Monday, July 8, 2013

on my style renaissance

People ask me more often than you'd think about what inspires my sense of style, which I have been told is great and unique BTW, and I always sit and stare and struggle for an embarrassing amount of time for a response. You'd think that by now I'd know what to say, that I'd have an arsenal of responses for the questions that perplex me, but I never ever know how to answer this question.

I don't have a style icon or someone to emulate even though I WISH that I did so that I could tell everyone that I'm a no good copy cat, but when I think of someone who inspires me I start having hot flashes and my throat gets all tight and I start sweating. 

I'll start at the beginning of my life on this earth and what has lead me to here, today, a true fashion icon for the masses. Okay, or not, whatever.

As a little girl, I went through three thousand phases where I either refused to wear dresses or would only wear dresses. I hated leggings with stirrups and loved jelly shoes. I had short curly hair that, in growing out, was straight, then I rocked a bowl cut until the first grade. I always had bangs, to the point that I legitimately believed I was born with them. 

Because I went to Catholic school from kindergarten until twelfth grade, I had to wear a uniform every single day and they weren't cute and customize-able like they are in the movies or that episode of That's So Raven. In kindergarten, the plaid was maroon and green or something awful and I wore Mary Jane's like it was my job. The Catholic day school my parents wanted me to attend didn't have kindergarten, so in the first grade that is where I transferred where I rocked a beautiful royal blue/cerulean blue and white plaid jumper until the fifth grade, when the uniform transformed into a skirt and polo.

At least the polo had a stretchy band around the bottom so we didn't have to tuck it in.

By the eighth grade, I was used to the routine, the uniforms, the cool relief of "dress down days" when everyone got out their best jeans and Aeropostale tees and sweatshirts and showed off for twenty-five cents to a dollar, depending on the cause for donation. Sometimes DDDs were free, which was a whole new type of freedom that I don't think I was ready for.

I developed sort of early, especially compared to the girls in my grade so that when I wore a SORT OF low cut Hollister tank top on a dress down day that fall, my teacher told me to wear a sweatshirt over it because it was "inappropriate." Totes fine and didn't even bother me at the time because I usually wore multiple layers of undershirts under all my clothes in the eighth grade. This was a trend that followed me into my senior year of high school.

When it came time to pick a high school, I didn't even think twice before deciding that Magnificat was the place for me. It was where my mom and her sisters had gone to high school and I had a cousin there and shadowing it just felt right. It was where I belonged.

Mags is an all-girls school that participates in what is probably a really odd cult-ish phenomenon that is not mandated by any administration: nearly every single girl in the school wears their hair up, in a bun, ponytail or braid, every day. And of course, we accessorized. On a typical Blue Streak (our totally lame "what the heck" mascot), you would find headbands, stud earrings, crew socks (never, ever knee socks, not if you wanted to be COOL), TOMs or Sperry topsiders or, during my freshman year, Birkenstock clogs. 

I never tried to break out of this trend. Yes, I wore my hair down a few times and didn't really care that everyone was glaring at me in the hallways. I wore the clogs and stud earrings, but the thick cloth headbands everyone wore sort of harshed my mellow and, okay, slid off my weird-shaped head and gave me a headache by the end of the day, so that by senior year the only headbands I was really wearing were thin, braided headbands that got me a billion compliments. And when everyone decided our high school was a yacht my sophomore year and wore the Sperrys, I received a pair of white and silver toms from my brother and sister-in-law that changed my life. I always wore tights as soon as it was cold enough to and preferred my long sleeve banded polo to the short sleeve.

What I wore outside of school (DDDs did not count in high school because everyone wore sweatpants and sweatshirts and looked like homeless men until the leggings trend of 2011) is where my true style shone. Freshman year, I continued with the Aeropostale tee shirts and Hollister tank tops and sweatshirts and jeans. To friends houses, I wore sweatpants and generally did not care very much about what my clothes said about me. It just didn't matter to me, at the time, when I finally had friends who got me and didn't accuse me of being a lesbian (like that'd be SO BAD anyway, what homophobic lil jerkfaces) just because I went to an all girls school - my new friends understood this, because they went to my school. 

I wore a lot of skinny jeans and tee shirts and eyeliner on my bottom lid. My hair was either straight or curly and I never wore it up on the weekends because that's what the schooldays were for. A friend in the eighth grade (one of the lesbian accusers) told me that my hair looked better straight and that sort of changed how I perceived my curls. I still don't like the way they look and I doubt this girl even intended for it to hurt as much as it did. Except who knows, really. 

Sometimes I miss the carefree style of my freshman year. My hair was long and it looked good enough curly that I wore it naturally quite a few times, but then in the tenth grade everything changed and went topsy turvy.

I don't know what happened but sophomore year was when EVERYTHING CHANGED. I made new friends and got into one of the biggest, most passive aggressive fights with my best friend for probably no reason other than that it was a hard time for everyone, terrible things kept happening outside of school to everyone in my friend group and we were never there for each other. It was a dark time, and my fashion style reflected that.

My hair and makeup stayed the same, but I started wearing these dark jeggings everywhere and I paired them with a white, black or gray v-neck tee from Target and a cardigan. There have been worse styles, worse things I've worn, but looking back at pictures of how I looked in these clothes always makes me wince. Sometimes if I didn't wear the v-neck, I wore a tank top from Hollister from the past two years, but it was a very plain time in my life.

I really don't know when or why I decided to start dressing better but in my junior year, I bought dresses and skirts and a bathing suit that didn't make me feel like a big ol' whale but instead made me feel like a beach babe from the 1950's. Minus the repressing patriarchy. I got bangs that I miss dearly, straight across and thick like my then-and-now idol Zooey Deschanel. (Maybe I'll just suck it up and say that she's my style icon so the question stops giving me anxiety,)

I stopped wearing jeans, which Stacy and Clinton from What Not to Wear would yell at me for, but luckily they haven't caught me yet and I will continue to avoid wearing real pants for the rest of my life. 

College came and now I wear sheer, collared shirts regularly. I haven't worn jeans in days. To class, I wear leggings and a collared shirt or a sweater or, what may or may not be the best purchase of my young life, my embroidered denim pony shirt. 

I'd like to think my style renaissance is a direct result of the horrors of tenth grade. I know what looks good on me now, and more importantly, to dress in what I feel good in. If I feel gross in denim pants, then I won't wear them. Style for me isn't what the models are wearing on the runway because fashion is an art and the way I dress myself is more of a manic question mark. Style should be about what makes me feel amazing. So what if you feel beautiful in a pair of overalls with a baby tee underneath with cowboy boots on your feet? Typing this, I am wearing a floral dress and let me tell you, I feel beautiful.


  1. "And when everyone decided our high school was a yacht my sophomore year and wore the Sperrys" - okay this is a sad truth. My mom would tease me about this incessantly.

    Also, I'm with you on the subject of jeans AND I am so very happy that you have found your own unique style. It made me smile when I read the last sentence.

    1. ahhhhh thanks so much girl!!!! and thxx for reading :-*

  2. "I always had bangs, to the point that I legitimately believed I was born with them." no u were born with glasses

    ALSO SO JEALOUS THAT YOU COULD ACCESSORIZE WITH UR UNIFORM i wasn't allowed to wear headbands, or more than 2 earrings in each ear and no cartilage and no excessive jewlery and EVERYONE BOYS AND GIRLS HAD THE SAME SHOES ohymgod it was terrible and you had to either wear knee socks or stockings that was it no other options

    ANYWAY ur style is very swagtastic hippie moon chic ur an orig and i luv yaaaa