Thoughts on Self Expression.

Words & photos by Carol Conway.


What does it mean and why are we so scared of it?

Oxford Dictionary definition of ‘self expression’: The expression or assertion of one’s own personality, as in conversation, behaviour, poetry, or painting.

I recently came across a global subculture called ‘Lolita’. This is essentially females dressing up in the prettiest,girliest outfits you can imagine. There are bows, ruffles,petticoats and so much pastel sweetness that they should carry a diabetes warning! Whether you like that style or not it still got me thinking why it is that some people have no fear in expressing themselves through their clothes but the rest of us are scared stiff at the thought of wearing anything that doesn’t conform.

You see, I would love nothing more than to walk around dressed head-to-toe in Lolita garb but the thought of how people would react makes me rethink my outfit choice fairly quickly. Now maybe it’s my country upbringing or even the friends I sometimes surround myself with…or mavbe I should be honest and just admit that I’m a big fat coward! If a small amount of females in Japan plucked up the courage to dress to reflect their personalities and interests then why can’t I? Why do we wear jeans and t-shirt combos when we could be having fun with all these different colours and textures? Why tie your hair back into a plain bun when you could stick a huge bow in it?

Now I realise that for some people dressing plainly is an expression of how they feel. I understand that your lifestyle can completely dictate what you wear. I mean, try running around after a toddler in heels and a big skirt! What about the rest of us though? I find that when I wear something a little different, most of the funny looks and whispers I receive are from the tracksuit and jeans wearers. Why bring someone down just because they put a bit of effort into their appearance? At the end of the day, if my outfit isn’t harming anyone then why should the general public be so forward about their distaste?


Happily the tide is turning on my days of ‘fashion fear’ as I’ve moved to the big smoke recently. Having spent some time in Dublin I’ve realised how much people can get away with fashion-wise. I just want to take everyones picture! I’m not saying I would do a Lady Gaga but I’m certainly going to go for it and try out some slightly daring looks. I won’t be 23 forever and I hate the idea of looking back on my youth and regretting that I didn’t wear that purple cordouroy shift or the leopard print wedges when I had the chance.

So here’s to dressing how you feel because life is too short and frankly I rather enjoy being myself 😉

Carol C @


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