Bandeaus and Bravery: How Moving to NYC Helped Me Develop My Sense of Style
I moved to New York City in May of 2014, and didn’t know a single soul. It was time for a fresh start, and NYC was the perfect place. Things in New York were very different from Louisiana; busy sidewalks, hot dogs were available all day, and everyone was so incredibly fashionable. I still remember the first time I was aware of the striking people walking around my neighbourhood. There was a beautiful black woman with an afro, pumps, and flared trousers. A man with short bleached blond hair power walked past the post office sporting a leather jacket with pins and spikes. Two women wearing khimars strolled next to each other, engaged in conversation. I was stunned with the diversity and authenticity I had seen, all within approximately two weeks of having moved to the city.
Within the first month of my move, I was determined to find a place to get my hair cut. I found a place closeby to the dorm I was living in, and got a super cool undercut. I had just left the salon and hadn’t even walked a block away, when I turned around and made an appointment to get my hair dyed the following day.
I had been thinking about dying my hair a crazy color since the 4th grade, and living in NYC gave me the guts to finally do it. This was one of the first major style decisions made for me, by me. It was risky and new, and I did it because I wanted to.
Within my first month of having green hair I woke up one morning angry and angsty. That day I reached into my bag of coping skills and pulled out the ever reliable “look good, feel good” technique. Whenever I was in a mood, I found that ‘playing dress up’ boosted my confidence and self esteem. I decided to style my hair, wear makeup, put on an awesome outfit, and grant the city the privilege of my presence. That was the first day I wore a bandeau under a sheer top.
When I moved to NYC I wasn’t very comfortable in my body. For lots of reasons, I wasn’t at a healthy weight, and it was difficult to find clothes that made me feel confident and stylish. If I wore a bandeau under a sheer top back home, I would have definitely received some glares of disapproval from peers, family, even complete strangers. I was taking a risk with this outfit.
It paid off. Within an hour, my mood had improved and I felt a bit more confident. If I thought someone was staring at me, it was reassuring to remember that I didn't know them, and probably would never see them again. With this one outfit, I started my journey to find my own style, wear what I wanted, and love my body and myself.
Nowadays, my closet is filled with pieces that make me smile. Whenever I leave my home I feel confident and genuine. Any day that I feel a bit down I make an extra effort to enforce ‘look good, feel good.’ Who knew that hair dye and a bandeau could be this powerful?