This I Believe

Edward - Lynchburg, Virginia
Entered on December 6, 2006

This past August, I began a new chapter in my life: College. Over the course of the few previous summer months, I had been educated on how to survive in college by my older brother, an alumni of the school I would be attending that semester. I had learned about classes, chapel, dress code, teachers, and how pretty the girls are. One summer day, excited and nervous about the upcoming experience, I initiated yet another learning session. I broke the afternoon silence by stating that, in a school so big, no girls would notice me. “Ed,” my brother began, “you have a unique style. Almost all the guys there look and dress the same! You, however, look different and cool. When girls see that, they’re going to like it because you’re not like everyone else.” With a reassured confidence, I decided that I believe in individual style.

The usual routine begins as the big classroom gradually fills with college students and the buzz of voices grows louder and louder. Walking through the door, I spot the preppy girls and guys in American Eagle and Hollister, the punk individuals with t-shirts from Hot Topic or with their favorite bands on them, the students from urban backgrounds sporting Ecko and Baby Phat, and the others who just have no style at all as I walk with confidence across the classroom floor. Arriving to my usual seat surrounded by my friends already sitting there, I raise my head to faces of confusion and disgust. They quickly inform me that my outfit doesn’t match. I look down at my faded jeans, green and white pinstriped oxford, baby and navy blue striped tie, and pale brown khaki jacket. Thinking for a minute, I finally look up and inform them that I don’t care and that I like what I have on.

In a society that encourages an individual to acquire a certain style of dress to fit in with a certain group, I believe in being unique.

I believe in the mohawk, the fauxhawk, the vogue ponytail, buzzing designs in your hair, cornrows, and weaves. I believe in red sneakers when nothing else in your outfit is red. I believe in ties with t-shirts, ties as belts, and tying ties to have the fattest knot possible. I believe in the popped collar and hoodies under blazers. I believe in destroying your own jeans, cutting the sleeves off tops, and sewing on your own patches and designs. I believe in thrift stores and Goodwill as frontline companies. I believe in colors that don’t go together as some of the best combinations. I believe in matching and mismatching, fitted and baggy clothes together, and layers upon layers. However, with such a liberal belief in style, I believe in being tasteful. Today, clothes are tighter, skirts higher, and shirts cut lower. I believe you should be unique with your look, take risks, and be creative, but I also believe, modest is hottest.