“You are more than what you wear. But what you wear is still important. “
So goes the blurb for the book Expressionista. The book is marketed towards the tween market, but it doesn’t make the saying any less true for older teens. What you wear is a powerful tool for self-expression. And fashion makes for one of the more unique avenues to find your true personality.
Whether you’re more attuned to the classics, love the natural look, have a dramatic flair or buy dresses online according to your moods, fashion allows you to showcase your persona through a variety of clothes and accessories.
When you’re a teenager stuck within the confines of your high school, being yourself isn’t the easiest thing to do. It can be quite difficult to go against what your peers consider “cool.” And really, who wants to spend the so-called “best years of your life” being shunned by the cool crowd?
Yes, sometimes it’s easier to stay trapped in a world of fashion trends you hate than suffer the wrath of the swell set. So in the end, your unique style is affected.
Of course, there are ways to get around it. And that simply entails some creativity.
Your style says a lot about you. When part of a pack, it might be a challenge to stand out. It’s even doubly challenging to want to separate yourself from the rest.
Take the case of Mindy, 16. She spent her freshman year in high school at the sidelines, watching the popular kids. When sophomore year rolled around, she became friends with Laura, undisputed queen of the school. And she knew she needed to step up on her style game.
The problem is Laura and the rest of the gang like skirts. And Mindy was more of a pants kind of girl. So she got creative. Instead of focusing on just the skirt, she checked out the accessories the girls wear. She liked it and went about getting some to partner and style up her basic tees. She still fit in, but she kept her sense of self.
More than Just Being Popular
But fashion and style isn’t just about popularity. It’s a way of “saying” things without actually saying a word.
Rachel, 18, likes playing around with eye shadow to express how she feels. The future art major would line her eyes with black eyeliner when she’s feeling particularly angsty. Yellow and gold tones adorn her lids when she’s happy. And her feel-good shade when she needs an extra boost of positivity has always been green with lots of shimmer. Her friends can easily tell what she’s feeling with one look at her peepers. And that’s what she loves about fashion. More than just the clothes, accessories and make-up can do and say so much without having to verbalize anything.
Fashion and You
Are you the type to wear simple and basic pieces with an eye-catching necklace? Maybe you can pair anything with sneakers and make it work. Is an interesting jacket your way of adding dimension and flair to your otherwise ordinary duds?
Whatever you go for, your style says a lot about you. But don’t get discouraged if you don’t know what your personal style is just yet. If there’s one thing youth is good for, it’s you have time to find exactly who you are – whether that’s through fashion or something else.
Here are some tips to help you out.
1. Check your closet.
What clothes do you love among the many hanging inside? What makes you most comfortable? Note what you like best and the colors that dominate your space.
2. Try it on.
Don’t be afraid to try on clothes. You can start with those in your closet. Note what looked best on you and what style it was in. You can also go to clothing stores and try on the different and new styles.
You don’t even have to limit yourself with just the name brand and trendy boutiques. Go to thrift shops if you must. Trial and error is the only way to find out what works best for you.
3. Shop smart.
Once you have figured out what you feel and look best in, draw up a budget. Then look for cheap dresses online. This way, you still manage to dress up in the style you want, but are able to buy more items because you opted for the slightly cheaper versions.
Looking good doesn’t always mean breaking the bank.
Fashion is awesome only if you can make it work for you. At a young age, it’s easy to fall victim to fashion disasters, but don’t lose hope. That’s just a step towards finding your style and unleashing the fashion stylista in you.