(Does that title make you worry you’re in the wrong place?)
I went to Catholic school for 12 years. I wore a uniform every day. The non-uniform clothes I owned were minimal as I was raised by a man who felt like clothing was a necessity and therefore you should only own what you needed. I used to get picked on at my summer day care because I didn’t have enough clothes to vary my wardrobe for five days a week. I always had to repeat something at least once. And when I tried to get Dad to buy me things that were “in style” we only shopped at a handful of places so “in style” was never quite on target.
So! When I got to college I was determined to create some sort of style to call my own. I basically tried to emulate the people I hung out with, buying what they bought and wearing what they wore. However, I hung out with a lot of people who had already solidified their own style and I was basically mixing and matching things from all across the board. Some days I sported the flowing skirt and tie-dye of my deadhead friends. Other days I wore fishnets and Doc Martens like my punk friends.
I didn’t really understand shopping for several years either. Periodically my Dad would say, “Take the emergency credit card and spend $100 on clothes.” I remember the first time he did that I didn’t really know where to shop. I had only bought clothes in a few stores – Goody’s and The Limited. Goody’s because it was affordable and near our home. The Limited because that was where all of the “in style” items of the time were sold. Well, Huntsville (where I went to school) didn’t have a Goody’s so I went to The Limited where $100 barely bought me anything.
I mainly shopped at the “Head Shops” where things are SUPER expensive even though they’re SUPER beat up because they preyed on people like me. People who wanted to look the part but didn’t really know how to shop or buy the clothes.
I also still would constantly see people around campus who had a distinct style and I’d get a little jealous that my wardrobe and look was such a hodgepodge of miscellany. I went through what I call the North Face phase in my early twenties where I alternated my Deadhead and Punk days with days where I work hiking pants, North Face t-shirts and Vasque boots. I liked being outdoors, I liked hiking, but I most importantly, saw a girl wearing those type of clothes one time and she was totally cute so I stole her look.
I was basically the impressionable 14-year old as a senior in college. All of my outfits represented a part of me, but put together it never seemed like a closet that belonged to one person.
This is the downside of the uniform. You don’t get the weird style-implementation out of your system in grade school so you go through a REALLY awkward phase in college.
So, by the time I graduated from college I had rotations of Hippy/Goth/Punk/Hiker Chic looks that I would sport on any given day. I was the most schizophrenic dresser in the history of man.
I think about that a lot now, as I’m much more confident in my “look”. Granted, that look is mostly running clothes and blue jeans, but still…I just don’t stress about it anymore. I don’t worry about whether or not I fit some sort of pattern. I tend to buy all of my clothes at Target (except for my running gear) and I just pick simple and plain with the periodic “conversation piece” to jazz things up. I grab some fads as they go by, if I like them and if I think they’ll last more than a year, but most I just like from afar. I don’t have a huge clothing budget, so I still shop mostly out of necessity than anything. I’ve basically come full circle. I am now the same girl I was in elementary school, wearing the same items of clothing 2 days in the same week.
I just care a lot less about it now.
What about you? Did you go through any style phases in your youth? Were you settled into a “look” by the time you got to college or did you still experiment with your style like I did?