Maybe you’re a gorgeous bombshell now but there was once a dark and painful time known as adolescence. It was a time of puberty, rebellion, angst, and identity issues. And if you’re anything like me, a college student, none of these feelings have gone away and your fashion sense isn’t much of an upgrade, but you’re at least more in tune with yourself.
From punk rock middle school ensembles to “I’ve given up” college rags, we’ve been changing our styles with each passing phase of our lives. Personally, I have a dark and dusty closet full of past painfully awkward fashion disasters that would probably wake me up at night if it weren’t for my love of sleep. However, I must admit, there is some fun in reminiscing about the good old times when we could be whoever we wanted to be.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane and see if any of these awkward fashion phases are relatable:
The beginning of the end. Mom had decked you out in some cute outfits but it was time to let your inner fashionista shine. At this time, I was twelve and had just realized I’m a girl. I tried so hard to stress my womanly qualities, begging my mom to let me wear makeup, but my body just wasn’t there yet.
At 13, I was basically stranded on a fashion dessert with very little clothes to pick from and no one to confide in. This era consisted of full-eyelid eyeliner, my grandma’s hand-me-down belts and earrings, a single pink streak in my hair, and a mixture of my elementary school clothes and graphic tees I picked at random from the store.
At 14, I was in the height of middle school fashion, the adolescent renaissance. This was the era of scene girls. Probably the worst fashion trend of the century, the scene style consisted of teased, colored hair, eyeliner, hair bows, and an arm full of colorful bracelets.
At this time, skinny jeans came into my life like a gift from the heavens and I vowed to only ever wear Converse shoes. Claire’s was my go-to accessory shop where I bought my first fingerless gloves that I didn’t go a day without wearing. In fact, I wore my converse and gloves to my 8th grade promotion ceremony. And oh, how I envied the jelly bracelets, originally a trend in the 80’s, that all the girls were wearing until I finally purchased a set of my own. And you bet I tried to tease my hair, but luckily it never stayed in place. Out of place were the plaid flannels that everyone was wearing at this time, boys and girls. Of course, I had to get me one of those.
Then freshman year of high school came around and I was still trying so hard to express my punk rock image along with a more masculine style. I cut my hair short into layers, wore yarn braids in my hair, dressed in skinny jeans and converse, wore eyeliner, and, of course, rocked my grandma’s hand-me-down shirts. I purchased my very first band tee, a black, oversized Three Days Grace shirt that had one of my youth group leaders thinking I worshipped the devil.
Then came along my crush. A semi-goth guy who wore all black and white, had long blonde hair, and listened to Japanese rock music. Oh, he was an interesting fella and I must admit I was so infatuated with him that I abandoned all my previous knowledge of terrible fashion and immersed myself into his world. I dyed my hair bright, fiery red, wore mostly black, significantly improved my eyeliner game, started wearing foundation and lip gloss, and, surprisingly, looked a whole lot prettier. Slowly, my hair turned pink and then the gothic fashion evolved into a slightly girly wardrobe consisting of my first pairs of short shorts and tank tops.
Then, I achieved the status of “in a relationship” and gave up trying to fit into any categories. I didn’t follow any trends except for the combat boot craze. I did discover the amazing effects of makeup but ultimately failed to become a beauty guru. This was a state of calm. Too calm.
Maybe you went through this phase, maybe you didn’t. This is the “f*** the world” phase. This is the “I just got dumped so I need to reinvent myself” phase. After I got dumped, I decided to embrace my punk rock heritage once again. I once again wore short hair and put together some interesting outfits. No, really, I once wore purple shorts, a neon green spaghetti strap top, long blue Doctor Who socks, a floral choker, and put my hair up in a side ponytail. Not exactly punk rock but always in the name of punk rock rebellion.
Ah, the girly girl phase. Punk rock you swore it would never happen but it did, didn’t it? Admittedly, I’m still slightly in this phase. Younger me attested to the ugliness of sandals and yet, here I am, wearing sandals. Younger me also cursed bikinis but, here I am, wearing a bikini. There’s lacy summer dresses, skirts, floral tops, long hair, hair clips, light makeup, and an abundance of flats for every occasion.
The college era. You’re up all night writing essays and up early in the morning to get to school. You also have a job, bills to pay, and a sky full of responsibility resting on your shoulder. You’re trying really hard to adult but you “literally can’t even”. You throw on sweats and a sweatshirt and tie your hair up into a messy bun that looks nothing like the gloriously immaculate bun of the regular Istagram socialite. You’ll even put on your Ugg boots with your sweats cause why not? Heck, you’ll even wear pajama bottoms if it’s laundry day. No time for makeup or accessories. You don’t care what people think anymore.
Ultimately, some of these phases are less awkward than others and the uniqueness of each one is unforgettable. Perhaps it’s embarrassing to look back and remember a time when you really thought all those different articles of clothing went together. But isn’t it nostalgic? Don’t you almost wish you could go back and relive the experience of discovering who you are? Of being so excited by trends? Of wearing whatever the hell you want?
Featured image by Gregory.