Give Me A Reason To Be Beautiful

Today something very weird happened: I was browsing my Facebook account when I saw this picture, posted on Dr Martens wall. I saved it on my desktop and looked at it for five minutes; after that, I realized the reason why it fascinated me so much: I want to dress just like the young skinheads walking in Piccadilly Circus, London, in the late 1960s. This consideration came as a shock for me because my aesthetic world has always been connected to the other protagonists of the picture, the long-haired and scruffy “hippie” young people sitting on the right. I have no connection to the world of skinheads [1], but I’ve grown more and more fond of their style. This could be considered as a sort of insult, because being a skinhead is not only a question of aesthetics, but still.

5509_446276742110736_587495792_nTake the  first boy, for example: his outfit is exactly what I’d like to wear from now on – just a pair of jeans, a shirt and boots (I’ll leave the braces). I don’t know, maybe it would look a bit costumey, but I’d really like to try. In any case, I think my thoughts have deeper roots, dealing with self-perception and with the image I want to give of myself. Skinhead style (I’m referring to the outfit above, or to the classic Mod-inspired combination of Fred Perry polo shirt, jeans and Docs) is a well-established pattern and as such is empowering – you strip your appearance of fussy details and you focus on simple clothing. The result is you, stripped of all the things you realize you don’t need or don’t care of. If I refer this reduction process to myself, it really comes as a shock: I’ve always loved accessories, all the things women use to adorn their appearance, but I’ve progressively stopped wearing them; I don’t even wear my beloved silver bangle and vintage crystal necklaces anymore, let alone earrings or rings.

95a8eae022ae11e29bac22000a1c032a_7Shaving my head has surely had a great impact in the way in which I see myself. Cutting my hair this short is clearly part of the process above, but it’s also a step towards the revelation of my true self, along with tattoos. Only now, at 38, I have been able to eliminate all the external influences about my appearance from my mind – the pressure about dying my hair, wearing skirts or high heels, being trendy or fashion-forward. I must admit fashion itself has a different role in my life and this will come as another shock to those who have known me since 2003, when I loved buying it bags and experimenting with clothes and accessories.

Back to the picture, I took some time to analyze my feelings and desires better, because realizing I want to dress like a boy is a big deal. I’ve always had this attitude actually: I’m very girly when it comes to make-up and perfumes, but my style has been androgynous since the early 1990s, when I started dressing like Kurt Cobain – jeans, t-shirt and cardigan/sweater, the backbone of my style. Now that I’m curvier than I’ve ever been, the contrast between curves and a boy look is more striking (and sexier, in my opinion) than ever. You could say I feel the need to control my image by wearing boy-ish clothes BECAUSE I’m plumper, but I don’t think that’s the real reason.

My husband says it is as if I’m a different person and I think he’s right. I know the way I look today is like an armour I’ve created to protect myself, to reflect a different mindset and a different perspective on life, but at the same time it’s my inner self coming out of its shell. Is this possible? Can something be as protective as an armour but at the same time a reflection of your real self? As crazy as it sounds, I think it’s possible. Now I don’t need others to tell me I’m beautiful, because I am the reason to be beautiful [2].

[1] One of my high school classmates was a skinhead, but I didn’t like his style at all.

[2] The considerations I did after seeing the Dr Martens picture intertwine with some thoughts I had after receiving a comment from a colleague at school. He said he would like his future wife (he’s single) to look just like me, with super-short hair and all. I was flattered (and a bit embarassed) by the comment, which has given me the chance to think about what is special in my appearance. I’m pretty clueless, but maybe it has something to do which the contrast I was referring to in the post.

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8 comments

  1. I really enjoyed this post. It’s kind of weird because I now feel like I had been waiting to read something like this about the skinhead style, but didn’t fully realized it until I saw your post. I think I have slowly come to love the refined simpleness of this style because I’ve been friends with several skinheads over the years, even though I always felt like I was very different from them, and dressed accordingly. I totally get what you’re saying about the empowering value of this style, which is also why I started incorportating some of its key elements in my wardrobe. I feel kind of guilty when I look at myself in the mirror and see a girl that looks “too much” like a skinhead, because I know that I don’t belong in that subculture, but at the same time I really enjoy the way it makes me feel.

  2. Chi non mi conosce non crede al mio passato di adolescente grunge,che invece ha condiviso con me quel tempo dice che sono diventata cosí girly proprio dopo essere stata troppo in camicia a quadri jeans e working boots.Con il tempo si cambia,per fortuna.
    Io trovo il tuo look sofisticato,il cut valorizza i tuoi occhi e il make up.
    Basta Charlize! Finiscila di copiare Teresa!;)
    A.

  3. It’s a bit ironic that I stumbled upon this post after I checked out your Nars lipstick collection. I find this post quite brave and admirable though. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Hi I’m one of those skinheads that you refer to in the picture. I’m second from the front. Glad you like our dress/ fashion

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