Column: Fashion Forward
What Am I Wearing In That Picture?
Published: Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 01:09
The picture surfaced recently as I was packing for college. I went instantly blind upon looking at it, and at this very moment as I am typing, I am still suffering its effects. I may never fully recover from this one painful image, but as Ernest Hemingway said, “Write hard and clear about what hurts,” so here I go. I will confront it, in all its horror.
The year was 2003, if I am correct, and that sounds entirely too recent for this picture to have been real. The photo was a picture of me and six other girls before we went out for a birthday dinner for my friend Betsy. It all sounds innocent enough, I know, but trust me, it wasn’t.
The offending outfit was as follows: a white polo shirt with popped pink collar, and accompanying green pony and player. It was paired so fabulously with a light blue and white seersucker, A-line, knee length skirt. I chose to accessorize this heinous combination with a bright blue sequined bag. And I surely thought that I was the picture of perfection. My newly curly hair was in some sort of unruly, frizzy coif, and my crooked teeth, not yet straightened, were screaming for attention through my bright, wide, jubilant, young smile. Who had let me out of the house looking as such? I wanted to scream as I stared at the offending photo blinding me.
What I took from this horrifying trip down memory lane, after I had recovered, that is, was not just that I will always look back on my past fashion choices and regret them, but that at least while I was making these tragic, young, early 2000s mistakes (I still hold that I was not the only one dressing this way), that I was being fearless. That turquoise sequined purse was in fact tacky as all hell, but was I the only one at the party with one? Yes. And did I receive so many preteen compliments on it? Also, a resounding hell yes.
Fearless is the name of the game, especially when you are wearing something a little out there. Taylor Swift says it best when she sings, “And I don’t know why but with you I’d dance in a storm in my best dress, fearless.” Although I think Taylor’s emphasis here is on the man and not the dress, I like her general sentiment. Be fearless even if you aren’t flawless, because who really is? That offbeat dress in your closet deserves some daylight, so take it out already! And as my roommate pointed out to me, what’s old is new again, and a scan of the Internet will show that the ’90s fashions of our distant past are making a huge comeback. So fear not your high-necked dresses or your spaghetti strapped tops—beat the curve and rock them this weekend. You will be sure to grab some attention.
This semester, do not blend into the background—you never know when a great fashion choice will turn into a conversation, and even a new friendship. Be bold, be brave, and be fearless, because Taylor Swift says so, after all, and she has some amazing dresses for sure. I would love to pair one of those sequined numbers with my own sequined purse from the past, and just watch as everyone stares on in shock, and even envy too.
Maybe I was really ahead of the times? Or maybe I was just a little bit strange, but either way, I have to look back with pride, not horror, at these decisions, and I suggest that as you weed through old pictures from your own past to hang in decorative patterns or from vintage clothes pins in your own dorm room, that you embrace your own past choices. Because at one time or another, that was exactly what you wanted to be wearing, even if you can’t remember why.
A special note to Boston College freshmen:
If you have somehow picked up your first issue of The Heights, first of all good for you, you are ahead of the curve already. And secondly, if you have somehow accidentally flipped to this column, and have read this far already, here is some unwarranted advice from me to you. No I will not tell you anything helpful about how to live with your first-ever roommate, or how to navigate the treacherous dating scene at BC, nor will I impart some wisdom about classes, majors, teachers, grad school, or grades. Merely, I will tell you to take risks, both sartorially and otherwise. You may look back with amazement, but you will always be glad you did. You don’t need Hunter rainboots, a North Face jacket, Jack Roger’s sandals, a Long Champ bag, and Tory Burch flats to make friends. You need a sense of humor and a sense of adventure. So wear that vintage jumpsuit, the weird dress with a picture of a girl on it, or even the galaxy print leggings. You will surround yourself with interesting people, and be better off for it in the long run. Trust me, I’ve been at this crazy fashion game for a long time.