Do you still feel pressure of conform? If no, what age did it stop?
The only time I ever felt the pressure to conform was when my mother had the final say in what I wore every day. Most of the time, her wardrobe choices were acceptable, but mum did tend to fall victim to certain fads – for example, the entire family on holiday in matching hand-knit Aran sweaters – at least that meant I didn’t suffer alone. There was a horrendous period in my early teens when the “mother and daughter” look blighted my life – this involved wearing matching wing-tipped glasses (at age 13 that should have been considered child abuse) and identical dresses. Those were the days when all I wanted was to get to school with my uniform hitched into a mini, secured by my school tie. Once at school, the glasses could be hidden and I could happily spend my days missing everything on the blackboard, tripping over all possible hazards, and looking like somebody my own age.
At fourteen and a half, I got a summer job that paid enough to buy my own clothes. My first purchase? A red scoopneck T-shirt with an applique cat, and purple corduroy loon pants. How I found them with those wing-tip glasses gathering dust in my bedroom drawer is beyond me now, but I never looked back from there. Any further sartorial conformity was entirely my own choice. I swear.