By Azania El-Shabazz
In high school I was known as the girl that dressed like she was copy and pasted from the 80s. I remember all of the funky patterns, vibrant colors, and gold jewelry I would wear and got plenty of attention and respect for. In college, I was known as the girl with the cool style that was different but well-loved and my signature hairstyle that would stay the same but just be a new color. It seems everywhere I go I get this label which does not define me, but defines my style. Initially when I decided to take a different route than my peers with the way that I dressed, this was exactly what I wanted. I wanted to be the person who did not have to say a word when stepping into a room because my clothing told a story.
It may sound shallow but your sense of fashion is very important because your appearance is a person’s first impression of you. While gaining friends on campus and reminiscing on our days first meeting each other, my friends would often tell me how they looked at me in admiration while we were still strangers. Whether it was the different patterns I daringly pieced together or the way that I chose to put an outfit together in general, they let me know that they admired my confidence and were my “biggest fans.” Others would tell me the only reason why they did notice me before we were friends was my clothing and signature hairstyle.
Now I’m not saying you should run out and buy a whole new wardrobe, but I get so many people that come up to me saying that they like my style but they would not be able to pull it off. That only makes me wonder, how many other people don’t have the confidence to bring their interest to life. I have also had people walk up to me and ask, “How do I dress like you?” I just want to tell that it isn’t an act or a gimmick. It’s just me being myself. I wake up every day and put an outfit together just like everyone else, but the only difference is, my normal and your normal are not the same. Due to the winter weather, a typical outfit for me would be Dr. Marten boots, black jeans, and oversized sweater (preferably from the men’s section), a bowler hat, and my purple hair to pull it all tighter.
Being a college graduate, I knew I had to clean up my look to appear more professional and be taken seriously. So it was good bye Forever 21 and hello Loft and New York and Company. Even with a more work place appealing attire, I always incorporate my own style into it. I may wear some black slacks, with a trendy blazer, trendy flats or a solid color pair of heels (always colored heels – they’re more fun!), a button down shirt, and a printed or colored blazer. That way, I still look like a working girl but the outfit is still fun. I still have that confidence with each step I take because I’m still stylish and my outfit is still me.
Growing up, I knew fashion was something that I loved for a couple of years now and daring to be different can either get a negative or positive response. But the only thing that really matters is that you love what you do.