On Personal Style

I just read an article in Lucky about writer Laura Morgan’s style evolution.  After a collared-and-Mary-Janed childhood in the ’70s, she quickly determined that her young adult years were going to be styled straight out of a hair metal video.  For her, music and fashion went hand-in-hand, so when her tastes changed from Poison to Belle & Sebastian, so did her duds.  She embraced the Sweet Nation and never looked back.

It made me reflect on the many changes my looks have undergone over the last couple of decades, which have been just as drastic.  Let me take you back to the mid-90s: picture an even smaller version of me (with the same hairstyle!) running around in nothing but legions of leggings, which were called “stretch pants” in my day.  The only time I got out of them was to snap on my overalls or don the many items in my Pocahontas capsule wardrobe.

When the millennium hit us, my eyes were opened to the wonders of Limited Too–everything was pink, metallic, glittery, and wonderful.  My parents couldn’t afford the LT lifestyle, but I made do with the gift certificates I got each year for my birthday and Christmas.  That is, of course, until the goth phase set in.

It all started in the fifth grade, when one of my classmates noticed that I wore a lot of black, on Thursdays in particular.  These “Black Thursdays” were completely unintentional, but once the fact was pointed out to me, I realized I kinda liked that Wednesday Addams look.

The next few years were confused ones.  I embraced all the black, chains, zippers, and corset ties that the goth look demanded, but I was falling madly in love with Jack White.  As a tribute to the White Stripes, I added red and white into my mix.  From seventh grade through freshman year, I only wore red, white, and black.  That’s how people recognized me.  It was singularly my style.

Once my devotion to the White Stripes started to wane, I was in want of something else to wear.  My goth phase had introduced me to steampunk, and so I began to dress with Victorian-inspired clothes.  Not all the time, but it did reach a point where I wore a hoopskirt to class on special occasions.

And then, all of a sudden, I realized how ridiculous I was.  After that, I started dying my hair blonde and wearing jeans.  I wanted to look normal, to look the way pretty girls did.  This feeling led to a long transition period that lasted all through college.  I looked okay, but I wasn’t quite me yet.  I was working on it.

It’s only in the last couple of years that I really feel as though I dress exactly in the way that feels right to me.  I like to think that my style is more or less classic, with touches of vintage here and there.  I love carefully chosen colors and prints, defined waists, and very delicate jewelry.  My closet is bursting with A-line dresses and my drawers are stuffed with dark skinny jeans, not to mention the cardigan collection that rivals Mr. Rogers.  And as I reflect on that, I know now that I wasn’t silly for going so deep into the goth or steampunk phases–I was being unabashedly myself, which was very brave for a middle/high schooler.  Those eras have inspired the person I am today.

What has your style evolution been like?


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