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“Create your own visual style … let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.” – Orson Wells

Imagine this:

Feather Staff | The Feather Online

Blogger, Mackenzie Beckworth, ’21.

You and your friends are at Forever 21, digging into 50% off racks to find the newest styles and trends. With an excited squeal, one of your friends grabs a pair of mom jeans, something you’d see off of Instagram. But as you gaze at the jeans, and, knowing that they were extremely trendy and stylish, you find that you don’t really see yourself wearing it. In fact, you thought they didn’t even look good. Even though it was something that all the other girls wanted to wear, you didn’t really care for it. But you felt pressured that you had to like it because your friends liked it.

What’s up with this?

Although style and clothing choices often depend on personal preferences, for girls it may have a lot more to do with what’s trendy, popular or even stereotypical.

According to Merriam Webster and dictionary stereotype is defined as something “conforming to a fixed or general pattern, especially a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group”; merely a preconceived notion.

When it comes to outward style, girls easily allow themselves to conform to something fixed or molded into a general pattern of what others would expect. Even becoming a cookie cutter expression of someone else’s opinions. Since all of us love God and are continually maturing in His love for us, how can we venture out into some new clothing styles without getting vain? To develop our own style, but still enjoy the trends?

I think one of the questions we have to ask ourselves is why are we wearing what we’re wearing. Are we trying to be accepted and attractive to the opposite sex? Caring too much or too little about our clothing is something to think about as well, because our presentation is sending a message. So, what message are we sending? Are we allowing stereotypes to tell us if we are accepted, beautiful or popular? Our motives should be originating from who the Bible says we are and our own self-confidence, not the preconceived notions of popular culture. As we grow and become more secure, then our motives will be more sincere in wearing what we like because we like to wear it, whether it’s trendy or not.

Looking at places such as Platos Closet and Salvation Army, junior Macy Little finds that digging into thrift stores results in finding rare clothing items. A true trend-setter, Little’s favorite kind of clothing consists of bright and colorful sweaters.

“My favorite stores to shop at are thrift stores, so Salvation Army and Hinds Hospice,” Little said. “For main brand stores, I would probably say Tilly’s,  T.J. Maxx, or any place I see good clothes at.”

“I absolutely love bright and colorful sweaters with the old retro feel to it,” Little continued. “I love the older style, stuff that my mom would wear when she was my age. So I  like to find older generation clothes that are colorful and bright. I would say it could sort of be popular, because many wear mom jeans now and more retro, aesthetically pleasing and popular outfits. My favorite things to wear are colored sweaters, semi baggy jeans and oversized sweaters with stripes.”

The following podcast features Caleigh Alday furthering her comments on personal style.

As God’s creation, all of us are different and special in our own ways, and style is one of the biggest ways expressing themselves creatively. Individuality plays a huge role in discovering your own unique style. Concerning the style of clothes you choose, expressing yourself in what you choose to wear helps you to feel more confident in who you are. If you want to be a trendsetter, have fun with it! Trying new things has proved to be my own way of finding what I personally liked to wear, even though it wasn’t necessarily popular. Junior high was when I really got curious as to what mixing and matching was, how to coordinate colors, and even simple things like discovering what I enjoyed wearing and what I didn’t.

If you’re into shopping for what’s popular, then be yourself! Remember, it’s all about what fits your personality and what you personally like, not about if others wear it too.

Being the girl who loved to play ‘dress up’ as a child, sophomore Caleigh Alday enjoys shopping at Tilly’s, and TJ Maxx and prefers wearing popular clothing. She shares how she loves to dress up this holiday season.

“I enjoy wearing sweats because of the weather they keep me warm and comfy in classes,” Alday said. “But I also love to dress up in some awesome holiday makeup with a long coat for outside I enjoy wearing boots every chance I can during this time of year.”

“I personally love clothing,” Alday continued. ” Just because you can express yourself as a person just by your outfit. I lean towards more of the popular trends, and I’m laid back as well. So there’s days where I wear sweats, uggs, and a huge sweatshirt to school. Partly because of finals and I’m really tired. But then there are other days where I wear bell bottom jeans and white converse with a red sweater on top.”

If we go a different route and start trying new trends, instead of following trends, our biggest fear is that other girls are going to judge us. but the truth that I have found is that trying new things, especially having to do with style, shows that you aren’t afraid to put yourself out there. Having confidence in who you are and what you’re wearing attracts the right people.

Trying to get out of her comfort zone in terms of clothing, Sophomore Faith Monroy shops at Brandy Melville, Pink, PacSun and Vans.

“When I go shopping, if I see something that is considered ‘basic’, I’ll usually pick it up,” Monroy said. “But if I don’t like it and it’s trendy, I would leave it alone. Also whenever I go shopping I try to get one item out of my comfort style. I have seen a lot of animal print, ombré tinsel dresses, knee high boots, fluffy jackets, the “teddy bear” jacket and Air Force 1’s a lot lately. Since it’s been cold, I’ve been wearing a hoodie leggings or high waisted jeans and a good pair of sneakers. Either my Air Force 1’s or any of my Vans.”

Fashion may seem important, but people’s standards shouldn’t dictate how we express ourselves through our own style.

In school, however, we do have the responsibility to adjust our style to dress code. It’s hard to follow through! But we have to remember that we are part of something bigger, that we are representing our school even in what we wear. But when we have ripped jeans and other shirts that aren’t appropriate waved in our faces constantly from social media and other outlets, it’s tempting and super hard. But I’ve learned that obedience pays off big time, and it’s worth it to be respectful in what we wear, because our clothes send messages, whether we’re meaning to or not. If we aren’t careful, they can turn into mixed signals that can confuse others and make someone stumble. I strongly believe that any girl can look stylish and still be honorable to the dress codes in the midst of cutting through stereotypes.

For me, I’ve had to learn a lot in this area and I still learn everyday how to go my own way if I don’t like the trend. For example, I used to have long, blonde hair that was coming close to my waist. It was thick, luxurious, and people complimented me all the time because of it. Coloring it hundreds of times and curling it constantly so people would be impressed, I soon found it was a waste of time because if I were to be honest, I didn’t want my hair long. I longed for it to be short so that I couldn’t hide behind it. I wanted to be free from it. So the day after NOTS last April, I chopped it and it completely shocked everybody. But I was truly happier, because it felt great without the weight, and it freed me from the stereotype that girls should have long hair. I wanted to try something new, and it’s changed my entire outlook on style.

It’s sometimes challenging to swim against the current when you don’t like where it’s going, but it’s always worth it to try something new. After all, it’s about what you are expressing yourself through personal style. Have fun with it!

For more Girl talk articles, read, COMMENTARY: Girl Talk- Self Image and COMMENTARY: Girl Talk-First Dates

Mackenzie Beckworth can be reached via Twitter and via email.

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