How Skinny Jeans and Boots Changed My Life

A Change of Mind Concerning Fashion

by Daniel Lau

I have a confession to make. I’ve never been concerned with my sense of style. This was all due to how overweight I was and how sad I felt about myself (I was 265 pounds and only 5’6″). Without boring you too much with my story, I found myself one day. I decided that I would stop having a pity party for myself and finally appreciate every part of me, even my body. From that point on, I worked incredibly hard to get myself to a healthy lifestyle (I just ran my first half marathon a few weeks ago).

I decided to reward myself on a recent trip to Los Angeles with a new pair of jeans. I can’t remember the last time I tried on so many pairs of jeans. Shopping for jeans during the days of my dramatic weight loss were simple; find a pair that fits well enough for my relative size (they’d be baggy within a few months). I’ve never gone through store after store in search of the perfect pair. My fashion-forward brother changed my whole mentality on shopping for clothes in general. Not only should they fit and feel good, they should create an enjoyable experience both physically and emotionally. It was a foreign concept to me until I put on my first pair of skinny jeans.

Listen, I’ve got fat calves. I won’t deny it. They’re huge and I’ve always been embarrassed by them. Putting on my first pair of skinny jeans changed all of that. They wrapped around my calves like a glove. For the first time in my life, I wasn’t “hiding” my legs, I was showing them off. The skinnies made me look taller and accentuated the good qualities of my legs. Non-skinny jeans always felt boxy, baggy, and, in so many words, failed to breed confidence in myself. Whereas other jeans covered up my imperfections, skinny jeans showcased my legs. The best way to describe my euphoria were these three words, “wear them proud.”

In gaining more confidence in myself through a pair of jeans, I discovered that I was selling myself short by pairing them with a pair of flip flops. I was diluting my epiphanic experience with sloppy footwear. My brother and I set off to look for a pair of boots. At first, I thought he was crazy. I had never worn a pair of boots in my life. I thought boots were relegated to cowboys or farmers working on feces-laden soil. I wasn’t going to let my prejudices prevent me from embracing yet another new experience. Like jeans, you have to find your perfect pair of boots. I can’t tell you how long (what seemed like an eternity) trying on pair after pair. But after countless attempts, I had another moment. First, they felt great slipping into them. Secondly, I stood in front of the mirror and carried a dumbfounded look on my face. Did the fashion world decide to pass me by? Why did no one tell me how amazing a man looks in boots? I bought them immediately. There was nothing that could sway me from my decision.

Since I began putting my new look together, I’ve received complements from complete strangers and criticism from colleagues. Although the reactions have been mixed, the one thing that can’t be denied is I’m being noticed. People appreciate my new style because I finally appreciate myself enough to dress better. My new style has changed my life for the better.

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