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Dressing For Myself at College

Maddie Newman | Writer



An 8-year-old girl who gagged at the thought of wearing a turtleneck, a 12-year-old girl who wouldn’t be caught dead in a dress, and a 16-year-old girl whose closet consisted of 4 variations of the same thrifted skinny jeans. What do all of these girls have in common? They’re all me, from different points of my life.


My style journey has gone through hundreds of changes and phases, yet they all have one key characteristic tying them together. They were worn strictly for the attention and appreciation of other people. My goal in planning what to wear was always to look at it from other people's viewpoints. In high school, my yearning to be liked versus my yearning to be myself were constantly at odds with each other, and it was exhausting. I would either wear leggings and a hoodie and feel miserable or a colorful blazer and platform pumps and feel embarrassed. I could never win. 


College was a fresh start. Before my first semester, I made a pact with myself that going with the grain was for chumps and that I would wear whatever the heck I wanted to wear. For me. I would finally be unequivocally myself at college. At first, it was embarrassing seeing everyone look so effortless in their university crewnecks and Air Force 1s while I was clanking around campus in my four-inch platform boots, vintage wool mini-skirts, and colorful hair ribbons. But as time went on, I grew into my individuality and now feel as though I can be somewhat of an inspiration to others who want to break free of the prison that is conformity.

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