I grew up in a very conservative little hick city in Washington State called Enumclaw. Everyone seems to ride horses there, go to school in either camouflage or safety orange, and they all keep their hunting rifles in their trucks. I've even seen some flying Confederate flags despite us being in the north of the United States.
I left this little town and traveled an hour drive north for college to Seattle, Washington. Seattle is a large and very liberal city, with a gay mayor even. Without the oppression and fear of getting shot for coming out at both queer and goth, I could finally let me freak flag fly. Here are five types of clothing I wore to class at the University of Washington that I couldn't wear to Enumclaw High School.
I dressed like I listened to Taylor Swift until I graduated high school. As soon as I hit college, I chopped all my hair off, dyed it red, and became goth. As a goth, I have a flair for the avante garde.
On my 21st birthday, I wore a ballgown, black lipstick, and a tiny top hat to my classes for the day. I even had a black lace parasol to block the sun. There was a group of middle schoolers passing by me on campus and they parted around my dress to let me through while staring. I expected the worst, but as I left, I heard one of them tell their classmate, "I want to be like her when I grow up, so cool."
Wear the crazy clothing, the dramatic and the weird, the uncommon. You may just make someone elses day. You may also give a child that was scared to wear clothing like you the confidence to be themselves.
2. Witch Hats
In Seattle, you are free to be whatever gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and also religion. This includes being a Wicca — I am a witch.
I love showing off my witchy crystal jewelry and spooky cloaks around the city, but my favorite accessory to bring out of the closet is my wide-brimmed witch hat — it goes with every outfit!
Being in a town where inclusivity is important can be liberating. No discrimination on who you are or how you dress can make a big impact on how you carry yourself.
If you can change up your wardrobe, why not change up your hair. For me, some days I really don't feel like or want to be myself. On those days, I wear a wig to give myself a fresh look that only has to last a day. I have plenty of wigs for costumes, but they are nice to wear on some days with normal clothes, a beanie, and a pair of headphones.
Wigs give you a way to stand out or blend in depending on your preference. They also allow you to experiment with new looks before you take the plunge with your actual hair.
4. Queer Pride Clothing
I didn't come out as panromantic or asexual until I turned 19. Ever since then, I've had a giant ace flag on my bedroom wall to show pride in the fact that I can be open about who I am. I frequently dress in black and purple as testament of that freedom.
When I was in high school, you could get beat up and shoved in lockers for standing up for the queer kids or being a member of the Gay Straight Alliance club (GSA). Then imagine how people reacted to you being out as queer yourself.
Something as little as being able to wear a rainbow can improve your outlook on life significantly. Having who you are torn down can take a toll, so allowing that pride to shine can make or break a lifetime.
Even something as simple as being able to wear a costume to class on Halloween can be a big deal. But what about casual cosplays whenever you want. Costumes allow people to take on the personas of those they appreciate.
If you can't have a little fun once in a while then what's the point. Be who you want to be, even if that day it's a character from a show nobody else will know. You won't get made fun of for it in Seattle.
My wardrobe and my world view has expanded greatly since moving up to Seattle for uni. I love my hometown, and it made me who I am today, but after moving somewhere where I can be myself, I like where I'm headed for the future even more.