The Tale of One Superbly Single Girl’s Lifelong Relationship with Fashion
When I first stumbled across Helena Levin’s Facebook profile page shock and awe were my immediate reactions. For good reason too. This vivacious blonde’s social media profile encapsulates a storybook of superbly styled selfies that you simply can’t walk away from. From the a-line dresses to the perfectly coifed bouffants, each picture illustrates a chapter in the life of a fashion fanatic. I could tell from her shots that she must be notoriously known for chubby bunny bows and expertly assembled outfits. What I couldn’t tell was why? To find out what was driving this queen of all things coordinated I asked Helena herself to share her story with The Single Diaries. Read on for the delicious details behind her affair with fashion.
I’ve been in a committed relationship for 26 years. Considering I’m 28, this information may come as a surprise. But it’s true. I’ve had a mad, sometimes maddening love affair for almost my entire life. There have been times of pure elation and times of utter heartbreak. But my love for fashion has always been unbreakable and will always be the first and longest relationship of my life.
From the time I understood that there was choice involved in getting dressed, I wanted that choice to be my own. My parents indulged me in this (I think largely in part to Garanimals making sure I would always match) and the matching has never since departed my fashion ideals.
It was the summer before third grade that I can always point to as the defining moment in my relationship with fashion. Before then my feelings toward it had been a little fleeting. Sure, I liked clothes and wanted to dress myself, but I would still groan when my birthday or Hanukkah rolled around and I’d open a box with a shirt inside instead of Hollywood Hair Barbie. But that summer there was a shift (pun intended). My family and I were on a vacation to Canada and I was allowed to bring home one souvenir to remind me of our trip. My parents thought I would pick up a trinket of sorts, maybe a magnet or stuffed animal but I had a different idea. I firmly told my parents that I wanted an outfit from Canada. I didn’t know exactly what I was looking for, but I trusted that my budding fashion instincts would alert me when I’d found “the one.” Alarms went off when I came across a navy and white plaid skirt with a matching white top with navy trim and a big pink rose pin on the collar. It was perfect. It was my outfit. It was the moment that would change my world. This outfit made me realize that I would forever be wed to a life with fashion.
Now, 26 years later, married to fashion is in fact how I’ve spent my life. About a week before graduating from Cal Poly SLO with a BS in Child Development and Psych, it suddenly dawned on me that I wanted to grow the relationship I had been in my whole life, not begin on a new one. I did what any logical senior would do… I graduated. Then I started over. What I had realized, though, was that it wasn’t really starting over. I already knew about fashion. It had been with me my whole life. It wasn’t a foreign affair. I just needed to get to know it a little better, on a new level.
After I graduated, I took classes at a local college to learn about the fashion industry and took a job in retail to actually see how it worked first hand. In the meantime, I put my feelers out to everyone I knew to let them know I was looking for a serious job in the industry. It was one of my sorority sisters who sent me the message that changed my life. It said, “ModCloth.com, you like that website, they’re hiring, you should apply.” I thought, I DO like that website, and I WILL apply. Three and a half years later, I am certainly glad I did. I was offered a position as a shoe buyer and must say that it has been a pretty awesome job! I get to see new styles before they are even a reality. I get to travel the country in search of the best new product. I get to help define what our company brings to our customers, and I get to help foster other people’s relationship with fashion. I find it amazing that so many people also have a bond and connection to fashion but that no one has the same relationship to it as I do. Our experiences are different, and we all interpret fashion in our own ways. My ties to fashion are stronger than ever. It’s not just something I love and care about; it’s something in which I am totally absorbed. I hope that everyone can find and follow their passion in the same way. Trust me when I say, it makes getting out of bed every morning something to be excited about.