For most of my life I have been seeking to present myself through the way I dress. I had endowed clothes with a power to express for me what I did not take the responsibility to live. I have never bought very expensive clothes, but I have certainly been through many different styles in my life, which I sought to perfect. If I had allowed myself to feel the disharmony in my appearance, I would have had to feel that I was living in disharmony and this would have exposed the comfort that was keeping me from seeing this truth.
Focusing my life on clothes and the perfecting of an outer appearance was my comfort to distract me from truly taking responsibility in connecting with myself and living that connection.
But the truth is, when I gave my power away to an outer image, no matter what I put on, it never gave me a true feeling of satisfaction. What looked nice on the outside actually reinforced a feeling of slavery – I was the slave of my relationship with clothes. If I didn’t have a certain look that I was after, I would feel like it was the end of the world.
I work in the Fashion Industry and this is our everyday life. We talk about clothes, we dream about clothes, we fall in love with clothes, we waste clothes, we hoard clothes, we spend all our money on clothes and we seek perfection in clothes. All of this is accepted as normal.
What made me question more deeply was the undeniable fact that, when I was honest, these repetitive choices still left me with a feeling of emptiness that was very unsettling. I gave myself a lot of patience and understanding, yet kept testing and being aware of how it felt when I continued this pattern of giving my power away to clothes and to the industry that I work for.
No matter what brands or designs I bought or wore, no matter how much time, effort and money I spent to complete my look, no matter all the approval the world gave me in confirming my uniqueness or sense of style – none of that made me more happy or confident. I was constantly seeking for the next look that would set me apart from everyone else. I used different clothing as a measure of how to present myself to different people so as to be accepted. If I wore an ‘office’ look to a fashion event, I would feel completely out of place.
I had many different circles of friends, so imagine how exhausting and expensive living in this way would be. Even when I wanted to quit being fashionable, I was still seeking approval in the anti-fashion statements that I wore. I was becoming more and more trapped and although I did not choose to see it, my body was feeling it all. Fashion is such an intimate part of our lives, and I began to question how I could dress myself to not feel perpetually empty.
Could this emptiness be a part of me that I was trying to fashionably hide?
Three years ago, because of Universal Medicine, I began to understand the responsibility of living self-love and self-care in my daily life. So I added a dose of that into what I wore and found the experience to be joyful and playful. Gradually I made love and care my commitment – the more I explored, the more things changed within me, which resulted in a gradual makeover in my closet.
The greatest change that I observed was – fashion used to be my protection. I used it to:
- keep the world out
- be attractive or unattractive
- appear more superior or inferior
- stand out just as much as to hide
- fit in or to be aloof
The truth is, I was using fashion to be everything but my true self.
With truly taking care of myself and my body, I began to consistently and steadily feel a sense of my own lovely preciousness, and that is the feeling I was seeking to dress myself with all of my life. The confirmation of who I am that I was looking for is now tangibly felt and growing steadily within me, with the love and care I now no longer hold back for me.
Naturally, how I wish to dress becomes an extension of the truth of who I am. A renewed depth of simplicity is felt and seen. I feel truly beautiful because it is my own love that I am now choosing to wear and share. Love can’t be kept for one or a few: separatism and elitism just does not suit my taste any more. Now when I look into my heart closet, it is love that is selected and it is worn with deep care and nurturing every day.
This is true fashion – fashion that is timeless, ageless, genderless and always in vogue; it never needs approval and it comes as a complete look that everyone is able to wear and look beautiful in.
By Adele Leung, Creative Director/Fashion Stylist, Hong Kong