I came across some of my childhood photographs at home and it was interesting to see how I bloomed from being an adorable young girl who was dressed by her mum in pretty clothes with accessories to match, that is, ribbons, shoes, bangles, necklaces and earrings. Very stylish, if I may say so myself. Then came my teenage years, hmmm, these were cringe worthy, I was evidently still finding myself style wise and figuring out what enhanced my shape and ultimately looked good on me. Unfortunately, this journey consisted of 50% hits and 50% misses. It may have been the in-thing then but my clothes were somewhat unflattering. Either they were too baggy or they just made me look 20 years older than I was.
Report by Heather R
Then bathing was the primary thing as well as making sure my hair looked good, nothing more in terms of grooming. I would paint my nails during the school holidays and it would chip badly before I finally attended to it. As for filing my nails, why bother, jagged nails were more than fine with me.
In all this, my grandmother inspired me to be a woman. It took a while to jump onto the bandwagon but eventually I got it. She gives me the most lady-like gifts: cute grooming kits (nail scissors, nail files, tweezers and nail cutters), hand lotion, embroidered handkerchiefs, eye-shadow, nail polish and lip gloss.
Initially all three of us granddaughters received these types of gifts but I must say I have received the most of this type, possibly because I utilise them the most. I always watched her apply lotion to her hands each time she washed them. Her hands are my grandmother’s pride and joy, she keeps her nails filed and polished. If they were not growing well, she would paint on some nail hardener. Such a lady she is. No outfit is complete with without the perfect accessories: handbag, bangle, necklace and earrings, oh and not to forget the perfect scent.
So as I went through high school, I did not think any of the above mattered, rightly so, my time would come. In my last year in high school we had individual portraits taken for the school magazine and I had these caterpillar sized eyebrows and one of my friends said to me, “Great picture, we just need to tweeze your eyebrows and it will be a fabulous photo.” So once we were done with our exams I dug out my tweezers and began the torturous process of plucking out one eyebrow hair at a time. Tears streamed down my eyes as I endured the pain in my bid to look fabulous. Needless to say, after my initial experience I loved the outcome and a decade later I still pluck my eyebrows on my own. I also learnt how to cut my toenails and file them, use a base and top coat as well as how to remove nail polish when it reaches its expiration date on my toenails. To think I grew up believing I had ugly, long feet. Once I learnt how to groom them properly I came to the realisation that I have beautiful feet. The same goes for my hands.
Then came shaving my legs, something I tried again, probably towards the end of high school and liked and have not looked back since. I shaved my armpits as soon as the hairs started growing, courtesy of my mother who subsequently bought me my first couple of roll-ons.
University saw me experiment with make-up; I kept it simple, mascara, eyeliner and lip gloss. Eye shadow scared me because I was clueless on how to apply it. After university, I taught myself how to apply eye shadow and blush.
As I went about learning about fashion and grooming, I had a burning desire to leave the mundane world of accounting and join the more dynamic world of all things fashion. I did not know where to start but one day as I shared my passion with two friends they suggested I be a fashion columnist and here we are today, 25 months later.
Look around for inspiration
We are born girls and each day brings us one step closer to womanhood and one step away from being a girl. It is a journey that may have one, two or three wrong turns, but I am sure there will be more right turns. Enjoy the journey, find what expresses you the best, look for inspiration all around you and do not be afraid to experiment. Re-define yourself whenever you like.