My partner gave me a compliment a few weeks ago that got me thinking about style. . .
“You look just like Mo!” she praised, assessing my striped sweater and pinstripe pants.
Now in my late 20’s, it’s taken me a long time and a dedicated effort to understand what kinds of clothes 1) help me feel most like myself and 2) complement my body. I’m gradually approaching a closet with items that are care-free, low-effort, and help me feel authentic. This, opposed to my previous wardrobe that I accumulated through budget shopping or urgent necessity (lesson learned: don’t wait until winter to buy sweaters).
In this process I’ve discovered that I feel my best in great jeans, a striped sweater or tee-shirt, and casual sneakers. With her compliment, my partner articulated what I couldn’t see before: I had reached this style through influence from my all-time-favorite fictional character. Mo — a cartoon and powerhouse personality from Alison Bechdel’s Dykes to Watch Out For — practically always wears a striped sweater, turtleneck, or tee and sticks to loosely-fitting silhouettes. Because she also has short dark hair like me, the comparison really lands. With an intense and sometimes frantic temperament, Mo’s simple clothes help to smooth the rough edges of her personality.
I see now that I’ve drawn inspiration from other beloved characters throughout my life. As a young girl, descriptions of Hermione Granger‘s dense mane helped me embrace my own frizzy hair, and I envied the looks of the young women from the movie-adapted The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. More recently, I tried to imitate the simple, timeless style that Andy from The Devil Wears Prada settles into. Mo’s distaste for trends and preference for comfort, however, feels a lot more genuine to my overall fashion outlook.
I still don’t have my dream wardrobe, but I’ll get it more efficiently if I follow the standard fashion rules I’ve observed from Mo and stay true to what feels good to me, as opposed to what looked great on someone else. Mo embodies a lack of concern for how she looks but with a strong commitment to how she feels, and that’s a fashion approach I can definitely draw inspiration from.