“baju. sluaq. baju. sluaq. skirt. skirt. baju. tudung. sluaq. bagai. barai”
i chanted on as i divided my tops, skirts and pants from a huge pile of clothes that i’d removed from my cupboard. i honestly found it to be a huge hassle, mainly because there had never been any occasion in which i was required to pack my things and move, ever, in my life.
i looked over at my empty cupboard, to the pile of clothes and back to the set of clothes i spent two hours dividing.
that’s a lot, of clothes. they’re not new ones, nor are most of them recent either.
see i’ve never been the type to shop for clothes, because my mother never gave us money specifically to ‘buy clothes‘ with. the only allowance my parents had always given was always ngam-ngam, enough to fill my tummy throughout the whole week. i never managed to use any of the allowance for anything else but food or a cup of starbucks (and the daily cup of starbucks had always been out of personal preference). i was never the type to save up just to buy clothes for myself.
i’ve always been hearing, “only buy clothes when you’ve earned your own money. the satisfaction that comes with it is truly indescribable. at this point, only buy only clothes you need, not for trends. when you can afford it for real, then by all means, shop. take it from me. i would know” coming out from the mouth of a mother who went through tough times back then, only able to afford a roti canai a day in university, tying her stomach tight during dinner since she had no money for food and true enough, only able to buy herself modish and voguish clothes when she started working.
i appreciate her replays though, and it’s always inspired me to work hardest for no one else but myself and i.
before hani and i pursued haniandzue, i would wear the same clothes, rotating every now and then. some were tops that i’d worn back in my primary school days, and most of my clothes were handed down from my sister (or even mother, because she has great style). only after things were getting serious (and after i started donning the hijab), my mother agreed to accompany me for ‘shopping trips’ to calaqisya, h&m and zara because i had no clothes that were appropriate on-stage (and obviously because i had no idea how to be stylish with my hijab on).
so seeing all the clothes that i had on my bed (the pile and the organized), i thought to myself: packing is a hassle, especially when you’ve got no idea which clothes you should and shouldn’t bring.
i can’t imagine those of you who’ve got tonnes of clothes, some even unworn! you should probably go through your whole closet or even wardrobe room again incase you have to move out one day. you’d have trouble packing and clearing them out!
point is though, i’m happy that i grew up not knowing much about how to style myself and going through trials and errors of fashion. i know i’ve put on ridiculous things on my body, thinking i look cool and sh- when in reality i look like i either sell fluffy glittery headphones or work 11 onwards at sungei wang, but these are the phases that we all go through before we settle down comfortable, no?
i’m also happy that my mother’s the reason why i always think twice, thrice or even a gazillion times before i buy a certain top or pair of pants (i never fancied pants actually, its like the hardest word to pronounce in the dictionary of zue’s fashion sense) because not everything we like to see on mannequins and models would look good on us.
i tried once, going on zalora when i had some money and gave no second thoughts about buying certain dresses that caught my eyes. i chose the right sizes, the right colours, yes, materials were really comfortable and all in all, perfect.
i tried once too, going to physical stores and going all, “omg this top is cute? it’s so..” and i couldn’t even finish my sentence before i’d already found myself trying them on inside the fitting room, eventually buying em.
these clothes though, were the clothes that i still had in the pile that was on my bed.
“i can’t really wear this anymore because it’s too big on me now”
“this one, i can’t wear this anymore because it’s so kiddish and yeesh”
“this one.. where do i wear this to?!”
i spent the next hour nagging to myself. maybe because i grew up not buying clothes, and when i did, i never thoroughly thought of the times and situations where i’d wear it, and whether it’d last long enough for me to wear it in general.
my mother was right, and she had always been right.
so i wouldn’t lie. back then i saw lots of people wearing clothes that looked so pretty on them, and they’d swing their handbags, flaunt off the pretty hijab they get to wear and look so good in a flowy top while i look like a bag of trash when i try to style myself using whatever clothes i already had with me (since i wasn’t allowed to spend on clothes especially for the sake of trends) in any way i could possibly think of- but after much thought, it’s actually better that way.
with all the clothes i didn’t buy, i have enough to spend on good education, gadgets and cameras (that i truly love, i love gadgets i love gadgets and i can’t stress enough the fact that i love gadgets), makeup, my art supplies, and on the food/drinks at cafés that i usually go to, for a comfortable working ambience.
“no regrets growing up not stylish,” i thought to myself, placing the organized clothes into my luggage and zipping it. i looked to my pile of clothes, placed them in a plastic bag and labelled it, ‘to give out or donate‘.
“but full regret for trying to be something i’m clearly not”