Self Identity, Self Expression, and Other Things With Which Fashion is Synonymous

Joana Munoz, Reporter

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Admittedly, I was having a difficult time thinking of topics or things that matter to me to write about. Not because nothing matters to me, but because too much matters, and there’s only so little time to write about all of it.

Something I learned growing up in a low-income home is that clothing won’t always be the first priority, and buying things first hand won’t always be possible, or favorable. I spent most of my childhood wearing hand-me-downs and thrifting clothes. Before it was chic and sustainable to thrift, buying things, especially clothes, second hand was seen as something taboo, or at least in Bethpage, a clear sign of economic disadvantage.

Growing up, I tried to be understanding of my parents, and other than the occasional gym shoes and Sunday dress, I wouldn’t ask them to buy me clothing. As I started to grow, and with me the social stigma around “ugly” or non-trendy clothes grew, I found it harder and harder to be content with the few things my family could offer me.

And then I discovered something life changing. Trends die, but style stays. I understood that getting all the trendy and “cute” clothing of the moment, and ultimately throwing away tons of money, was completely worthless. With the help of the occasional OFTW videos on YouTube and inspiration from various Instagram accounts and blogs, such as Audrey Rivet’s, I began making my list of wardrobe essentials. 

I spent less time pining over the clothing all the other kids at school owned, and more time looking for pieces that made me truly happy. I began developing my own style, something I still don’t have a name for, but I’m working on it.

And through this entire journey, I have never spent more than fifteen bucks on anything. Thrifting became one of my favorite activities; I felt like I was treasure hunting. Slowly, I became less and less ashamed of who I was and where I came from.

Now I have a job, and I can afford to buy myself cute clothing whenever I want, and admittedly it is something I do more often than I should, but even now, nothing makes me happier than a good find at the thrift store.

My clothing, my style, it does not define me, but it is a symptom of the person I have come to be. I’m more bold with my fashion choices, and I’m more daring in my personal life. I’m comfortable in the things I wear, and I’m comfortable in the person I am.

I don’t think you can judge the type of person someone is just because of what they were, but it certainly gives you a window into the things they like and the interests they have. Biker boots, fur coats, or flowy dresses are some of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe, and yet individually, they each send a different message. 

Fashion style isn’t set in stone, the way you dress doesn’t have to fit the same theme everyday. So why not express your moods, interests, or multiple personalities through your outfits. It doesn’t matter what you wear or don’t wear, what matters is how you feel wearing it.