DRESSING UP AS AN ART FORM


I was recently asked to write about why I dress up, which was in sync with my thoughts to update my ABOUT page too, so I've decided to share my short(-end) essay here.
Natalia Lialina,
May 23, 2017


DRESSING UP AS AN ART FORM

So, why do I dress up? Good question.
My original goal was rather external. My goal was to learn how to dress my changing body stylishly and up-to-date. I turned 40, gained weight, and after a long intense period of creating a Russian speaking community that would become an integrated part of our local community around Puget Sound, I started feeling disintegrated myself. It's only a figure of speech of course, but it tells how strong my feeling was. I used to be a stylish girl in my youth (growing up in the USSR, I learned to make clothes on my own, sewing and knitting). And here in my late 30s - early 40s I suddenly found myself disconnected with the feminine side of me. I wanted to feel feminine again, and that's how the blog started. 

By now, my original "external" goal has changed. It has not have gone away, but rather has moved. My dressing up is far beyond age, size or even fashion. It is rather creating my own style as I go. And true style has nothing to do with age, size, or current trends. 

Style is a character. 

My blog is now outwardly for people who "get it" and who want to share. It is for those who are somewhat like me – my colleagues, so to speak, in insanity, in passion. And it is also for those who feel lost and look for themselves, just as I did back in 2013 - eagerly absorbing the creativity of others, I wanted to learn. I still have many people from whom I learn. But there are also people who learn from me. It is an endless and beautiful chain.

Clothes have become a means of expressing myself, much like writing. Why do I write? Because I love to write and I cannot help but writing. As my artist friend Elsbeth McLeod said once, to not create feels like holding breath for too long. It's not just uncomfortable, it hurts! And that's why we create something, because we cannot not create. How do I know why this particular form of creativity attracts me? And why am I good at it? I don't know, and I can’t know it. And I don't think we even need to ask ourselves these questions. Let others be the judges. We are here to  create. We are here to experience joy and love of life through the process of creation. Clothes for me are like paint and clay for an artist. Clothes are my artistic means – that’s how I express my moods, feelings and ideas.

I do it because I love doing it.

It's all a play, an experiment, an improvisation! Different styles, different colors, different combinations. It was in this game that I realized that I was an Artist! I heard it about myself on a few occasions before, but I could not quite believe it. When I dress up, have a photo shoot and compose my posts, I feel it - it finally has became my inner understanding of who I am. Now I own it. I can be very different in this play – I can be strict or naughty, I can look into the past and rush into the future. I can be anything and anyone I want.
It gives me not only strength, but inspiration to live.


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All photographs by my husband Justin Donie who also helps me with the tricky English grammar, since English isn't my first language.


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