Exclusive Alicia Keys Blog: My Style Reflects How I Feel on the Inside

The iVillage Guest Editor writes exclusively about how she's learned that style is about "finding a way to walk through life feeling right in the moment you're in"

The greatest thing about looking back at old photos of yourself is seeing how much you’ve changed in just ten years. We all do it in one way or another. We look at ourselves and say something like, “Wow, I look so young!” (I personally start with, “Awwww… look at lil' Alicia!”), then we notice our hair and following that is usually something like, “Oh my LAWD! What was I wearing?” And then we let out a big laugh thinking about what was going on at that time. But that’s what’s so great about old photos (and memories): We have a chance to look back and forward at the same time… knowing we’ve evolved in ways we probably didn’t see coming back then.

When I look back at myself in old photos, I still see the same girl underneath it all, but it’s my style that sticks out the most. I sure have come a long way and boy did I make a lot of mistakes to get here. But it’s been an incredible journey because what I noticed was that as my music and artistic expression developed, I found a sense of direction and sureness in my style -- something I never had before. And I’d be lying if I said my style hasn’t changed since my Timberland-rockin' years. But the beautiful thing about the beginning of my style evolution is that, at that time… and where I was as an artist… my style embodied the start of my career: a reflection of the New York streets I came from and a time I look back on with the same wide eyes.

To look back and feel you’ve grown into yourself is an extraordinary feeling and I am so grateful to have that memory. But over the last few years, I’ve realized how important fashion and style are in life… not just as an artist… but as a woman. If you think about it, life is often about trying on new things and learning what you do and don’t like so you can make better decisions next time. And that’s an amazing feeling! With fashion, we all have an opportunity to put our best foot forward in our own individual way. And if you’re anything like me, it’s okay if you try on a little bit of everything before you get it right.

This past year, I was lucky enough to attend Paris Fashion Week and sit front row at several shows. I was so blown away by the incredible collections and the way each designer brought their vision to life on the models and runways. Not only did I have a really good time exploring the world of fashion, but for the first time, I realized style truly is an art form. And like music (whether we are moved to sing or listen), style is something we can all find in ourselves.

The way I have learned to express myself through my clothes speaks to how I feel on the inside at this time in my life, and when I look at myself ten years from now, I have a feeling I might recognize myself a little more than I did before. What’s important to know is that you don’t have to dress up for every occasion or wear heels every time you leave the house… that’s not style. Style is about finding a way to walk through life feeling right in the moment you’re in and with a sense of confidence on the inside and out.

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