Collage by Jao San Pedro.

Collage by Jao San Pedro.

I love flashy clothes, but I always feel too self-conscious to wear them in public. I end up with giant neon-pink sweaters that I never wear. Do you have any advice for me so that I can finally wear the clothes of my dreams proudly? —Lucy, 15, Chicago

Hi, Lucy! It’s SO exciting to hear that you’ve found some flashy looks for yourself. Massive pink sweaters sound like quite the statement pieces! As a lover of striking clothing, I understand the self-conscious feelings you might get when sporting extra-glam getups in public. Sometimes I worry that people will perceive me as “weird” or not really understand what I’m going for. But here’s the thing: As long as YOU feel good about yourself in whatever you’re wearing, no one else’s opinion matters. (Easier said than done, I know.)

Being super confident in eye-catching outfits comes down to a state of mind. It’s important to muster up kindness and good feelings toward yourself and your look before heading out and about. Then, your only job is to WERK the hell out of whatever you’ve assembled, and to not to worry about pleasing bystanders who may or may not take notice. In my experience, you’ll probably receive some compliments! SO many folks appreciate a fabulous outfit when they are lucky enough to witness it. Heck, you might even make their day! Seeing someone be the most unrestrained version of themselves is inspiring.

Putting on a wild outfit can also be like putting on a mask, or playing a character, which is A LOT of fun. I try to keep some of my favorite style icons in mind—like David Bowie, and Willow and Jaden Smith—when I’m suiting up in a funky ensemble. They are all fantastic at being independently stylish/pushing style boundaries, which is contagious. When in doubt, soak up some of the Willow-ness of Willow in this pic:

I would also HIGHLY recommend a night (or day!) out with friends who share your love for wild outfits. I’ve found that having at least one partner in being a bit of a public spectacle has made wearing super-fab clothes a million times easier! You and your buds could coordinate colors, dress up using influences from the same era (would highly recommend the ’90s ;-) ), use a movie or book character as a source of inspiration, et cetera, et cetera. If you have a camera, bring it along and stage a photo shoot wherever you end up. I often look to Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss, the Spice Girls, or punk bands for duo/group style inspiration:

They were all hella tight, sported some WILD looks together, and totally slayed the scene! I wish you the best of luck in sporting your flossiest looks and having a HOOT while doing so! xoxo ♦

Got questions about experimenting with your flossy looq? Send ’em to [email protected], and remember to include your NAME, AGE, and CITY, please.