As a recent transplant to Houston, Texas, I had the pleasure of meeting Leah Moreno of the blog Morning Ink at a Houston blogger event a few months back. We stayed in touch and when I came up with the idea to do “What style means to me”, Leah was one of the first people I had in mind for this project. When I asked Leah to share her thoughts on what style means to her, she gave me one of the most honest and inspirational perspectives I’ve heard about style.
Living in color by Leah Moreno.
I used to hate my dark wavy hair, dark knees and dark skin as a kid. Childhood photos of me in a colorful or floral outfit with curly hair made me cringe. I spent many summers wearing hoodies to shield my arms and legs from the sun and flat ironed my hair until it started to fall out. I wore a lot of black because I was unhappy with my body and envied girls who wore their shoulders and legs bare beneath bright sundresses. I never knew how to approach this style, having subjected myself to darker clothes and was too embarrassed to buy a dress any shade lighter than navy blue.
I am not that girl anymore. Spending four college years with women who had a style vastly different than my own helped me abandon my belief that I had to hide behind dark clothes, makeup and hair tools. Wearing my hair wavy suddenly felt liberating and a floral dress instantly made me feel more feminine and mature. I learned to embrace being a Latina and a new style that would one day influence my blog.
As I’ve gotten older, I realized that I do not have to fit one style. Brighter colors may look good against my summer skin, but there’s a part of me that will always prefer black. I’ve just grown up enough to realize that I do not have to place myself in a box. I now show my knees without abandon and embrace my frizzy Texas hair. No really, it’s so humid outside and I have no idea how to control it.
For now, I am comfortable with my style transitions. I don’t feel any pressure to “dress like a Latina,” because there’s no true way to define that. The best I can do is embrace my features so that it may inspire some awkward teenage girl to buy that dress they’re staring at online or go out with natural hair. It’s too much work to maintain something you’re not.
What style means to me as a Latina woman is embracing my natural features and not being confined by a certain color or style. In doing that, I create my own freedom, feel beautiful and that always has a way of radiating through.
Leah Moreno – Morning Ink