I’ve always loved fashion, even long before I had many clothes. I grew up in Ethiopia for the first 7 years of my life and having an extra pair of clothing was not an option my family had.

When I was adopted and came to the U.S. I fell in love with the endless possibilities of things I could create. I could look at a plain white t-shirt and have 6 different ways I could wear it in my mind.

I lived in a small town and fashion was not the first thing on most people’s minds. I was constantly asked “Why are you so dressed up?” if I wore anything other than a t-shirt and jeans.. there were times I did try to fit in and dress like the kids at my school but I felt like I was dimming my light so they could shine. That is never good. It’s like lowering your self esteem so others feel good about themselves but that’s not your job.

You have to just keep shining bright and hope others find their light instead of dimming yours to make them comfortable and when I realized that, it allowed me to dress however I wanted and not care what others thought.

It’s not like I was dressing outrageous, I just enjoyed fashion and wanted to be a little more creative with my style.

Now everybody asks me my opinion on what looks good or if they should buy something based on MY opinion. It’s nice to feel like your opinion is respected and valued enough to where you can help others!

I think my biggest influence in my fashion and style was Seventeen magazine. I had an older niece that would come over with her magazines and I always asked to read it after she finished and soon I had my own subscription and I’m much older now but it definitely had a big impact on how I viewed fashion/style even make up and hair.

I think my style is most similar to Rihanna because she kind of doesn’t have a style she wears whatever she feels like wearing. Sometimes I struggle thinking I need a certain style that’s mine. (Preppy, urban, girly etc.) but I think there’s freedom in not confining yourself to a box and doing/wearing what you feel like. And that’s kind of always been me. At the end of the day it’s about comfort and feeling good about how you look.

A tip I would give anyone on fashion is not to leave the house wearing something you don’t feel good in. I never leave the house until I feel like I like what I’m wearing and I look good. There’s days where i don’t care and I’m out in these streets looking bummy but if I’m going to an event or a party I need to KNOW I look good, and as long as I know and I feel confident that’s all that matters. Other people’s comments won’t validate me or invalidate me if I’m the judge of my appearance if that makes sense.

Looking good on the outside is nice, but I really feel like I can sense when someone is a good person inside as well and that’s what really draws me to someone. I’ve noticed the more I’ve worked on my own inner healing and trying to be more kind and exert more love to others, others are also drawn to me. It’s like you radiate a light when you’re a loving kind person. That’s facts. And I really believe that’s the essence of life and being human, to love and care for each other.

~ Bri Whatcott

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