New Life, New Look, New You: Finding Your Style in the College Landscape

Jasmine Daniel is a New York City girl who is fascinated by all things entertainment and pop culture. She graduated from Boston University’s College of Communication’s with a B.A. in Film & Television in 2013. When she isn’t binge watching sitcoms and indie flicks on Netflix, Jasmine loves to write, put together looks, people watch, sample new gluten free restaurants, and have unforgettable nights out with friends. Someday she hopes to be the writer and star of a successful quirky TV sitcom, but for now she is just trying to figure out twenty-something life. Currently she works as an assistant at a prominent talent agency.

One of the most important things about growing up is learning that it’s okay to move to beat of your own drum and do what feels good for you. As important as this is to learn when dealing with life situations, I realized in college that it’s fine- even cool- to make your own unique, outlandish, and sometimes downright confusing fashion choices. I won’t lie and say that I didn’t spend a lot of my time in middle and high school making sure to wear what was trendy at the moment. Looking back I cringe at memories of myself in the 5th grade pretending that the two-sizes-too-big for my tiny 11 year old body Abercrombie shorts I wore to school actually fit me, or the J.Lo-esque velour tracksuits I wore to attain “street cred.” I may not have wanted to admit it then , but I wore these things because I desperately wanted to fit in. Fast forward to today and all I want is to stand out. I’ve learned how to make my fashion choices a distinct representation of me.
I wasn’t always a fashion drone growing up. As much as I liked to wear what was in, I liked to find ways to put my own spin on things. However, very rarely did I go “full Jasmine,” against the middle school hallway grain. I distinctly remember one of the few times that I did. It was the 7th grade. The year was 2003. I had a brand new skort that I was dying to wear, as well as some kooky colorful knee high socks. I wore them together with a striped polo shirt ( super in at the time) on top and my favorite Yankees sweatshirt, and left the house feeling like I’d finally put together a super cute, memorable, enviable outfit. My confidence was quickly marred. The school day that followed was full of endless teasing from classmates who thought that my outfit was too “out there”. As much as I tried not to let it get to me, I never wore something that brought that degree of attention to myself again. High school was another four years of moderate conformity. Although I did mix Maxxinista pieces with popular items from stores like American Eagle and Urban Outfitters, I lacked the confidence to really put together eye-catching, standout outfits. Essentially, I played it safe. All I wanted to do was look put together, seem trendy and knowledgeable, and survive those turbulent four years to the best of my ability.
When I started packing for my freshman year of college I bought and packed all the pieces I assumed one needed to fit in as an American college student: Ugg Boots, tacky, tight minidress, plain fleece zip-ups and obscenely high heels, among others. I figured that I would need to have a certain look in order to fit in and look grown up and adult. College was intimidating, and once again all I wanted was to blend in and survive.
It took me less than a semester to realize that following the crowd isn’t exactly what college, and growing up, on a greater scale, is about. Meeting people is a major component of the college experience, and it seemed as though every new person I met had a different background and a distinct look. They were all unique and individual, and that’s what made them so interesting. The more people with interesting stories to tell that I met, the more I felt that I was getting to know and accept myself. Little by little each semester I began to ditch the college catalog ready fashion pieces that I had brought and develop my own style. My confidence spiked, and I was no longer afraid to be me. By my junior year of college, all I wanted was for each outfit to scream “Hey world, this is who I am, and I won’t hide or apologize!”. I wore thigh high socks and short shorts to class, donned cropped tops and baggy jeans to parties with friends and walked into the dining hall with messy hair, oversized sweatshirts and my head held high. Some of my choices may have been out there, but at least each outfit represented me, not an attempt to be the me that I thought people wanted to see.
Today, a year and a half past graduation, I still like to stand out. Seldom a day do I leave the house without brightly colored lipstick. No longer do I pay attention to criticism, or people who tell me my choices are too wild. I didn’t even mind being the only person at my office in costume last Halloween – in fact, I loved it! I choose fashion pieces that feel good to me, despite whether or not others may view them as hip or fashion forward. I may change my mind on what my style is day to day, but the one thing it remains is unique to me, dictated by how I feel. I am thankful for college for helping me to not only find myself and grow to like who I am, but to find my fashion freedom as well. My advice to you, college students, would be to take this time to grown and learn more about who you are and what you like, and that includes the way you outwardly present yourself. Don’t be afraid to try that blue eyeliner. That piece at the mall that you love it but you’re is too loud? Buy it. Ignore any odd looks, critical remarks and skepticism as long as what you’re wearing makes you comfortable and you feel good in it. College is a time of great exploration, and exploring your fashion sense can be one of the most fun aspects. Remember, if it makes you happy, then your style must be rad!

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