How Being Fashion Forward Has Taken Us A Step Backwards

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Passion for Fashion: Sophomore Hannah O’Byrne (left) and Sophomore Lucy Marin (right) confidently express their style through clothing.

Fashion is constantly changing. If you aren’t keeping up with what’s “in” and what’s “out” you might find yourself with a closet full of clothes that have been deemed out of style. All too often, people are judged for wearing clothes that don’t align with someone else’s style, or for wearing clothes that aren’t popular or considered fashionable.

Tik Tok and Instagram are two social media platforms where people often express themselves through their outfits and personal style. Every day new trends are introduced, or reintroduced, to the fashion world and people tend to have pretty strong opinions about them. Recently, it has become common for certain fashion trends to get grouped together, making it easier for people to identify their personal style and what clothing, accessories, and overall vibe they like the best. Alternative girls, who wear darker and often baggier clothing with chains accessories and preppy girls, who often wear lighter and brighter clothing that is sometimes more fitted, are two examples of some of the many style groups that are popular.

Although it’s great that both girls and guys are now able to find a group of people who’s style they can identify with, it feels as though often the different groups are pinned against each other. One group might judge another for a certain style shirt, pant, or accessory another group has popularized. For example, people who like to dress in more expensive or high end fashion might judge people who dress in more casual or outdoorsy clothing. I think that this kind of attitude of judging someone for liking something different from you, or not being able to open yourself to the fact that not everyone likes the same things and that that is okay, reflects deeply on one of today’s most pressing societal issues. I find it saddening how that type of perspective has made a place for itself in fashion, which is so self expressive and empowering for many modern teens.

As these groups of fashion are evolving and expanding, people are identifying with them so much so they are even beginning to link certain personality traits with certain styles of clothing. One example of this is when people dress in darker and baggier “alternative” clothing, people tend to assume they are “emo” and dark. While this might be true for some people who happen to fit this image, I think it can actually become pretty problematic in the sense that people might feel pressured to dress a certain way because of the way they act, or to act a certain way because of how they dress.

The way we dress is something that can be so personal to us, so it’s important that we have an open and safe space to be who we want to. Self expression is important to personal development, but tearing each other down can only be harmful in the long run.