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Shania Twain wishes she had known in her mid-20s that it was OK to go braless - among other things.
In a post for Refinery29, the Canadian country superstar penned an open letter to her 26-year-old self, touching on everything from self-confidence to finances.
At 26, Twain was starring in a variety show at The Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, Ont. It was the first time she had ever performed in public, but unlike most 20-somethings, Twain had the added pressure of providing for her siblings. The Timmins, Ont. native became the caretaker for her three younger brothers when she was just 21, after her parents died in a car accident.
“I was overwhelmed by how many obstacles there were. I still needed more love. I was alone, and I didn't have support, but I knew what I had,” she said. “Never look back. One foot in front of the other. The only thing that matters is where you’re going. Aspire to be more than your hardship.”
Despite tragedy, Twain pursued her dreams tirelessly to eventually earn five Grammy awards and become one of the top-selling artists, in country music.
“Don't lose focus of your vision,” she said. “Sometimes that means you’re not going to be able to party. You might miss out on a lot of fun. Take confidence in whatever your plan is, whatever your goals are. You have to be personally convinced that it’s worth it.”
Looking back, Twain still cringes at some of of biggest fashion and blunders, which include caked on mascara and questionable hairstyles.
“No perms! Never get a perm. And if you do, make sure they don’t over-curl. It was so in fashion, but my hair just didn't take to it well,” Twain wrote. “Whenever I look back at photos of me wearing pencil jeans I'm like, ‘Oh, why did I do that?’ It never worked.”
Although she admits that she was never one to frequent the gym, she always stayed active by chopping wood, running and eating well. Still, there are things she wish she had done in her ‘20s, including ditching her bra whenever possible.
“If you can go braless, you should, and don’t worry so much,” she said. “I would have worn a lot more things that I wanted to wear if I wasn't concerned about wearing a bra. We were always told, Never show your bra, never let the straps hang out, blah blah blah. I wish I could tell myself to be more comfortable with my body and less concerned about pressing everything in and strapping everything down. Spanx are a great invention, but not for a 26-year-old. Enjoy your liberty. Enjoy your body’s shape.”
Taking care of her siblings forced Twain to be “frugal” and cut corners whenever possible to ensure there were always savings for her unpredictable industry.
“At 26 I never knew where or when my next job was going to be,” she explained. “I made my clothes last as long as they could, just stretching everything out as much as possible. I would get creative with mending, and buy different dress sizes and men’s items with designs. I was always reinventing my clothes, cutting jeans, sewing buttons, painting something different on my shirt or something like that. It’s a good way to have an individual style.”