Mad style: express yourself

Madison McGuire, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Illustration by Madison McGuire (Madison McGuire)

Personal expression is the cornerstone of our individuality, uniqueness and complex society. There are numerous ways to learn how to express yourself. Some can learn a hobbies to project their beliefs, like art, writing or music. But there is a unique way that every person can externally portray parts of their inner selves: fashion. Not only does fashion help us project our identities through what we wear, but that same idea enables fashion to become an outlet to shape the ideas of society. Style is a unique method to expose parts of yourself, whether that be identity, culture, or even personal beliefs.

“I like to skateboard here. There are different kinds of sections that skaters dress like. So I guess I would say, I kind of dress like a skater,” sophomore Alden Rathburn explains. Rathburn uses style to connect to the culture of skateboarding in his life. Similar to Rathburn, other people can find themselves dressing to emulate the groups with which they identify. The “skater culture” is a wonderful example of how fashion has the capability to influence an entire group of people. While typical skater clothing is popular for its functionality, style is considered a big part of skating culture. 

Past just identifying with a group of people, style can help people overcome emotional barriers as well. According to Luxury Activist, one way to express yourself through style is to “dress for you” and “wear outfits that boost your mood.” A lot of what we consider “style” is really just confidence and how good you feel wearing the clothes you chose. Even getting dressed in the morning has been proven to improve people’s overall mood and productivity throughout the day. 

“Getting dressed in the morning can play a role in your mood throughout the day and lead to further productivity, optimism, motivation and an overall improved mood,” New York-based Licensed Master Social Worker Elizabeth Beecroft explains.

This simple tip could improve the difficulty of getting out of bed some mornings and could even be connected to success in the online classroom. As quarantine has brought more people inside, we have been given the opportunity to experiment and try new things with our wardrobe. Dressing up or wearing something you feel confident in can be connected to students wanting to turn their cameras on in class and further productivity on work during the day.

Kickstarting your day with a favorite shirt or hoodie could be the key to getting things done. Even this can show the importance of fashion, style, and dressing for yourself. Due to quarantine, the new phase of experimentation has allowed people to evolve into a truer version of themselves, who is more confident, put together, and in touch with their interests.

“Especially now, I feel like it’s easier [to dress up] because there’s no school. People can wear whatever they want. They’re not worried about the judgement of all their peers,” Rathburn says.

The new phase of individuality and experimentation just goes to show how crucial wardrobe can be in expression. People have definitely found themselves and their wardrobes in 2020, allowing them to branch out and tap into their creative potential. Even people who are not able to afford to constantly update their wardrobe have found ways to upcycle, thrift and refurbish clothes. Fashion truly has no limits, no matter where you’re from. 

Not only are people embracing their creativity now, but the fashion industry has always impacted society in more ways than one. Fashion inherently emulates the wearer. No two wardrobes are exactly the same, just like people. Each garment has its own story, niche and draw to it. Similarly, the individuality of our communities can even be connected to the fashion of the space.

“Fashion is a reflection of society’s social, cultural, and economic milieu,” also states The Twin Cities Agenda.

While it can be hard to conceptualize how the fashion industry can have such a large impact on the world, fashion has an impact on every individual that chooses to express themselves through style. While impacting countless individuals, fashion indirectly has an effect on the world as well. It reflects the cultural trends, and the vibrant presence of those who embody the values of the industry. 

“Fashion is a reflection of who we are and what we believe. The fashion industry contributes to society by allowing us to express ourselves, our creativity and our beliefs to the world,” says The Pearl Source.

Fashion begins but does not end with the way that people choose to dress. Individuals empower society, and fashion empowers the individual. The capabilities of fashion are limitless. It affects anyone and everyone. Fashion is beyond just pieces of clothing; it is the way people embody their expression through what they wear.

As fashion designer and icon Coco Chanel said, “Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”