Saturday, May 23, 2009

Toastmasters Icebreaker Speech:
"A Dangerous Lifestyle"

By Russel Roxas, TM

You know that thing when you see someone cute and he smiles at you and your heart kind of goes like warm butter sliding down a hot toast? Well that's what it's like when I see a store. Only it's better. Not only did I get that from Rebecca Bloomwood of the phenomenal book and movie, Confessions of a Shopaholic but I also related to her feelings when I watched that movie and when I read that book.

Yes, I consider myself to be a fairly stylin’ avatar lady. I know all the hip places to shop. I keep up with new releases, and am always on the lookout for cool, new, and undiscovered treasures. Plus I’m pretty easy on the eyes if I do say so myself. And I have this thing about matching. I love to match. I guess you can even call me a matching whore.
Fashion is constantly changing. One season, designers will say that black is chic and color isn’t. The next season, black is suddenly boring and white is in or purple or lime, or whatever. So every time trend changes, what should a fashion addict like me would do but to rehash my array of wardrobe to conform to the standards? So I take long, hard look at my closet, review what I have, and check what’s missing. Then I shop for it. It really turns out bad when I just intend to buy a pair of matching shoes for my planned outfit but eventually buy the Micheal Kor’s belt, the Chloe earrings, the scarf and the bangles to go with the shoes and dress.
Living up to the standards of the fashion industry becomes hard work once you start with it. There are some hardships that I have to go through including the fear that a fashion police might arrest me if I show up in a disgusting ensemble. And there are tons of books and magazines that you have to read and buy to update yourself such as this… and this..
Yes, it is a dangerous lifestyle. So you might ask why I even bother to be one of them – the fashion addicts. Well, when I started, I never knew that I’ll be addicted just like how a chain smoker starts out by just having some trial puffs with a friend then later on evolving into a fire breathing dragon. The same thing happened to me. I just started out by borrowing outfits from my doormate in college. Then I got attracted to matching outfits with shoes, bags and accessories. My fondness for styling got worse when I entered the fashion industry as part-time runway model. Being in that industry gave me the backstage access to the trends that will come out in the next two to three months. Wouldn’t you love to be ahead of every one else and be the trendsetter? I got attracted to the idea so I ended up buying the outfits that I wore during fashion shows. Now I’m into the obsession of maintaining my 60 pairs of shoes that I immediately buy a new one in case one of the 60 wears out. Then, there’s this group of tall gorgeous girls that you get to hang out with during photo shoots or even night outs. Of course, you can’t be seen wearing something crappy when everyone else in your crowd looks like they just stepped out from the centerfold of Preview magazine. So that’s when I started jeopardizing myself, my bank account and my credit cards. Not to mention the nights that I spent taking out the stains in my suede Chinese Laundry pumps and scrapping the dirt and gum out of my favorite Betsy Johnson. Other than the mental and physical labor, there are also general impressions that we have to deal with such as “we are just a bunch of airhead bimbos who know nothing but applying make-up, and fixing our hair”. Which is of course, not entirely true. It takes a lot of hard work, creativity and imagination to coordinate palettes of eye shadows and come up with the desirable look.
But what I like about my lifestyle is I was able to extend a helping hand to those people who need my help in aesthetics. I was able to give my boss sound advise on what to wear on different occasions and the right place to shop for them. I was able to give my colleagues quick remedies for zits that came out in the morning but need to go away in the evening of the same day because of a big date. I also set a benchmark on fashionable business attire for staff to be artistic in the way they wear their office uniforms. Remember that dressing for success is a smart tactic. For how we’re perceived can go a long way towards helping us achieve. Since I am also in a corporate arena, I believe that by looking good and classy I am able to project an image that my company pays their people really well that they can afford to be stylish even if in reality that’s not the case. And, as a token of my appreciation to butter n toast, I will offer my services to be every member’s fashion consultant free of charge. So, who wants to be my first customer? (check with the audience). Just don’t complain if one day I show up in your place, raid your closet, toss some stuff in the garbage can and get your credit card to get you started on shopping for your new collection.
Being fashionable doesn’t mean that I have to go with the flow all the time. And I don’t mindlessly follow every trend just because someone told me it was cool. True style is unique personal expression. It’s a way of dressing to match my character that no one else can imitate. And, As long as I am happy and I believe that I always look good no matter what I wear or how I look, I think I’ll survive. That’s when I can conclude that being fashionable is not a dangerous lifestyle after all.

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