The Fabric of My Life

Born in Singapore, I was raised in three cities before making it to Toronto, where I currently live. My name is Jasmine Gui and I am an English and East Asian Studies graduate of the University of Toronto. Currently a freelance writer and poet, I also run my own website where I document all my interests from music to skincare products and thoughts on beauty.

As an English specialist in university, I often spent hours in the library painstakingly putting together essays. This meant a constant array of different sitting and hunching study desk positions. With such a lifestyle, I soon learned that a pair of jeans or a collared button-up was not very forgiving if you were planning on a six-hour writing session, and there really is nothing more distracting than feeling bodily uncomfortable while trying to write.

This led to gradual shifts in my wardrobe over the course of my university career. Stiff materials and less forgiving silhouettes were almost entirely replaced by softer fabrics and looser cuts. I abandoned constant wear of pants or tight skirts in favor of leggings and tights, switching out my fitted shirts for loose tank dresses, sweaters, long tees and cardigans. The extra freedom made it easier to accommodate the weird contortions I put my body into when working at the library.

Feeling good in what you wear should always be the most basic condition of fashion. But what is “good” is based on personality, circumstance, and need. Stretchy, softer fabrics were “good” in my undergrad career because they allowed me to continue my sense of personal style while also serving in the best interests of my living habits. Adjusting my fashion choices to meet my lifestyle needs did not compromise my style or limit my options. I was forced to be more conscious about how my fashion choices would affect the quality of the rest of my day, instead of just the initial satisfaction of a good outfit. This made me a smarter dresser, and more innovative in making decisions about feeling good. Along the way I picked up the habit of turning some of my more casual work outfits into more fashionable looks with statement jewelry, and began a new love-relationship with necklaces.
I also began using lipstick to define the mood of my looks; either as complement or contrast to the clothing I wore.

Understanding that personal style is really a series of choices culminating to effect means more room to make decisions and vary up the elements within each look. A little attention to detailing can go a long way; this is true for writing as much as it is for fashion. Since graduation, the jeans in my wardrobe have been making a steady comeback, but they have also become just another option when I envision the trajectory of my day. Now, my style choices revolve around my needs and priorities, which may vary in color palette and silhouettes, but are always flexible, functional and comfortable. They reflect the life I live as a writer, but are still able to express my tastes and preferences as a person.

Fashion is very much the fabric of your daily life. Be intentional with it!

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