Growing up as an only child helped me in a number of ways, ranging from allowing me to become a pretty independent person to helping me feel at ease when meeting new people. But being an only child also helped shape my style in unexpected ways.
Being an only child isn't all sunshine and rainbows, of course, much like I'm sure growing up in a family with brothers and sisters isn't always, either. There were plenty of times when my friends were busy, so my collection of My Little Pony's had to step in. My close buddies would sometimes share things with their siblings instead of me, and I felt a lot of pressure to excel hard at life.
However, there were plenty of great things about being an only child, especially when it came to discovering who I was and how I wanted to portray myself to the world. I was (and still am) a very social person. But whenever I had free time as a kid and teen, I spent it scouring through Vogue and Elle Girl for style inspiration.
I'm not saying that people with siblings haven't had similar experiences when it comes to finding their own style, but being an only child directly helped me find my own. Here are some ways how.
1. I’m Not Afraid To Look “Silly”
I've never had to live in fear of being teased or taunted by siblings. Sure, I might have been bullied by people at school, but this was actually beneficial in the long run and allowed me to see who my real friends were.
2. I’ve Always Felt Totally Free To Experiment
Without the fear of embarrassing a sibling with my own unique sense of style, I could always do what I wanted sartorially, whenever I wanted. I could also try out new styles without the worry of "copying" a sister who tried it first. I've always been free to experiment with fashion and beauty in my own time and at my own pace.
3. I Usually Always Over-Dress
When you grow up surrounded mainly by adults, your style is sure to be affected. My own look was influenced by the grown-ups around me and I still often sport a semi-formal vibe in everyday life. I've never showed up at a party, for an interview, or to a special occasion unknowingly under-dressed. IMO, it's better to be slightly over-dressed than under.
4. I’m Open To Trying Out New (Or Old) Trends
I had no big brothers or sisters telling me what was fashionable and what wasn't, or scowling at me for wearing a new trend that only they were allowed to sport. Thus, I was free to try out new styles and rehash old ones, with the only opinions coming from my parents. And let's be frank: What they thought didn't matter anyway because they didn't know what was cool.
5. I Learned How To Dress Appropriately For Any Occasion
Growing up, my mom would offer her opinions regarding what she thought I should wear to an event or a special occasion. The style advice she bestowed upon me paid off, since it helped me learn to evaluate situations accordingly. However, I believe things would have turned out differently had I had a sibling who rebelled against authority or encouraged me to go against my mom's suggestions.
6. I’ve Adapted My Own Unique Style
Since I've never been dressed to match a sibling, I've been able to construct my own individual style from influences of my choosing. There's a lot to be said about having a unique identity from a young age and not being forced into wearing matching overalls because they made you look "cute."
7. I Don’t Take Fashion Too Seriously
Without the unwanted opinions of a sibling potentially bashing my self-esteem, I have been able to play with fashion and truly enjoy it. Yes, sometimes I arrange an outfit or look back at old photos and laugh at myself. But at least I'm not being laughed at by anyone else — or anyone else who matters anyway.
Despite all of the misconceptions about only children, I feel like my personal style has been positively affected by my upbringing. It probably also helped that my Beanie Babies were the main witnesses of my style evolution since they couldn't tell me their opinions.
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Images: Phoebe Waller