Growing up, it was just my little brother and me. I didn't have any sisters to play dress up with, and he didn't have any brothers to destroy stuff with, so we inevitably became each other's partners, in both the traditional girly and boyish stuff. I'll never forget the times I used to dress him up in my old dance recital costumes, and he'd come out with a huge smile on his face, totally playing the part. Or the times we used to spend hours building massive Lego buildings only to crush and demolish them with our bare hands while pretending that we were giants.
We had an awful load of fun together, despite the many times I was the mean, older sister to him. We're both grown adults now, living our lives on opposite ends of the country, but you never forget the things you learned from your siblings. And from our many years at home together, one of the things we took cues from each other on was the way we dressed.
How many mornings did we see one another in the hallway as we came out to go to school? And how many times did we disapprove of the clothes we saw on the other? Despite my stubbornness back then (because who are you, little bro, to tell me what to wear?), there were actually some lessons he unknowingly taught me that I can look back on and see the value in today.
1. Makeup Doesn't Necessarily Make You Look Better
My brother could never understand why girls put so much makeup on. "It takes you forever in the bathroom, and you don't even look that different," he would say. While I still wear makeup today, he was one of the first to teach me that you don't need to wear a ton of foundation or frills to be beautiful, and that if I'm being honest, I'm probably either doing it for myself or for my girlfriends.
2. Don't Wear A Dress When You're Going Outside To Play
Despite how romantic it might look, especially in the above GIF from The Vampire Diaries, wearing a dress out to play is pretty useless. Whenever I was dressed inappropriately for the occasion of playing with my brother, it understandably annoyed him. I wanted to be cute, but he taught me that maybe it is better to be practical.
3. Wearing Dirty Laundry Is Never A Good Thing
I mean, I never wore dirty laundry, but my brother sure did. It's pretty safe to say that was an easy lesson he taught me and one (that I'm pretty sure) he has taught himself by now.
4. Have Fun With What You Wear
My brother was always making people laugh, even if it was with his own clothes. (Or the ones I made him put on.) Either way, he always had fun and taught me that being silly wasn't a bad thing — to let loose, and be free is just as important sartorially as it is in all aspects of life. And besides, you can never go wrong with a funny graphic tee.
5. Shoes Are Meant For Walking, Not Falling
My brother could never understand why I would want to wear heels, especially considering I was pretty bad at wearing them. He'd be sure to give me a little laugh any time he saw me falter in my "silly" stilettos. And I guess it's true: If I can't walk in them, I should probably keep them in the closet.
6. Beware Of The Stink Eye
If my brother gave me the stink eye, I would totally ignore him back in the day. But now I know it was just his little-brother-way of letting me know that what I had on looked... well, questionable. Brothers know a lot more than you think, and he actually knew me quite well. So he could tell when I was wearing something that was too much of a stretch from who I really was. An overdue thanks to you, brudder.
7. Compliments Mean A Major Score
My brother only gave me a compliment when he really meant it. And you know, apart from maybe your dad, your brother is the next most important male figure in your life growing up. So when it came from him, I always knew it was really true, and that whatever outfit I had on in that moment was a real win.
Images: Authors Own; Giphy