Throughout my whole life, fashion and style has always intrigued me. For a long time, it was only something I could observe rather than take part in considering I wore a uniform for the majority of my life. A huge part of going to college for me was the ability to express myself through outfits day in and day out.
When I was younger, the words "brand" and "style" were synonymous to me. This is most likely due to the impression that media and advertising had on me, as well as the fact that all the most posh and luxurious areas of NYC were filled with stores like Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and so on. I would walk down the streets as a little girl and watch the most glamorous people walk in and out of these stores. Stylistically speaking, I figured it was that way or the highway.
Another misconception I developed about style is that a person had to pick one avenue of it for the most part, and they were kind of set. A person who enjoys wearing turtlenecks and collared shirts could never rock baggy cargo pants and a crop top, obviously.
Now that I've explored what style means to me and have examined many different avenues of fashion, I see that I was very wrong in the past.
I'd first like to begin explaining the lessons I've learned by defining two key terms. Brand means brand. Style means style. Brand does not mean style. Style does not mean brand. This is important. This is not to say that having nice brand-name clothing is bad, or a problem, or that a person can't look amazing and stylish in them, because they can and those special items are great. I'm merely saying that, for me, always wearing styles or outfits that conglomerate businesses tell me are "in" and "cool" doesn't feel right. It makes me feel like I'm wearing a uniform all over again, just with a bigger group of people.
One of the most disappointing moments I've ever had in fashion was this summer. I traveled to Israel for the first time. I was excited to learn and see things I had never seen before. One night on the trip, a bunch of my friends and I went out to a club in Tel Aviv where everyone there was our age and it was mainly Tel Aviv locals. Guess what everyone was wearing? The same exact thing. The girls were in black or white tie-up blouses and jean shorts and the boys were in some type of dark colored, slim-fit khaki pants and a basic tee. White sneakers for all. Here I was, in a nightclub in the Middle East, and the only thing that gave away the fact that I wasn't at home was the scorching heat. I get that everyone wants to be cool, hip, and in, and this isn't to say that people didn't look good, because they did. But I was disappointed that I went halfway across the world and didn't have a new perspective on one of the biggest ways that people express themselves. Uniform feeling again.
As for picking one type of style per person, that was totally wrong, too. Style, to me, has come to mean how the clothes you wear make you feel and whether or not you feel like you rock it. That is the most important part-- feeling like you rock it. The clothes that make you feel good can change daily. I personally love changing up my vibe everyday. It makes me feel like different versions of myself and that I can do different things. So, yes, please rock turtlenecks, collared shirts, baggy cargo pants, crop tops, anything, because why not?
There's no reason to limit oneself in fashion. Fashion is for fun. Go throw something on and rock it.