An Intro to Fashion

After working over a decade in the fashion industry (15 years to be exact), if there’s anything I’ve learned about fashion, it’s that the foundation of great style is confidence. If you’ve read any of my other posts, you’ll probably recognize I list confidence as a foundation for just about anything.

8-4.jpg

The foundation of great style is confidence.

Just like every other component in our lives, fashion presents in its best form when we are confident enough to own the qualities that make us us.

Style is entirely its own word, apart from fashion. Many confuse the two because they are related, but it’s kind of like the equivalent of comparing your two-year-old’s painting on your fridge to a Van Gogh hanging in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris.

Style, like art, is personal. It can be a beautiful masterpiece and hard for others to understand all at once. Without the confidence to own who you are, you will simply be lost in a sea of copycats and societal labels.

When I first started in this industry, I was really just looking for fashion. The ability to buy my way into “the cool club”. I thought maybe if I disguised my poor upbringing, and made myself more relatable to the people that others were dying to be around, no one would view me as “the outsider” anymore.

I spent most of my upbringing desperately wishing to belong somewhere. to someone. to something. I felt ashamed of the disgusting trailer we lived in that smelt like an 80-year-old woman died while making spaghetti years ago and they just never could quite get the smell out….. I felt ashamed of my stepdad that was in and out of prison and often high or drunk when he was home, often not wanting my friends to come over to find the real situation that I lived in. Yet, I felt so distant from the life my dad had built with a new family that I wasn’t really a part of a whole state away.

But I digress. Because it is not in our trials that we make our story, it is in our triumphs.

At 16, I was offered an opportunity to work in the coolest store within nearly 200 miles of the 6,000-population town I lived in. I remember thinking, “Does she know the contents of my current closet are not a reflection of any of these brand name clothes that I could never afford?”

But I would quickly learn it wasn’t what was hanging in my closet that would allow me opportunities in the workforce; the clothes could be bought, my unparalleled work ethic that came from fear of survival was a quality that can sometimes be hard to find in this industry. What brought me so much success was my willingness to work hard and have a passion for helping others be at their best.

I’m proud to say I’ve gone on to tackle just about every aspect of the fashion world, from stylist to retail management, to design & production, to buying, and story brand strategist…. I guess you could say it’s been my one consistent passion in a sea of endless entrepreneurial endeavors.

I’ve always loved the feeling of helping someone find an outfit that highlighted their best qualities, according to how they felt, rather than by what any magazine was telling them would be the latest trend.

I liked recognizing myself in others- seeing that so many of us are questioning where we really belong and if it’s okay to share our whole selves with the rest of the world.

Fashion was the gateway to my passion for style and design. There is truly so much beauty in our individuality and the ability to represent that individuality of ourselves through things like style, music, writing, or whatever your passion is, it’s nothing short of a blessing.

Style requires you to be true to yourself when everyone else is screaming at you to be someone else.

When I became a mom, I went through a transformation that I couldn’t quite recognize; I felt lost in who I was and felt myself struggling to find that style I once had. I had no confidence in who I was as a mother, and I became obsessed with trying to be any version of what an acceptable mother would look like and bought things to impress others rather than feel more like myself.

I’ve struggled to let this part of who I am come back to the surface as I’ve continued down this path of self-healing and deeper discovery, but I’m so happy to say that I’ve been diving back into this part of my life with my mind open and my heart full of excitement. I think I will always find myself drawn to this industry- its need for so much improvement in the good it does for the world and its undeniable artistic beauty that it paints our cultures with at the same time.

As I’ve been striving to live a more intentional life that leaves little room for purchasing excess and crowding my home with the unnecessary, I’ve found the closet remains to be my weakness, but my efforts to purchase more intentionally and consciously are what I focus to maintain. The goal here is improvement, not perfection, right? Plus, mama’s still on a budget, let’s be real.

DSC09043.jpg

Speak to who you are without saying a word.


That being said, I’m delighted to be sharing some of my favorite styles, companies, tips for bringing authenticity to your wardrobe, and experiences from my time in the industry.

So tell me, friend, when is the last time you wore something that made you feel confident?

LifestylePaige Garrity