All around the world fashion has become this idea of whatever society claims is “beautiful” in the moment. Photoshop has taken over not as a way to touch up photographs, but as a tool that we are supposed to assume has been used on the pages of magazines and on photos online unless otherwise stated. We live in a time of false images and unrealistic expectations of beauty for both men and women. The pressure of these images has led many people to eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia. Such negative responses continue to exist because of the distorted images much of the media feeds its viewers. So many people seem to be talking about it yet very few are doing anything to fix it. It seems there are not many actions the average person can take to change what the large companies are doing, but there is something that can still be done, redirect the idea of beauty to its true purpose. The idea of tiny waists and thigh gaps hasn’t always been the standard of beauty. Belly rolls, corsets, and flare jeans have all gone through society’s odd eye of fashion which goes to show that there really is no one idea of beauty. Taking the lessons learned over time from the world’s ever-changing sense of beauty and today’s apparently transparent and implausible view of technologically made appeal, here is a fresh idea on beauty and how fashion should support it not destroy it.

What makes you feel good? What color can you put on to brighten your day? What pair of shoes do you own that makes you feel like you could conquer the world?  If you can’t answer at least one of these questions or are thinking the answer to these may be hidden somewhere on youtube from a beauty blogger or as an item you don’t own, maybe something you saw in a magazine last week, then your own view of fashion may have been skewed by photographs constantly surrounding you. Put all the images you may have of Victoria’s Secret models or a Kardashian’s Instagram page aside. You are not that woman whose face has been remade by a makeup artist and you are not that man who threw up last night to keep his muscle to fat percentage juuuuust right. You are not the wrinkles removed from an image of Madonna and you are not the billboard for some over-priced perfume. You may have heard this before, but I am going to say it again, you are the only you there is and you are beautiful. Keeping this in mind, try this for fashion.

Fashion is whatever makes you feel good. I don’t mean look at the photoshopped images and try to match them until you feel accepted by society. I mean, actually look at yourself in a mirror and stop evaluating your flaws, trust me, we all have some. Look, for once, at those wonderfully amazing traits that make you who you are. Now, what skirt do you already own that will bring out the color in your eyes that not everyone may have noticed before? How can you wear your makeup in a way that brings out and enhances your gorgeous facial features instead of creating ones somebody has told you to want? How does your hair naturally fall when you don’t purposefully part it, now, does that look better? I think if you look a little longer it just might. Comparison is one of the greatest evils that exists in fashion. Stop looking at other people and look at yourself. Don’t compare yourself to anyone just look at yourself. When you think about it does your wardrobe represent you or Kylie Jenner? Does your makeup reflect you or Gwyneth Paltrow? People have so many wonderful ideas and tips to share, but when we use them to mimic the person giving them instead of using them as material to make into our own, all individualism is lost and suddenly a world of copycats and barbie dolls exists. When you allow yourself to see fashion as a form of art and expression a whole new perspective will open up to you. Instead of wishing you had enough money to go on a shopping spree, open up your closet and look through what you own. What combinations have you never made before that you didn’t because you were worried what someone might think? What accessories can you put with that oddly patterned dress that make it look completely different?

Fashion has always been about trying new things which is why fads come and go so quickly. When you create your own fashion, however, you aren’t creating a fad you are expressing yourself as a beautiful individual because that is what you are. To the ex-best friend from middle school who told you not to wear something because of what other people might think, let it go. To the step-mother who didn’t like your outfit, let it go. To anybody who has ever believed that what they felt great in was ugly because of what someone else said, let it go. Forgive those people because they do not understand true fashion. They do not understand that beauty is defined by the person inside of the body displaying it. They do not understand that fashion is not a computer program used by a majority of people to create false identities. They do not realize their own beauty and for that forgive them and let it go.

Accept yourself. If you naturally have a thigh gap or tiny waist, congratulations you fit the current ideals of pretty, but in a few years when those traits are in the past to the media, do not feel bad. Continue to love yourself and accept yourself not as someone who can fit into society’s standards but as someone who is beautiful because that is exactly what you are. If you love contouring, great! If you love shopping, great! However, if you love contouring and shopping because that is what some super model would do, not great. Learn to accept yourself and when you find joy in breaking out the brushes and palettes because it is fun, when you find joy in waking up all naturale, when you smile and think “I’m pretty” then you’ve done it.

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