#ThrowbackThursday: A letter to Alice
A few years ago while doing a stint as the Namibian fashion contributor for South African online mag REconnecteD.com, I penned this heartfelt letter to my daughter, Alice.
Then only a tiny three-year-old, Alice had given me three years of nothing but laughter and joy. I decided to share it once again and I hope that it inspires you to write the little girls in your lives a love letter today. Remind them how magical they are, how special they are and how absolutely perfect they are in all their uniqueness.
May You Never Lose Your Sense of Wonder
Growing up, nothing made me happier than dressing up in my finest Sunday dresses and looking my best at special occasions. Frilly dresses, bows, ribbons and lots and lots of chiffon and silk made me the happiest girl. I remember having my hair done by either my mother or my aunts – every Sunday, without fail. It was the most painful hour or two every week, but the results were always worth it. Looking good made me so happy.
As a pre-teen, I remember being so impressed with my mother's wardrobe, which at the time was the most hip and fashionable to my young eyes. One of my cousins and I would fight over who would one day own the floral double layered 80's style party dress my mother owned. We marvelled at how it moved when she danced to the latest kwassa-kwassa tunes at family gatherings.
Throughout my childhood, clothes made the world bright. They made me look forward to social gatherings that, as a shy, anti-social child, I wouldn’t otherwise want to attend. Clothes turned me into a who ever I wished to be on any given day – a princess, a tennis playeror even a rock star.
As I grew older, taller and more conscious of what society wanted young women to be, my confidence in whatever I wore faded. I struggled to feel pretty in anything I wore. My gawky figure and skinny legs exposed me to bullying that made me hate dressing up.
Suddenly, nothing I liked excited me enough to play dress up. Nothing made me feel beautiful.
The older I got, the more I realised that people use their own insecurities to make you feel like you’re not good enough. The moment I learnt this, self-love birthed a renewed confidence in myself and a return to my love of fashion. I don’t know much about the biggest brands and neither do I know about what it feels like to wear designer clothes, but one thing I do know though is that I love to look good.
One thing I do know is that nothing beats the feeling of a new outfit that keeps you up late at night just imagining how you’re going to style it. There are few things that make me happier than that - one of them is you.
You, my lovely daughter who turned out to be my twin in every sense of the word. You, who at age three already show such passion for fashion that I marvel at it. You, who already so sternly tell me what you want to wear and how you want to style it.
I hope that as you grow older, this confidence remains. I hope that even with the inevitable gawky teenage years when nothing seems to fit – that a sense of wonder remains. I hope you remain assured of what you want. I hope that when no one sees you as you see yourself, that even if you sometimes forget, at the end of the day you remember who you are.
Trends come and go. And return again. Always be yourself and know that it will always be in style to be you!
What you wear doesn’t make you you. No matter how much you love your favourite boots or that fur coat you’ll one day repossess from my closet, know that who you are will never be because of these things.
Never spend more than you earn on what you wear – unless you can find a way to make money from it.
Minimalism is your friend.
I hope you remember that your body is yours alone to do with as you please. However you choose to dress yourself is nobody's business but your own.
Finally, I hope you never lose that sense of wonder. That sparkle in your eyes whenever you wear your “princess dresses”.