I don’t dress up in college.
And, like, I get it: who cares, right? I mean, in high school, I had a reason to be dressing the way I did. I was locked in a giant one story building for 7+ hours a day, 5 days a week, 180 days a year, for 4 years straight. That’s suffocating in a myriad of ways–and with the few opportunities for change between the years, I had to be creative in whatever mediums I had available to me. Clothing was one, my hair was another. Boom–I owned four pairs of platform sneakers by the time I was sixteen.
I found myself in my first semester of college wearing jeans and a basic shirt almost every single day. And while some people on my campus may claim otherwise, I felt as though I lost my sense of adventure in my style. I’ve come up with plenty of plausible causes for my dry spell in fashion: maybe it’s because my closet downsized to four feet wide, and I made a pact with myself to not bring more than 30 hangers with me to start my college career (a pact, mind you, that has long since been broken). Maybe it’s because I subconsciously understood the dangers of choosing to wear a chunky boot to a class that’s across a length of unevenly placed brick walkways and up three flights of 150-year old wooden stairs that creak and crack at every drop of a heel. Maybe it’s because my closest friends here ended up being boys who wear almost exclusively tennis shoes everywhere we go and can’t be bothered to wait for their friend because she chose to wear a skirt that requires an extra 30 seconds of shimmying when sliding sideways out the cafeteria booth. Maybe it’s because it’s inconvenient and kinda gross to change into a fitted romper and a thrifted blazer right after my indoor cycling class. Maybe I just lost inspiration.
Whenever I am in a fashion rut, I look to my old posts for inspiration, something I haven’t done in a very long time. Do I still think those 2014 outfits were a good idea? I decided to find out what’s changed in the past year and what hasn’t. So, here we are, re-capping some of the most noteworthy posts of mine and obviously omitting ones I found embarrassing or of bad quality. Hooray for censorship! Let’s get to it.
- GLORY DAZE: Honestly I think this is my favorite outfit I’ve ever posted on PM. It’s the last documentation I have of that glorious halter bralette which, unfortunately, fell prey to A LITERAL RED SOCK IN THE WASH in Atlanta. Sad.
2. DARK WAS THE NIGHT, WHITE WAS THE GROUND: I might as well have called this “Look! Some American Apparel pants were on sale and I got them! Also, it’s snowing!” I mean, far less catchy, but far more honest. This was me in a winter wonderland of thinking I would get into Washington University. Thank God that didn’t happen.
Like, I’m of course a little bitter, but also actually genuinely thankful I am where I am now.
3. LAST KAHLO: WHERE ARE THESE SOCKS?!!?!?!?!? This was when I was really missing my pixie cut and wanted to pay homage to my days of androgynous fashion that both empowered me and made me feel as though no boy would ever love me. Also lots of love to my favorite artist, because the greatest form of flattery is putting a person’s likeness smack dab on your feet.
4. IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR…AGAIN: You’ll notice that Part 1 of the Thanksgiving series is not present in this gallery. That would be because of my choice to save you all from immediate exposure to the choice I made in 2014 to wear white knee socks as a fashion statement when I wasn’t, like, nine. Personally I find it unacceptable, and this outfit was my attempt at redemption. If I ever do wear nice stuff on campus, I wear this tan thrifted sweater a lot. I get made fun of for it (@STEELE).
5. PROJECT REAL,: This is an introductory photograph of me from Project Real, a summer initiative that was super fun to do and absolutely no fun to deal with after the fact. My face is two parts unassuming of the dangers of this project and one part regretting my choice to wear a smokey eye and concrete eyebrows when it was 90 degrees outside.
6. FACING THE HOUNDS: Yo, I still 100% stand by this outfit. I felt good in it, I still think I looked good in it, and I really really REALLY wish I could find those pants. This is one of those pictures that makes me want to chop off all my hair again. Now my internal monologue asks: do you want to graduate with this hair? And so I continue to grow out my locks. Sad.
7. ROAD TRIP: Slacker and Facing the Hounds are prime examples of my ascendance to androgynous liberation that confused me sexually and propelled me artistically. This was my freaking go-to road trip outfit. Now, my boyfriend likes to wear these joggers on his lazy days in–I take that as a sign that I need to rethink how much breathing room I give my crotch.
8. SLACKER: Y’all, we are in PRIME TERRITORY! This was the golden age of Project Maganda, let me tell you. I was effin’ inspired by all the things I could wear as substitutes for pants and it. all. looked. so. good. Also, the 90’s mom cut!!! Incredible!!! This photoshoot was a lot of locking my knees so you thought I used tumblr more as a mode of self-expression and fanservice than as a bank for poor adolescent memes.
9. METAFABRICAL: Also known as, “I started listening to Tame Impala last week and I REALLY want you to know about it. Also, it’s snowing!” Faking it ’til I’m making it, space-librarian style.
Why are all my most pretentious shoots in the snow? Food for thought.
10. MOM JEANS AND PIRATE SHIRTS: These jeans literally never fit me, and they never will, and I have to accept that. The muffin top I get and have always gotten from these jeans is probably the result of my liver and pancreas being forced to join my lungs on the upper half of my body. Nowadays, I can’t get my butt past the waistband, and I view that as a compliment. That’s how you know things are changing: when I can’t squeeze into something I used to be able to wear and I don’t cry.
11. APRIL SHOWERS: This post never got the buzz I wanted it to. I loved the outfit, I loved the location, no one loved me, and I couldn’t stand it. This is when I learned the power of A) keeping track of WHEN I post on this blog, and B) learning not to take the “lonely girl in the woods” approach to my shoots and come off as ridiculous. I lost this cardigan in Atlanta because I saw Joanna Newsom live and cried so much that I got hot and threw it off in a mess of tears and singing along to literal harp music. No regrets.
12. THRIFTED, GIFTED, AND SHIFTED: I felt super cool in the moment in this look. I don’t know why we did this in the woods, tho–op, oh, I see. There’s snow. Good lord.
13. PRIVATE SCHOOL WOES: YOOOOOO This post was all about me slamming Ensworth!!! Good times. Elementary school was vicious, guys.
14. FALLING FOR YOU: Definitely a rejection of young love. Ah, how wise we are at fifteen.
15. CLASH ATTACK: I think I can confidently say that I will never wear anything you see in this outfit ever again. This was one of the first outfits I was really proud of for being “adventurous,” but it was definitely the product of me imbibing whatever fashion I saw on my Instagram feed. So, other than having the audacity to buy and wear the clothing pictured, this outfit was nothing special.
I have noticed that in the few days it’s taken to cull images and write this blog post, I’ve consciously upped my fashion game while back in Tennessee on spring break. So maybe it’s not a matter of my environment stopping me from this or that but rather a matter of what I’m choosing to give my attention. Fashion has taken a backseat in my life in favor of theater, in favor of my social life, in favor of my classes. That’s definitely a sacrifice I’m willing to make, but I also really don’t think it has to be. At the end of the day, it comes down to a fear of judgement, and that’s something I’m gonna have to deal with.
Another thought – I started this fashion blog as a public exercise in rebellion against my poor self image. Fashion was a defense mechanism against my mind wanting my body to hide, and it served its purpose then. I don’t need that now, and so my outfits have naturally settled into something more “normal”. But I still enjoy fashion, and I miss it. So maybe I’ll be able to find fashion as a form of self expression purely because I like it–and out of freedom instead of necessity. That’ll make for some really good fashion.
Much love (and more to come),