When 23-year-old Lebanese blogger, copywriter and social media manager Elige Abou Youness felt the need to challenge society's "set-in-stone beauty standards," she chose to do something quite out of the box.
The English Literature graduate decided to wear a different costume, five days a week, for a whole year.
She also made the decision to share her entire experience on a blog she named "From My Closet" (Spending every day in a costume).
Nearly five months into her year, Abou Youness spoke to StepFeed and told us more about her project and what it has been like so far.
The story behind “From My Closet"
Abou Youness began by telling us how she came up with the idea for "From My Closet."
She explained that the entire project was thought up as a way to challenge societal norms and uptight beauty standards that often leave people feeling unable to fit in.
"I was very annoyed by specific and set-in-stone beauty standards and molds people have to fit themselves into, in order to be accepted by society," she said.
Even though the idea had been there for a while, the young graduate explained that what mainly stirred it up earlier this year was a random thing that happened at work.
"We were supposed to have a Halloween party at the office but it was after a weekend so almost everyone forgot about it. I, however, didn't, and so ended up in a costume on a random Monday at the office," she explained.
"At the time, I made my outfit from things I had at home and that got me thinking of how many other costumes I could possibly whip out of my closet," she added.
That's when the one-year costume project really began, Abou Youness revealed.
"At first I wanted to do the entire year and then I remembered that my weekends are usually a bit lazy so I did the five days a week twist. I started 2017 wearing my first costume... Red Riding Hood."
What is it really like to wear a different costume every day?
When asked how it has been like wearing a costume on every single weekday for the past few months, Abou Youness said:
"It’s been fun, I guess is a way of summing it up. I enjoy putting the costumes together from things I have in my own closet."
But even though it's amusing and fun most of the time, there were a few obstacles at the beginning, she revealed.
"I used to be a very shy person, and still am in some situations, so at the beginning, it was a bit harder especially when I walked around in public. One time, I was wearing a Queen Elizabeth costume and I had to go buy something from City Mall. People all around me were staring and even taking pictures, it was too much to handle and I had to hurry myself out of there," she explained.
"I recently had a similar experience in LeMall, but reacted differently as I've become more familiar with people staring and making snarky comments; I even tweeted the entire experience," she added.
When asked if she wears her costumes to work, Abou Youness said she does.
"It has actually become a sort of tradition where my colleagues try to guess what I’m wearing before checking my posts," she said.
"I've been to meetings (some extremely serious with an array of people from different backgrounds), events, parties, dates, job interviews, pubs and so many other places, wearing my costume of the day," she added.
"Nice moustache" w " Jamelik"
Of course, we had to ask Abou Youness to share some of the feedback she'd received over her costumes and a few comments are pretty funny.
"Funny comments I often hear include 'Lord save us' or someone crossing themselves when they see me, yelling random things like 'hanga33' or 'nice mustache,'" she said.
"One time someone even shouted 'jamelik' (but that was when I was [dressed as] Abu, Aladdin’s monkey)," she added.
The creative copywriter told us that almost every day, there’s a comment that stands out. While most are funny or supportive, a few have been upsetting and quite hurtful.
"I was once sent a screenshot from a story someone posted of me captioned 'seriously.' At the time I was attending a conference at the Ministry of Tourism wearing a Madam Mim costume. That was a bit annoying because I am against people taking pictures of someone without their consent, and then using the images to make a joke out of the whole thing," she said.
"I think it's invasive and I actually ended up writing about it on my blog," she added.
When asked if people around her have been supportive of her project, she explained: "Generally, people do ask questions, including why I’m dressed the way I am but when I share the idea, most reactions are always supportive and encouraging."
"Very few times it was; 'mafike t2awme lme2teye' or 'you can’t fix the world,' but other than that, general feedback has been very positive."
Be comfortable in your own skin
When asked what the message behind her project is, Abou Youness said:
"The main message behind the project is to encourage people to stop judging others based on their appearances and to emphasize the importance of individuality."
"I truly believe that a person should be comfortable in their own skin, instead of simply following what society dictates or considers beautiful or 'the way to be.'"
"If I can go anywhere dressed as Cinderella or wearing a fake beard and still be accepted to some extent, almost anyone should be able to show who they truly are without fear of being judged," she added.
"I know I’m not going to fix the world with what I am doing but if it positively affects one person out there, I'll have succeeded."
A word to everyone out there
Finally, we asked Abou Youness to share a message with her followers and people everywhere, and she said:
"Don’t judge, stand up to those who do and always be true to yourself."