Style of an Independent Sould

Jessica - Lexington, Kentucky
Entered on December 12, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Life is too short to have on a bad outfit. As a little girl, I would hear my mom say this to her friends. This is a motto that has been instilled in me from a young age. My mother taught me that fashion and clothing aren’t just a necessity but a way to express myself and bring creativity to my life. Fashion was the one thing, at a young age that my parents didn’t control. Mixing of patterns, length of socks, bright colors and the occasional pair of fairy wings were all at my grasps. It was up to me create my own “look”, to find my definition of fashion. From this I’ve come to believe that fashion isn’t just about trends and what’s “hot” but a way to express oneself and a way to make a statement. Fashion should make you feel good and there should never be a time when you feel uncomfortable or bad in the clothing you wear.

Unlike most teenagers, my favorite day of the year was always the first day of school. This was a day where it seemed that every kid tried to outdo one another and see who had the newest shoes or cutest outfits and I was no different. The summer before my first year of high school my mom and I went on a large shopping spree for new clothes. In middle school, a strict dress code of khakis and polo’s was imposed, forcing me to suppress my individual style. Teachers constantly told every student that by giving us strict guidelines on what we were to wear it decrease the need to compete with the latest fashions and concentrate more on academics. Well, that didn’t work because regardless of the rules students were still competing with name brand polo’s like American Eagle and Abercrombie and Fitch. So basically the dress code was a hug flop. Right after graduating from eighth grade, I went straight to my closet and trashed every solid, striped and one floral polo that I owned, along with the twelve pairs of khakis. Although my mom got quite upset, she agreed that it was time for a new wardrobe. So we went from store to store raking up on jeans and tops, and for the first time I was going to wear a skirt to school.

August 16, 2004 came faster than expected and as I laid out my new outfit I had to admire the impeccable taste I had, especially for someone young as fourteen. My ivy green and pink plaid skirt had the crispest pleats and there was no sign of a wrinkle near brown t-shirt. The image of a hot pink stiletto was embroidered on the front of the shirt and the words under it read “Head over Heels.” I woke the next morning sure I was going to turn heads and make jaws drop when I walked into the building. The first thing I did that morning was not brush my teeth or wash my face even, it was to put on the ensemble I had laid out the night before. As I walked to the bus stop I couldn’t help but notice the girl in front of me. She was wearing a slightly similar skirt as mine only hers was shorter. I simply thought, “Oh well, mine is much classier,” and thought nothing of it. The 10 minute bus ride seemed to take an hour and as the yellow submarine rolled into the drop off zone I took one finally deep breath and walked through the big glass doors. There, I stood in awe. Every other girl had the same idea as me. The last three years in middle school I never had to worry about someone having the same clothes as me because we all wore the same thing. Reality started to set in as I began feeling sick. I wasn’t prepared for anything like this and I felt trapped. All I wanted to do was leave, I couldn’t bear looking at these duplicated outfits but there was no choice; I had to stay. That afternoon my mom greeted me at the door when I arrived home. I guess from the look on my face she could tell the day didn’t go as well as planned. We sat down and once I recapped the day’s events she told me, “You can’t follow the world’s trends; you have to make your own and stick with them.”

Taking my mother’s advice, I went on a rampage, trying to find the next day’s outfit. What was it going to be, leopard print flats, glittery top, sunglasses or not? Leggings, colored jeans, sequin tops all went flying in my room until I had it. The perfect combination: a short sleeve red and white checkered blouse with a white camisole underneath, a pair of canary yellow skinny jeans that weren’t popular until 2008, and my favorite classic black high top Chuck Taylors. With my own sense of style and new attitude, I walked into school the next day knowing this was something original that no one would copy. It felt good to know I was comfortable enough to be myself and my confidence was at an all time high. Now was it different, yes but being different was the price I paid. No one understood my style and no one had to but me. Whether I bought it at Goodwill or BeBe didn’t matter. I looked nothing like my fellow classmates and people took notice. I was an individual and no matter what happened, no matter what the trend was, I vowed to stay that way. As it’s seen, skinny jeans did come back in style.

“Life is too short to have on a bad outfit.” Whether it be a new pair of shoes or those favorite pair of jeans, the way they make one feel is completely unique. No, everyday does not have to be a fashion show but by applying a little effort and creativity there would be no such thing as a “bad outfit.” Yes we might get sick every now and then or have a bad hair day, but all that’s needed is a cute fedora and a pair of stylish sunglasses and all is better.