“I hate the way I look!” I screamed in the mirror when I finally saw the outfit my mother had decided to pick out for the first day of fifth grade. The outfit consisted of a baby-blue shirt, dark blue cargo pants and a navy-blue sweater with my school’s logo.
While the shirt fitted me nicely, the pants were a tad bit baggy, and because of that, my mother made me wear a big belt so that they wouldn’t sag. The outfit was so plain and boring. It was nothing like me at all! My personality was more like a fuschia shirt with sparkling purple buttons than an ugly blue, scratchy shirt. I felt as if I was in a box, a boring blue one.
Although I was already used to wearing the school uniform from previous years, I had somewhat of a big expectation that my mother would let me wear something different for the first day of school, but that was not the case.
The uniform was rarely ever enforced, which allowed many people to come to school wearing what I believed at the time to be pretty cool: ripped skinny jeans and Aeropostale sweaters.
Not that I owned or planned to wear any of these items, but just the freedom to pick and choose what I wore is all I wanted. I just wanted to look cool like the other kids and fit in. Was I asking for too much?
I was so embarrassed and upset that I cried during the entire car ride to school. Next year I will be the best dressed.
A box filled with holes
“I can’t believe I am doing this!” I screamed with excitement towards my friends. I finally decided to buy a skirt. After years of never wearing one, I finally overcame my fear of being labeled “try-hard” or ridiculed for my fashion taste. I took a leap of faith and bought the skirt of my dreams. The skirt was made of jean material with green and pink embroidered flowers and had an unfinished hem, which left strings of fabric hanging loosely above my knees. It was the perfect skirt, and I knew exactly where I wanted to wear it. On the first Friday of my freshman year in high school.
Not only was this the first time in a few years I would wear a skirt, but it also was the first time that I did not have to wear a school uniform. The ability to choose my own outfits and try different styles made me both excited and nervous at the same time. I was excited to start trying to find a style that fit me but nervous because this was the first time I had the freedom to express myself however I choose, and this skirt did precisely that.
As I walked down the hallway with my skirt, I started to feel like the blooming flowers on my skirt, growing and changing. With each step I took, the roots underneath me grew and expanded. I felt my branches reaching up into the blue sky, trying to reach the sun, but afraid of getting burnt. This was a new beginning for me. It was filled with self-expression, and this scared me.
What if I gave off the wrong impression to people through how I dressed? What if other people didn’t like it? While I wanted to have the freedom of self-expression, I still felt as if I was in the same tiny box. Except for this time, there were many openings with the view of a blue sky.
“I look amazing!” I screamed at myself in the mirror. The white dress with a baby blue flower pattern spread out on the dress was very eye-catching. The flowers made from velvet made the design look more 3D. While the top of the dress was formfitting, the bottom was the exact opposite.
Compared to the past, when I often felt nervous or slightly uncomfortable wearing something that I liked, I now felt pride and contentedness instead, which I personally believe the dress resembled. The blue on the dress reminded me of the blue on my old school uniform, except now that I had chosen it for myself in a style that I liked, it represented peace and happiness.
I didn’t feel the nervousness that often came with the revelation of how much my outfits represented me. Instead, this time I felt comfort in knowing that I could freely express myself through my clothing.
To most people, the freedom to dress however we want may seem trivial, but to me, styling myself is the most significant way that I connect with others. It allows me the ability to share who I am indirectly. I can share stories of my culture, family, mood, interests, and love for fashion with just one glance.
Like me, my style will constantly be changing and growing, but I am confident that I will always be an authentic version of myself through my style.
I was no longer in the little box. Instead, I was now in an open field filled with roses softly dancing with the wind. As I danced along with the flowers underneath the blue sky, I wasn’t scared of the sun’s heat burning through my skin. Instead I welcomed the warmth as if it was an old friend coming home.