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Express Yourself, Your Way

I love fashion. Not what many people would consider trendy or current. Nope, I like my own weird sense of fashion. Often I will get an idea in my head for something I really must have. A bag, a jacket or something that fits some inspiration that just appeared in my head. So I will go searching for something only to find that it simply doesn't exist.

A couple years ago, now in Tokyo, I decided to venture into skirts made for men. Kilts, Yohji Yamamoto, Comme Des Garcons and other skirts. These were fun over jeans but I was not quite ready to go out in bare legs. Still holding on to the fear of how people would react, I felt it was quite scary to risk it on the streets, even in fashionable Tokyo.

Then one hot summer day I left the slim jeans and leggings at home and went out to an event in a proper skirt. It was a simple black O'neil of Dublin kilt skirt, pleated all around and sitting quite nicely in the space between male kilts and women's skirts. A perfect genderless piece of clothing. Matched to a simple black skirt and Dr. Martins boots it didn't seem to raise even an eyebrow on the train or on the streets of Shibuya. All that worry over reactions had been mostly in my head, most people were too busy with their lives to even notice.

So I tried again at our cafe, out shopping and more. After a while it just didn't feel anything other than normal. It was liberating. I could now choose whatever I want to wear from working men's style to high fashion skirts and venture out with equal confidence.

Before long I found I was being stopped by street fashion photographers and asked for taking a few shots. Their interest and enthusiasm reflected that I was far from alone in wanting to challenge boundaries. Feedback was overall very positive, opening the possibility that one day fashion can truly be genderless.

I know that there are places where this would be dangerous behavior. I grew up in one of those places where being different makes you a target. But now, here in the world where fashion is understood as art and expression and Japanese street fashion shows the way for even top designers to find inspiration, I can freely express as I wish to and show my Non-binary-ness, alternative-ness and simply Kelly-ness in the way I want to, when and how I want to.

Life is too short to spend it in clothing that doesn't make us feel like titans. So we should throw away limitations, forget fears, tear down boarders and cubby holes and express as we want to. Let fashion be a window into who you are and never let the world drown your creativity in vanilla mainstream expectations. Shine like the blazing star you are and let your fashion sense show through.

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