Defining My Style

Jaime (Young).png

I grew up in a household that could not afford to provide for me or my siblings. When it came to clothing options, there were none. I did not sport the popular fads of the other children my age, and I was used to going back to school without the confidence to approach new classmates and encounter new situations. This period of time clarified my first thoughts of how clothing could change my life. If I could have more options to give myself a style, I would have the confidence to take on life.  

As a girl, I was awkward - tall and gangly. I was bullied more than praised. I had a hard time finding pants that would fit my legs that would not rise above my ankles when I sat down. In 7th and 8th grade, I started to experiment with style, beyond matching a purple top to purple shorts. I began trying new things. I would take accessories and clothing from my mom's closet and sneak them back into their place when I got home. She had soft leather fringed belts, crochet tops, faux fur lined sweaters, and so much more. She saved pieces from over the years, like a fashion time capsule.  

I had dreams of custom clothing made specifically for someone like me. Though, the thought faded along with childhood, and gave way to my teenage years.  

However, by my freshman year of high school, I learned I could purchase secondhand clothing for very low prices and "update" them to my liking.  

And so it began!  

I wanted to rock a pair of wide bell bottoms, like the ones I saw my mom model in pictures from the 1970's. I could only afford a $5 pair of straight leg pants that I found on a clearance rack. This pair of jeans were the only ones in the store that could hug my slender frame. I needed them! 

Once I got home, I locked myself in my room with my new jeans. It all started with a pair of scissors, a needle, and a spool of thread. I cut out two triangular slices from each pant leg, mid-calf to ankle. After taking a step back in thought, I rummaged through my drawers and found an old shiny red shirt that matched the stitching throughout the denim pants. I removed identical triangular shapes to fit the empty spaces in the pants from the scarlet shirt and sewed them into place. I walked into school the next day with my unique bell bottoms and a matching red bell sleeved top. Head held high and feeling fabulous, I strutted down the halls from class to class with a spring in my step that I had never had before. I was starred at by some and complimented by others. In a sea of Abercrombie, Gap, and Hollister garbed teenage girls, I stood out.  

I loved it. 

Style is a wearable snapshot into a person's mind. It makes you feel at home when you are far from what you are accustomed to. It breeds confidence, cloaking you in pride like a suit of armor. It is freedom; freedom of choice.