I have always had an inkling that clothing is much more than just fabric used to keep us warm and cover-up. As a toddler, I remember having an emotional meltdown about having to wear a dress to a party. I was extremely uncomfortable in dresses and felt much more at ease in trousers. Maybe it was because I couldn’t climb trees in a dress or ride a bike, but I suspect it has a lot more to do with the subconscious symbolic associations with dresses and femininity. I am not the only one who rejected the princess outfit. Kelly, my wife and business partner, also hated dresses as a kid. But in order to conform to society’s view of how a little girl should behave and dress, Kelly and her mother had an agreement that on Wednesday’s she would wear a dress for library day.
“I felt really uncomfortable and angry that I was being forced into something that wasn’t me. It was very clear that I didn’t feel comfortable in a dress, but my Mom felt pressure to conform to what other little girls were wearing”.
Just like Kelly, I have always gravitated towards “boyish” clothes. During my teenage years and 20’s I struggled to find clothes that matched my identity and I always felt slightly uncomfortable about my appearance. Once I started to find menswear-inspired and androgynous clothes that fit me, I felt much more comfortable and my confidence grew. I noticed that people began to compliment me on my appearance and I no longer felt awkward in what I was wearing.
Iconic designer, Coco Chanel, once said, “Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself”. She couldn’t have said it better. When I look back to photos from high-school where I am trying to fit in with the girls wearing dresses and make up, I just don’t look confident or happy, vs today when I don a suit and a nice button-up shirt, and feel totally like myself. It’s not just us. Kelly and I have met countless numbers of women who feel this way.
Clothes are powerful! If you think about it, clothes are one of the main ways we express our personalities to the world. They are a reflection of who we are and give signals to people about what we stand for. People make assumptions about us based on what we are wearing. And most importantly clothes impact our own emotions and feelings. Some people feel amazing in a dress, others in a suit. It doesn't really matter, as long as it makes you feel comfortable in your skin.
This is why we started Kirrin Finch. We wanted to give people, including ourselves, clothing options that allowed us to match our inner personalities with our outside style. So let’s keep creating unique clothing and be accepting of whatever clothes make people feel good. It will only be a better world if we can all find and wear clothes that makes us feel like our true selves.