Fashion, Lookbook

Stare all you want, I wear my cultural clothes in public with pride

Something always held me back from proudly wearing my shalwar kameez in public - not anymore.

I inherited my love for clothes and fashion from my mother.

Growing up, I always watched her put together outfits for herself and me, and we shared the excitement when we got new clothes. Because of her passion, I was always well versed in what was going on in the Western and South Asian fashion worlds, and I soon developed the same passion.

All throughout middle and high school, I was always on top of the trends in both types of fashion.

While I had no doubt that I was trendy, I never felt 100% confident in myself, because I did not realize how important the development of personal style was. I was lost in the world of fashion, caught up in trying to keep up with everything new that was constantly being spewed out.

In my struggle to stay up to date, I forgot to pay attention to my own likes and dislikes.

I was afraid my cultural clothes would garner negative attention from people Click To Tweet

This eventually affected the way I felt in my cultural clothing.

I always embraced my culture and made it a part of my life; however, something always held me back from proudly wearing my shalwar kameez in public.

Whenever we had to stop by the grocery store to pick something up on the way to a function, my dad was always the one forced to go inside since he was in “normal” clothes.

While I was used to being looked at because of my hijab, I was afraid my cultural clothes would garner negative attention from people. I was always the trendy one in high school, and stepping out in shalwar kameez would have been seen as “weird.”

Read Next:  After 12 years on Facebook, I said goodbye - and it changed my life

Advertisements and magazines are always telling us that we have to look a certain way in order to be considered “stylish”; however, the truth of the matter is that style isn’t defined by how you look, but rather how you feel in what you wear. I didn’t want to face the “what are you wearing?” questions because I didn’t feel confident in my kurtas and kussas since they weren’t “stylish” in Western culture – or so I thought.

It wasn’t until I fully understood the true purpose of fashion and discovered my personal style that I started to lose the hesitation to step out in my anarkalis.

Because of my new gained confidence, I became unafraid of the stares and questions Click To Tweet

As I redefined fashion for myself, I started to incorporate more South Asian pieces into my everyday style.

I paid less attention to what everyone else was wearing and more attention to what I felt best in. If that meant wearing kussas with my skinny jeans or shawls with my blouses, so be it. I may be slightly biased, but I personally always believed that South Asia has the best fashion industry. I wanted to be able to express my appreciation for the fabrics, the fine details, the colors, and many different silhouettes of the clothes, but I didn’t think others would understand.

Because of my new gained confidence, I became unafraid of the stares and questions.

I accepted my love for my traditional clothes as part of my identity, and I wanted more people to understand and develop an appreciation as well.

In fact, I learned that I actually received more compliments from strangers than ever before. I am now at the point where I don’t feel self-conscious at all even when I wear a complete South Asian outfit in public.

Read Next:  Was the 2018 Met Gala trendy or just plain insensitive?

However, I know it’s not always easy getting to that point.

I am now at the point where I don’t feel self-conscious at all even when I wear a complete South Asian outfit in public Click To Tweet

In a time where fashion bloggers have taken over our Instagram feeds, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that fashion is an equation you follow, and you have to buy certain things to make yourself look and feel good.

However, what we don’t realize is that the reason those fashion bloggers are successful and look amazing is that they wear whatever they wear with confidence.

We’ve all experienced that moment when we buy something a blogger, celebrity, or model has for an outfit, but are disappointed when it doesn’t look or feel the same on us.

The key to style is not in the pieces you wear, but how confidently you wear those pieces.

It doesn’t matter whether those pieces are coming from your mom’s closet or your nearest Zara.

Hera A

Hera A

Hera is a cat lover, dessert enthusiast, and coffee addict finishing up my Master's in biology. Currently living in the mild (mid)west.

Our weekly email will change your life.