Fashion as an Expression of Yourself
By Emily Phillips
When you walk down the streets of New York, Paris, London or Milan, it takes less than a minute to spot a woman who chooses to stretch the boundaries of fashion. Whether she wears crimson patent leather trousers, faux fur, or a variety of patterns she always looks flawless. Even at times when she skips out on the bold colours and extravagant accessories there is still something about this woman that turns heads. She emanates a sort of confidence which she expresses through her style, and it is beautiful.
Then you change your route and enter the halls of a small town high school. In every direction you see black leggings and overpriced Pink sweatshirts; everybody looks the same, and nobody looks like the woman you saw on the street. In this place, it’s as though the idea of stretching boundaries is preposterous. The idea of confidence in style is clouded because high school is both ‘judgement central’ and fitting in is the main priority of all high school students. But even in a place like this, hiding somewhere in the deep dark corners under the back stairwell of the school, this woman lives.
Every time I step foot in a grocery store I find a way to read through at least half of the fashion magazines on display, even though I receive most of them in the mail each month. My Instagram feed is monopolized by models, designers, photographers, and stylists. On my laptop, probably 90% of the bookmarked tabs are pieces by Dolce and Gabbana, Dior, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Karl Lagerfeld, and Alexander McQueen; the list could go on. Lying on the floor of my bedroom you can find nearly every copy of vogue I’ve collected since I realized my love for the world of fashion; my inspiration mainly being Alexa Chung, Sex and the City and Fendi as it is. Even after every award show my only interest is who wore what, how, and whether they nailed it or failed it. I consider myself to be a high street fashion enthusiast in every aspect of my life, and I take this with me to high school.
I think my favourite outfit I’ve ever worn is these vintage light wash denim, high rise, cropped, flare leg jeans, that are loose everywhere but the waist, with a black, ribbed, mock neck sweater, chunky healed black leather booties, my Babaton wool and cashmere overcoat, and of course the perfect Tommy Hilfiger cross body bag to match. It’s my favourite because the first time I walked into my school dressed like this people stared; it was the first time I had put myself together the way I wanted to and not the way everybody else does. I became that woman who turns heads because I’d crossed the boundary.
A friend of mine told me that when she saw me dressed like that, she finally understood why I wanted to be a part of the fashion industry so badly. She said that I looked so much more confident, so much more like myself; as if my new clothes had somehow unleashed something inside me. (She also told me she could picture me strutting down the streets of New York City- my lifelong dream). And it was after that day, that I stopped buying the clothes I was ‘supposed’ to wear and started dressing for myself. Now, as I walk down the halls of my high school, I get such an overwhelming rush of satisfaction and contentment in knowing that I look good; and I know I look good because I look like myself, not like everybody else.
I believe that fashion, for me at least, is an outlet of my personality. I don’t feel like myself when I look like everyone else. I am not unique or different. I am not interesting or mysterious. Instead, I am figured out, because when I look like those other girls, I feel like I am just the same as them, like all I want is to fit in and avoid embarrassment and humiliation. But then I put on something that makes me different and reaches past the norm, and I feel radiant. I become the woman who turns heads because I display the entirety of myself through what I wear. I am confident, and I am beautiful.