The type of clothes you wear shouldn’t make you uncomfortable. I grew up in a weird area, not even a particularly wealthy one, where you were destined to be looked down on if you hadn’t dressed a certain way. My family never struggled. My siblings and I always had relatively nice things and went to private school, but our parents didn’t normally spend the extra money for brands. Luckily, up until high school, most of my peers were the same way. But during these younger years immersed around similar students, I also attended ballet lessons.
My first experiences of feeling inferior when it comes to clothing were during these lessons. Arriving to class always felt like a fashion show. Most of the girls would show up decked out in the latest fashion trends whether it be Uggs (yeah, I was jealous of Uggs), Vera Bradley duffle bags, or some sort of designer jewelry. The funny part of this is that ballet lessons require a strict uniform of a black leotard, pink tights, and slippers. However, even as the class started and the rest of our items were left in the dressing room, the remnants of the embarrassment I felt for my lack of ‘up-to-date’ trends left me feeling discouraged from performing at my best. Standing out even more than I already was seemed like a nightmare.
A similar hierarchy pertained throughout my highschool years. Even though a uniform was in place- a button down shirt and a gray, pleated skirt- a noticeable rift appeared between those that wore a Polo Ralph Lauren shirt, and everyone else. This notion even stretched to the types of shoes you wore, and in the winter, what type of jacket you had. I’d often show up to school in a pair of flats from DSW and a Lands End button down feeling uncomfortable as hell and judged for not being dressed brand name. This was incredibly inhibiting towards my development of the person I am today. It affected how I interacted with people, how I felt trying new things, and again, how I felt about standing out.
Luckily college was a totally different experience, perhaps everyone is too busy to pay attention to whether or not there’s a little horse on your shirt. The ability to focus on myself and to express myself as the creative person that I am comes so much easier when the last thing I’m worried about is whether or not I’m up to par with brands. Of course every so often I’ll experience similar uncomfortable feelings about my clothes (who doesn’t), but these moments allow me to reflect on myself and on the world around me.
Perhaps I’m old enough now to cast aside most concerns about being judged, I’d like to think so at least. If you’re feeling Nobody should ever feel uncomfortable about their clothing. Whether you’re wearing Wal-Mart or Givenchy, being yourself should always be on the foreground.
Stay weird, people.