Have you ever sat on the train quietly, your headphones blasting Missy Higgins new album of soulful treats whilst you put your make up on and find yourself being stared at? I have. Melissa has too.
It’s rarely the dirty old guy you think it will be either, most of the time it’s other women and maybe staring is the wrong term, “studied” is a better explanation. Usually they’re curvy teenagers who’ve developed early or people my age dressed in baggy black sacks that look wistfully at my colourful ensembles. Sometimes they’ll stare a bit too long, catch my gaze and give a small smile and turn away, sometimes they compliment me and sometimes they’ll screw up their nose but each to their own.
It’s the teenagers who get to me the most, the ones yet to discover their style and self-confidence. They stand waveringly on the train, holding the pole sussing out my shoes, the cut of my top and how I apply my eyeliner. I want to grab them by the shoulders, hug them and tell them it’s ok, they’ll learn all this stuff and that it takes practice with a little bit of risk.
But to grab a child on public transport like that would be illegal.
So instead I always smile back and answer any questions they have, should they be brave enough to ask them. There is no guarentee that they’ll learn about fashion, about colours, cuts or trends. No one just wakes up knowing about this stuff. Mothers are the first educators we have when it comes to fashion that suits our body types, for the most part we inherit bodies that look just like theirs. But if their mothers have never been taught, how are they meant to teach, how are the young girls meant to learn?
Magazines help a little bit, they teach you the basic aesthetics and traditional silohettes but it’s a bit pointless if your body doesn’t look like any that are featured in the magazine. Where does this leave the teen with curves, the teen who doesn’t look like her friends, the teen with no self esteem?
Thank goodness for blogs.