Being preppy, not pretentious

Sabin Laskoski, Staff Writer

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For the majority of my preteen, to the end of my teenage years, the idea of ‘fashion’ was certainly an archaic aspect in my life. Instead of forcing myself to dawn a pair of smart, sophisticated chinos and an oddly uncomfortable poplin button-down shirt, it was far more appealing to throw on a hoodie that I had worn almost everyday and a pair of broken-in jeans.  

I would scoff at the idea of looking ‘nice’, as I had it down to a strong mentality that dressing well and looking presentable were certainly not equal requirements.

However, as the traditional story unfolds and consists of, my mother took me to of all places, Pac-Sun, and I, in my early teenage years, with stubbornness and an exclusive eye for athletic clothing, resisted that foreign change- until I truly took the time to look at myself in something different.
I can vividly remember it now- standing in one of Pac-Sun’s oddly hipster-laden dressing rooms, thinking that I looked ridiculously stereotypical in a pair of maroon chino pants and grey long-sleeve Henley shirt. Before my feet took control of the rest of my body, and made a break for my special Nike hoodie, I was struck with the way I looked from the side. I would say it was an epiphany but giving something as ignored as fashion sense the title ‘epiphany’ would be both ignorant and preposterously arrogant.

Instead, I felt as if a blindfold had been lifted off of not just my mindset of ‘fashion is something for girls’, but also off of my eyes which kept darting back to, and longing for, the Nike hoodie and sweatpants lying beside me in the dressing room.

Once I got a good look at myself in the mirror, and after I unearthed my ability to stare at my own ass, I almost felt embarrassed to take off the newer clothes that I was trying on. At that point, putting that Nike hoodie back on felt like telling someone’s parents something awful about their child- it was both unappealing and unnatural.

It was at that point in my life that I decided dressing well wasn’t a mindset, ability, or choice- it was instead a way of expression that was only highlighted by the ability to combine countless articles of clothing together to complete an outfit.

Until my junior year of high school, despite my recent discovery of partial fashion, my outfits still consisted of brands such as Hollister and Pac-Sun, with my middle-school ignorance still bursting through the seams of my graphic tees. Whatever the reason, my sense for fashion was still lacking in several departments- literally and metaphorically.

Maybe it was the fact that I went to school in an area where the main focus was not on learning, but on social status and athletics (which always seemed to frightfully be dual requirements to the other); or maybe it was the fact that I had the confidence of someone who recently woke up from a dream where being naked was in the forefront.

Regardless of the specifics, style evolution in my case was a long-standing process, with several years of experimenting with different styles before I found what I wanted to wear.

Think of it as a coming of age story for teenagers- I was waiting for that magical moment to arrive where I found put on a sweater and instantly look incredible, and even though that day has yet to arrive (although it is doubtful that it will) I have learned that style is found once someone learns to accept what that individual truly wants to wear.

Instead of following social trends or fashion rules, we need to learn to create our own- not just in order to be ourselves, but to use fashion as a vessel for inspiration and identity.

Sabin is a sophomore English major and a staff writer for The Voice.