Do you always feel like the black sheep when you visit your hometown? Our resident fashionista has answers for the family members that just won’t let you live your best life in your amazing wardrobe. Here’s what Dana from Texas had to say:
Question: My family thinks I’m “too much.” They just don’t get my style, or any style at all. But I love showing off my figure, wearing the latest trends and making a statement. How can I stay true to my look without my outfit being the hot topic of conversation all night during holiday dinners?
Dana, 25, Texas
It’s a Family Reunion…how fun.
Maybe it’s just that you’ve grown up since the last time you saw your auntie, GG, and/or cousins, so now they get to meet the adult version of you. Or maybe you’ve kept your distance for a minute without warning to protect your peace. The typical “Where’ve you been?”, “You just forgot about your old so and so, huh?”, and “ Oh, you’re just too good for your family now?” passive-aggressive questions and assumptions roll in as you awkwardly sip on your hot chocolate, mimosa, or eggnog.
Then, once they get a good look at your face, their eyes roam to what you’re wearing. Your heart begins to race, you’re calculating what comebacks to put into play and how fast you can deliver them, but you’re also trying to be respectful of your family members without “popping off at the mouth”- an old Southern saying for overtly speaking out of anger or defensiveness. Sound familiar?
“But when you’re confident, it’s okay if you’re occasionally misunderstood!”
I’ve had my share of awkward moments with family members about my personal style. Fashion has always been a passion of mine. My style can go from convervative to provocateur at any given moment, and I’ve heard it all. But when you’re confident, it’s okay if you’re occasionally misunderstood! Whether you’re wearing a sequin jumpsuit or a white T-shirt and jeans, someone will have an opinion about it. You can either find a middle ground by wearing something that you and everyone else approves of without losing your true self (slip on that bodycon dress with a long duster cardigan or a kimono), or come up with some witty comebacks while wearing what you want unapologetically. Here are my favorite ways to protect yourself and the best times to use them.
Courtesy of HBO’s Insecure.
Nice nasty is being witty, but respectfully and with a smile.” Your aunt, wearing the tacky makeup she JUST learned how to do from “The Youtube” says something like “That sure is a tight dress for your body, you sure you should be wearing that?”
You smile. Take a breath. Tilt your head and say, “I’m just as concerned about your makeup as you are about how my clothes fit my curves. ” This will most likely leave her with that “ I never.” expression on her face that leaves room for you to excuse yourself. Or she might laugh and tell you how much she likes your with if she has a good sense of humor.
Remind Her That You Know Best
You’re naturally a trendy person, but suddenly everyone feels like they’re an expert on style by association. Your aunt in her monochromatic hot pink outfit with rhinestones, zipper, and button details in the middle of winter says, “Take it from me, you need to wear more color if you’re going to wear something form-fitting like that so you can camouflage your body”
Your response? “I’m sorry, I thought someone wearing summer colors in the middle of winter said something?”She’ll then grow confused and turn away as she gathers the fact that she’s the one who needs to reconsider her unwanted fashion tips.
“I love the way I dress and I’m not apologizing for it. Love it or hate it, it’s who I am .”
Don’t Y’all Have Something Better to Do?
Sometimes you just have to put your foot down and leave everyone speechless, respectfully. Let’s say that your family is very persistent with how often they express their feelings towards how you dress. You’ve done everything from distancing yourself to trying to ignore them.This time, the family bands together and takes turns teasing you, and this just isn’t the day to mess with you!
Smile. Take a breath. Tilt your head and say: “Isn’t it exhausting? You guys take all year planning those tired jokes when y’all could be using that same energy on something more productive like getting some business of your own? Such a sad day for y’all” Then say “anyone want dessert?”. You want them to feel like they’re losing their touch and should maybe give up on messing with you. I bet they won’t bother you again!
These suggestions are meant to give laughs, lighten moods, and make people reconsider teasing you next time. You can always end each example with “I love the way I dress and I’m not apologizing for it. Love it or hate it, it’s who I am .”