It was the night before seventh grade, and I was so excited to start my first day of junior high, I could not stop thinking of all the possibilities these next two school years had in store for me. I could hardly sleep because my mind just kept racing, but I decided to tell it to just shut up.
My alarm clock went off at 6 a.m. sharp, I quickly rolled out of bed and got ready, brushing my hair up into a tight side ponytail with a pink cheetah print bow to go with my pink uniform T-shirt, put on my tennis shoes and checked my backpack to make sure all my supplies were in their proper place. At last, I was ready to go and start the journey to my future.
I remember looking out of the car window at my new “big girl” school with so much admiration. My mom dropped me off and I quickly got out of the car.
As soon as I entered those two big doors, suddenly it hit me that all the girls were no longer wearing cute bows to go with their tops. Everyone else did not have a big backpack full of school supplies, and everyone had tight, skinny, uniform pants while I looked like a loser in baggy uniform pants. I remember quickly running to the restroom and ripping my bow off my head. This was the start of my journey of losing myself – but also finding myself.
As soon as I got home, I begged my mom to take me to buy a new backpack and uniform pants. Her response was “you must wait till I get paid. End of discussion.”
I thought: “How dare she! Does not she know what this will mean for me?” I was utterly humiliated and as my two years of junior high went by it was a constant struggle to keep up with the trends everyone was on even if they did not exactly align with who I was. Not only would I wear trendy pieces that everyone else around me was wearing, but I also would pick pieces I could not always afford.
After what felt like years of going with the flow and copying everyone around me, I finally decided that fashion and being true to myself was what made me happy. High school came around and I was extremely excited to no longer wear a uniform. This was symbolic because not only did I physically end up wearing a uniform but socially, too.
Finding my personal style consisted of me finding who or what inspired me, I shortly realized that famous movie characters’ wardrobes have always drawn my attention. For instance, I look up to characters like Cher from “Clueless.” Characters like her are dynamic because they have an effortlessly timeless wardrobe with a hint of trendy pieces. This is a type of style that I feel is like my own.
Not letting others influence who you truly are and finding what inspires you can have a significant impact not only on your wardrobe but also on how you feel. Finding what inspired me helped me pick what piece I genuinely liked and why. You can do it too by narrowing down exactly what inspires you and what it is you look up to.
Victoria Castillo may be reached at [email protected]