As a former avid-Crocs wearer, some might think I’m unfit to have any opinion regarding fashion. However, I believe my former shoe choices (while controversial) make me all the more qualified to speak on the importance of self-expression and creativity through fashion. My bright yellow Crocs adorned with random, clashing Jibbitz did not strut the runways of middle school in an attempt to fit it—they were my genuine style and reflected my personality.
Many people don’t recognize fashion as an art form in favor of more typical mediums, but it may be the artistic outlet that requires the most creativity out of all of them. Sure, you could go to Lululemon and buy a full outfit that would suffice for a cute, athletic look, but the true fun and freedom of self-expression lies in having fun and taking chances with what you wear.
Like a lot of teens my age, I turn to thrifting to fulfill that creative outlet. I love being able to sort through thousands of random articles of clothing, hoping to find a unique piece or even just a basic piece for layering. Thrifting gives me the ability to handcraft the look I am hoping to create and take chances on pieces that might not be conventionally “cute.” It ensures that I am staying true to my own individual style and not buying something just because it’s a passing trend.
For me, thrifting is the way I find articles of clothing to exhibit my personality. Yet for someone still trying to find their own distinctive style, I am in no way saying that’s the only way to go. Instead, I would have the hope that everyone is dressing for themselves, not wearing a certain top just because Brandy Melville sells it or they want to “fit it.” Instead, I encourage people to use fashion to its fullest as a form of self-expression. It’s liberating and fun to wear what you want, instead of constantly trying to keep up with fads that will likely be considered ugly two months later.
Creating your own clothes through sewing, knitting, or crocheting is another exciting way to hand-craft what you want to wear. It may take some time or practice to get into, but being able to tell someone you made something when they ask where it’s from is the most rewarding feeling in the world. Learning to sew also gives you the ability to upcycle old clothes or thrifted pieces that no longer fit your fashion visions, while avoiding sending more waste to the landfills.
Don’t let the judgement of others prevent you from expressing yourself in your personal style. So wear that funky sweater, those patterned pants—take a risk and use fashion as the art form it is meant to be.