Reject Shop” where we get to pick loads of trendy, fashionable clothes at super cheap price. That has always been our first humble shopping experience. Only when there are special occasions (like Raya) will my Mom bring us to fancier retail stores like Esprit and Mango to shop.
When Internet was introduced to the world, I started to get more creative. I scoured for more styles around the world, get myself acquainted with big designer names, update myself with Fashion Week looks and started saving all these photos for inspiration. And that’s how I started blogging as well – for the love of fashion. I posted my OOTD shots in my blog, editorial pieces, runway looks and also wrote fashion pieces… it was something I loved doing and I did it with so much passion.
So imagine my delight when I was featured in Teen Vogue! This was close to six years ago, man how time flies…
It felt nice to have your style acknowledged by a global fashion site. I had forgotten all about this, and I laughed reading the ‘Bargain Hunter section’. Yup, I am still the same old me #thrifty4lyfe. Although blogshop prices seem to have increased as well over the period of six years…
Other than being featured in Teen Vogue, one of my close up shot of my OOTD also got recognition from NY Times. You heard that right. THE. NEW. YORK. TIMES!
Interesting enough, this chunky necklace was my first ever purchase from a local brand Arared, wayyyyyy back, before they shot to fame. The brand is going places now, setting trends all over with their meticulous workmanship. It makes me happy to see local brands grow to build a name for themselves.
Anyway, I was also featured in a local website, Tongue In Chic, that was really famous back in those days. This was the beginning of the streetstyle era, and I remember Tongue In Chic was one of the first local fashion sites that started taking photos of random people on the street.
I regularly posted on my blog about my outfit details, and also on my old Instagram. I received a lot of love and encouragement, which I find was really uplifting. I knew instantly what I wanted to do in life: a combination of what I loved most – writing and fashion.
… this all happened before I decided to shut down all my social media sites – Facebook (basically dead), Twitter, Instagram (which I regretted, back then there wasn’t a deactivate button). All my friends, followers, connections, gone. I was adamant to live a peaceful and thus, social media rehab.
But that didn’t stop my passion at all. I keep myself updated, discuss about fashion with my mom, keep myself above the surface on the latest trends. I do dress up every now and then, although not conservatively since I have donned the scarf. I didn’t opt for a writing job after I graduated and came back to Malaysia. I went to a different direction altogether, but things still pretty much fell into place.
Now that I have resurfaced, people have been asking for me to resurrect my fashion blog, and since I already have “Je Suis, Zaty”, it would be the perfect platform for me to continue from where I left off. It would be nice but let’s just see…
I was privileged to be given the chance to portray my love for fashion from such an early age. Back then, it wasn’t a big thing, and people just do it out of fun as a hobby. But now, it can be a career. All you need is good taste in fashion, artistic photos, a truckload of followers and you are all set! But it’s always good to get paid for things that you are passionate in. Who doesn’t want to be paid just for dressing up pretty?!
Fashion is timeless and I think it’s great to have more people to appreciate it. To me it’s not just about looking visually appealing, but it gives me some sort of confidence that helps build my character. You look good, you feel good – that sort of thing. Style, on the other hand, is something so personal because it hints on the type of person you are. What kind of style do you opt for during your off days?
My style has evolved rapidly from my younger days. There are many factors that interferes my choice of clothes now. I truly miss the freedom that I had previously but y’know… change is inevitable… but the good news is that I get to explore and experiment with new looks I thought I’d never try!
So never let anything or anyone stop your from constructing your own style. Your style should define you. Be free to express yourself! No one can do YOU any better than yourself 😉