Hello Wonderful Listeners…
Let me tell you… I have changed. I mean, seriously, I have changed in ways I didn’t expect to but it has happened. I’m referring to my sense of fashion since you all don’t know. Yes, my fashion sense has changed dramatically.
I never expected this change to come about and in the way it did but, here I am. In fact, my entire fashion journey (which is ongoing) reached a climax very recently. I’m not sure if I’m still in the climax or if I’m reaching the falling action but either way, my journey has come a long way.
If I may, allow me to recount my journey thus far…
Allow me to reminisce on the past, at least those years prior to 2010 firstly. This would include my life up until the start of my high school experience.
I was raised in a family that never truly stressed a sense of style or fashion. However, we did stress the need to look presentable while in public and in the company of guests and acquaintances. My parents never once taught me about fashion basics, like how to style your outfit, what to consider when buying clothes, or the like. All they ever did was tell me how to take care of my garments.
I will say that much at least that I am grateful for. I’ve known since I was about 13 years old how to wash my own clothes and launder them properly at that. I was taught how to iron clothes but I studied on my own to really maximize those efforts.
You know it’s really rather strange. As a kid, I was never concerned with my outward appearance. Actually, it was a chore to make myself look presentable. I always disliked the task of doing so. It was too much effort. Maybe most boys felt that way growing up, or maybe I’m different. I dunno.
But something inside of me picked up on the little things by observing my parents. While they never taught me how to style myself, I did figure out style techniques that were appropriate from observation. I at least learned dress codes from certain events and the importance of looking sharp. I also picked up on color coordination.
None of this mattered to me prior to 2010 though. I was far too much a kid, worried about living life to be concerned about my clothes. As long as they clothed me, that’s all I cared about. Besides, my wardrobe has always been simple because I didn’t have to think as much about what to wear. Most days it was jeans and a polo shirt with sneakers for me. (Perhaps not the best combination but it worked for a kid.)
Something else that also affected me and my fashion sense growing up is my lifestyle. I went to a middle school with a uniform, which meant that I didn’t get the luxury of thinking about how I looked. It was decided for me.
Also, my family rarely went to events where I was required to dress up. I mean, my parents did when they went out on dates or somewhere else important, but not their children. At best, the most I ever got to dress up was for the purpose of attending church services. You know, I at least had to know what “Sunday Best” was.
So mentally, I was rarely provided with a chance to experiment with clothing. I was rarely exposed to environments where appearance mattered and what you chose to wear would affect you. Styling just never really mattered.
Now I’d like to focus on my high school years: 2010-2013…
Throughout high school, I had plenty of chances to experiment with clothing. I went to a public school without uniform dress code. So as long as it wasn’t inappropriate, I could wear it. But I never really did care to experiment.
Perhaps I owe this to the fact that I never got to go shopping for myself through these years. In fact, until I got into college, I had never gone shopping for my own clothes. Someone always did it for me. Now I don’t mean that I was never there while they were purchasing the clothes, but I do mean that I didn’t have much of a voice (nor did I use it) in regards to what I wanted.
It’s not that my parents were really controlling about how I looked. It was more about that I was just ignorant about what to buy, where to buy it, what to look for, etc. I just didn’t know anything about how to shop for myself. So it was much easier to let someone decide that for me and then work with what I was given.
Now, what I was able to do instead was pick up a keen sense of who was well dressed and who wasn’t. My eyes became frequently used to people watch and evaluate their fashions. The more I did it, the better I was at breaking down the components of what was good fashion and what wasn’t. I got maybe a bit too critical sometimes…
Of course, this also meant that I noticed something else. I noticed how I looked too. I began to look at myself and examine my own fashions. What I came to realize was that I didn’t have the best fashion sense but that it wasn’t horrible either. It was just average really. This made me neither happy nor sad. I just took notice of it.
It’s so funny when I think about it because my best friend throughout high school was a fashionista. Her fashions were always excellent, even if she wasn’t dressed extravagantly. She and I spent a good chunk of our high school experience talking about how people dressed, although she never commented on my fashions (probably out of love so I wasn’t offended.)
Either way, by the time high school was over, I had gone from being completely ignorant of fashion, to having somewhat of an idea about how it worked. While my knowledge wasn’t extensive, I knew enough to know how things should be done in most circumstances.
Now let me switch to my college years: 2013-2016
Let’s start with freshman year. After getting to college and dorming with two good friends from high school (you might remember Paul and Armand…), I started to change again. Since I was dorming with these two, as well as Ian (my actual roommate during freshman year), I took notice of fashions even more.
See, Paul had joined a fraternity and what that meant was that he was held to a certain standard. He was expected to dress to a certain degree and surpass that minimum during important interactions. So, being the friend that I was, I helped him when he was falling short.
Now, just so you know, Paul was much more informed about fashion than I was at this point (and he still is.) Still, I was more than willing to contest my knowledge about it against his. We evaluated other people together, as examples, just to duke it out. He won most of the battles but I had my few victories too.
But what I mostly took notice about Paul was that he began to dress nicely all the time. Seeing that every day really opened my eyes about fashion and how extensive it can be. I had more than enough chances to evaluate him and keep him in line. In exchange, I was also learning from him about what is acceptable and what is not, because he was a living example.
Outside of Paul, I had Armand and Ian. Armand never really dressed up ever, however, he had the knowledge about what is acceptable and correct, much like I did. He was great for conversation about much more formal wear. Armand never dressed up but when he did, he was in suits. (Paul prefered to be dressed casually but be dapper simultaneously.)
Suits were a territory I knew very little about. But what I did know was how to spot a bad suit. Armand was also great at that too, along with how to spot a good suit. So I learned from him thinking about suits theoretically which helped a lot. I didn’t get practical experience out of him but the additional information was helpful.
Ian, well, he was dressed preppy. Now, just to be frank and clear, I cannot stand preppy styles. The colors are far too loud for my tastes, not to mention that the style itself carries a “snooty” stigma with it. Of course, Ian was a wonderful guy so that stigma didn’t apply to him.
However, it did apply to a large number of men on campus. They all were dressed very preppy or in the blazer-khaki (and cowboy boot) combination, which very much so annoyed me at this time. Honestly, it wasn’t that these people were dressed badly, it was just that they lived up to that “snooty” stigma that I disliked so very much. Therefore, I developed a distaste for those styles.
Well, while all of these thoughts were fumbling around in my head, something else was going on in my life—I was losing weight and a good amount to boot. At the end of freshman year, I had lost over 50+ pounds. Inevitably, that meant I dropped some sizes in clothing.
Suddenly, all of my clothes were too big. What was unfortunate was that I could do nothing about this at the time, nor would I for a long while. So, now I had reached a predicament where I realized that my clothes made me look ridiculous but I couldn’t do anything. I was self-conscious all of the time about how I looked. At least before, though I wasn’t the best dressed, I was not the worst either. Now, I was starting to lean towards the lower end.
Well, thankfully, I came to accept my situation and move on with it all by sophomore year. I moved into my apartment with my roommates (Paul, David, and Sean) and I was lucky enough to be in the room next to Paul.
In the apartment up until senior year, I had the luxury of watching good and bad fashions come through the house. Paul was always dressed nicely (and I did envy him a bit for it) so I could see decent rotating fashions all the time. With passing seasons, I got to see his wardrobe change and compliment the time of year and his body.
With David and Sean, I had nothing extravagant to look at. They were just as average as me (although their clothes fit them.) There was a stark difference however. David did occasionally dress in “Sunday Best” so I could see him in vest-trouser combinations, and admittedly, he got the look right. Sean on the other hand, well, he wasn’t anything to write home to Mama about. His fashion sense was slightly below mine, mainly because he tried to pair nice outfits with gym shoes…
But something else occurred here too after a long enough period. Even Sean upgraded his fashions. The guy who I thought to be below me was now above me and he was doing himself justice at that! Needless to say, I became jealous of what I was seeing around me. It was at this point that something inside of my began to change…and it only became more intense.