I’m an introvert who loves fashion, which can sometimes make things like wearing a cheetah print faux fur coat complicated for a few different reasons. Mainly it’s because I’m not frequently trying to wear things that make me stand out, and I rarely go anywhere that would feel worthy of such a statement piece — aka, I spend A LOT of time at home watching TV. But when I spotted the coat that’s featured in this post on the sales rack at forever 21 way back in 2014, I knew I needed to have it. Even though it was significantly more bold than any single item I had in my closet at the time, I’m a sucker for cheetah print and warm outerwear, so I figured I’d find a way to make it work even if that meant stepping out of my comfort zone.
Turns out, stepping out of my comfort zone was a lot more difficult than anticipated. I didn’t know then that what would follow my purchase was significant contemplation every time I wanted to wear the piece, but that’s what statement pieces apparently do for introverts — they make you think. Don’t get me wrong, I love clothing that is bold and different — Maison Margiela and Comme des Garçons are my jam. However, the thoughts that tend to go through my head when trying to pull off something ‘loud’ include: If I wear an item outside the norm will everybody look at me? Is it likely that someone will want to have a conversation with me about the piece, and will I want to/know how to engage in that conversation? It seems strange to wear a statement look while masking and watching Youtube haul videos on a Friday night, so do I need to make real plans with real people?
Basically, as far as #firstworldproblems go, it can be anxiety inducing to go from being somebody who essentially dresses under-the-radar to then pulling off a serious statement piece. But, as the years went on, and the cheetah coat collected dust in my closet, I felt myself wanting to break out of my introversion and just wear the damn thing. After all, it is real cute.
In order to feel confident, I started slowly acquainting myself with the piece. The more you familiarize yourself with something, particularly clothes, the easier it is to see the styling possibilities. At first, I would layer the cheetah coat under my big puffer jacket when it was sub-zero temperatures, or bust it out for those real special occasions, like a birthday or New Year’s Eve. I definitely did get questions and stares, but over time, I started to feel like the coat was more ‘me,’ so it didn’t matter as much. Eventually, I was pairing the piece with casual clothing, too. It’s now four years later, and the cheetah coat is one of my favorite pieces in my closet. It’s still special, and I don’t wear it all the time, but I don’t feel intimidated by it when I want to. Serendipitously enough, faux fur coats, especially those of the cheetah variety, are having a moment. So, that gives me even more of an excuse to sport it. The piece has also inspired me to pick up more statement items (looking at you, thigh-high boots and leather fringe skirt).
I get that faux fur or cheetah print won’t seem intimidating to everybody; style is unique and so are the looks that make us feel like we’re pushing the limit. But, at any point within your life, you’re bound to have your own version of the ‘cheetah coat,’ that statement piece you love but you can’t possibly find the confidence to wear. If that sounds like something you’re going through now, particularly if you’re also an introvert (hay!), my suggestion is to do what feels right. If that means constantly wearing the shoes decorated with studs or the on-trend, super-size earrings style, great. If that means buying something bold and holding onto it for a special occasion, that’s cool too. If you want to be extra, be extra. And if you need a little more time, that’s a-OK.
What statement piece are you loving this season? Share your thoughts in the comment section!