Three cheers for K-rock. That’s what we all call her, you know, on account of her rocking so much. Since Kristin first learned about our project, she has been nothing but completely supportive and enthusiastic. We have truly appreciated that support from a friend. Kristin is someone you know you can trust, know will empathize with you, and know that you will always have a good time with. We’re so excited she was inspired by our efforts to write a guest entry about her own experiences with fashion and passion. Thank you, Kristin!
Kristin: So after weeks of procrastinating, here I am, writing a post for Bina and Ena’s fashion blog – never thought I’d see myself type those words! It’s not that I don’t have a sense of style – I definitely have an affinity for pirate boots. (Hey, I like things with buckles!) It’s more that I don’t care, or maybe I should say didn’t care. However, after following these lovely ladies’ blog, I am inspired by their project to awaken inner passion by finding inspiration in what they wear. It’s not a project I would have thought to take on myself. I have always been a bit of a skeptic when it comes to the fashion industry – we’ve all seen some of the ridiculous ensembles that sashay down the runway, blurring the line between fashion and absurdity. After watching multiple seasons of Project Runway, I at least appreciate and respect fashion in an artistic sense. But I always felt that following fashion meant to blindly conform to society’s idea of what’s hot and what’s not, ultimately stripping away a person’s individuality.
Young Dork in the Making
This idea may have developed in my impressionable middle school years at a private Baptist school in Texas. First of all, I could never get my bangs to do that late 80’s/early 90’s teased waterfall thing with the curling iron. And I hated the preppy look that all the cheerleaders and rich kids had with their Dooney & Burkes and Cole Haans – future Stepford Wives in the making. I never understood paying hundreds of dollars for a bag with a bunch of colored DB’s all over it. (But then again, we all know what DB really stands for.) I was the girl that hung with the outcasts and weirdos, pairing my plaid skirt uniforms with Doc Marten imitations (my mom would never buy me the real ones), wearing enormous multi-colored hoop earrings, and listening to The Cult while my counterparts sang in the church choir. Sounds kind of cool and rebellious, right? Well with acne, braces, and a perm gone wrong, it didn’t exactly read Rebel Without a Cause. It was more like Dork Without a Clue. Needless to say, the pictures from those years are locked away in my parent’s closet never to see the light of day. (Mom, I’m talking to you.)
Once released from the clutches of middle school uniforms and prepdom, I went through high school wearing a lot of over-sized flannel (thank you Pearl Jam). I remember once I tried to look cute in some platform heels, but then I fell on my face in a hallway full of seniors my freshman year. These things scar, people! To this day, you will very rarely see me wear anything with heels, the evil contraptions. In college, things did not improve for me fashion wise. More times than I’d like to admit, I had to wake up early from a night of partying and race to make it to class on time. There were a lot of sweats and a tee-shirts in those days, and my hair was short and boyish. It was all about ease and comfort. Sure, there were times I dressed up, usually when I either had a hot date, or was trying to pass for 21 on 6th Street. I had three fake ID’s confiscated from me in college. Needless to say, my attempts were in vain.
My perspective finally began to shift post-graduation, when I met a dear friend while studying Shakespeare at LAMDA. I loved her eccentric and unique sense of style, from her giant fur hats and colorful scarves, to the over-sized granny sweaters she always managed to look good in. When I briefly lived with her and her husband in Manhattan, she would let me rifle through her overstuffed closet for clothing and accessories and marvel at her Prada heels. Knowing full well I would never spend that much on a pair of shoes, it was still fun to pretend – it was a little like playing dress-up. She taught me the correlation between fashion and joy – feeling good in what you wear – strutting down the crowded sidewalks of New York in a grandiose pair of sunglasses, an over-sized bag and a sundress. This, of course, was in the summertime. For the other half of the year, I looked like a Yeti. It’s just too cold to wear anything cute. The only person I know who still managed to rock style during the winters was Alexis. She is truly dedicated.
These days, living in Los Angeles, I can’t use harsh weather as an excuse to get me out of giving a rat’s ass about what I’m wearing. I don’t have a giant floor length comforter with a zipper on it to hide behind. It’s more competitive out west, with a whole new set of rules. With warm weather nearly year-round, and the beach a stone’s throw away, you never know when you could be forced to don a bikini in a house party hot tub. You are constantly surrounded by beauty, whether it be gorgeous weather, or gorgeous people. After a while, it gets to you. You size people up, compare your waist size to others, analyze your stretch marks, frown at your love handles while trying on bathing suits in the Target dressing room. It’s ridiculous but true. Lucky for me, I have my boyfriend Chris to bring me back down to earth, tell me I look beautiful with no makeup, slumming around the apartment in a pair of boxers and a 15 year old Dare tee-shirt with holes in the armpits. So I’m grateful for that – the support, not the armpit holes.
But at the end of the day, the cliché is true: women dress for other women. I feel like it tears us apart as a species, but maybe that’s just survival of the fittest out here in the wild wild west. It’s a vicious cycle of competition, especially in the “industry,” which is maybe one of the reasons I decided to bow out as an actor, at least for the time being. After years of auditioning, trying you’re damnedest to secure 2 lines on a commercial, smiling and networking until the corners of your mouth ache, walking into a room with 50 other girls who look very much like you and are wearing the exact same thing as you, dealing with some bitter queen-y casting director who obviously needs to get laid – one day I just had enough. It was making me feel like a whore, and not a pretty Julia Roberts whore. I realized that I had lost my individuality and that I was missing something – ah yes, my soul. And so… I gave up? That is the question I struggle with these days. On one hand, it feels good to be free from the obligations and stress of trying to work as an actor, but on the other hand, something is missing. It’s what I have done my whole life, so now what? Some days I just want to go through life dressed like The Dude, in the big white (and very soft) bathrobe Chris gave me for Christmas last year. Wrap myself up in a cocoon, drink White Russians all day, stop shaving my legs, and take life as it comes. It’s a very Zen idea of living. And very tempting.
It’s been over a year now since I’ve stopped pounding the pavement, and I can’t say that the time away has made me want to go back. Even though I am going through the post-30 “what the hell am I going to do with my life now” phase, I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders – I occasionally submit myself for projects that actually sound interesting and fun, not because I feel like I have to in order to “make it”. If I make it, great. But I’m not going to make myself miserable trying. Life is too short, and I don’t want to go through it feeling like art is an obligation. I relish the things that bring me happiness, that make me feel joyful. Which brings me back to fashion. Today at work, I am making my coworker take a picture of me for the blog, so I dressed up a bit. This has brought an onslaught of comments from nearly everyone walking through the door, which is good but also kind of weird for me. I don’t like to be checked out or hit on, which is probably why I never dress up. But at the same time, I also feel good about myself. Hearing the click-clack of my boots echoing down the hallway, listening to the jingle of bracelets and seeing a hint of the feather tucked in my hair – I feel vibrant and alive. I swing my hips a little. I look up and smile. I connect with others. I feel powerful and pretty. It feels good to feel pretty, and to me, that’s what fashion is about. Will I be subscribing to In Style anytime soon? Probably not. I will always be a bit of a tomboy at heart. But I do have an appreciation for the classics: a simple black dress, the perfect accessory, a pair of nylons with a line up the back. I love black, bold color, sound and texture, and a little bit of rock and roll. What I’m wearing today encapsulates who I am, and an outfit my friends have seen me in multiple times, with different accessories – this time with my new peacock feather tights from Etsy that I loooove. Which reminds me, I really need to go shopping. Perhaps we can make a date to go to shopping, ladies? Because it feels good to look good.