NOTE: The following essay is a scheduled guest post. The author, Ruby, is not the same person who writes this blog.
“A thrift store. Somewhere in Portland,” I said proudly to my friend today. She had questioned where I got my skirt. I guess I was proud to label my floral skirt as used, as if it was some sort of prestigious award. She nodded and smirked, as if my purchase had been predicted. Like I was expected to be shopping at hipster’s sanctuary.
It didn’t bug me. Maybe I was happy that I got the chance to tell my friends that you can shop at thrift stores, even in grade six. They had always talked about how much they “love vintage” or “need to go to” to a used clothing store. Then why don’t you?
The reason I shop at thrift stores is similar to any other Quirky Teen Blogger. I like the clothes. That’s it, period. Does it matter that they used to brush against someone’s skin? Does it really matter that they look older?
Yeah, sure, it’s cheaper than other stores. Does that matter? Am I going to buy clothes for the sake of bragging to friends, saying things like, “these pants cost $200?” I don’t mind people dressing the way they want. That’s what we should do every day. Don’t dress to impress, dress to be comfortable and stylish in your own opinion, and not to live up to the standards of your peers.
I felt comfortable in my plain-white tee and floral skirt today. I liked the way I looked, too. Isn’t that happiness? It’s nice when people agree that you look great, but shouldn’t your satisfaction be your satisfaction? Many other people have raised this argument. Diversity and fashion have become such cliché topics; Dress the way you want! You shouldn’t care what other people think! But it’s hard not to care and let go of other people’s approach of fashion. I know I can care.
Am I giving mixed messages?
I suppose my point is that I should be able to dress my way. My fashion is my statement, not a retweet of someone else’s. And no, one shouldn’t have to care what other people think of them. But that’s hard.
If I wear, for example, my Black Flag tee shirt, I don’t want people to be uncomfortable with the devil smiling at them on my chest. I don’t want people to feel gross or uneasy because of what I look like, but what if I don’t feel the same way? If I take other people’s thoughts and opinions into consideration, am I betraying myself?
But this is a problem we as individuals have to overcome- what we look like through other people’s eyes. And we can do this by finding people like us; as Tavi Gevinson put it, “a similar group of weirdoes.” That quote is my life. Other people who dress the way they want, other people who understand comfort and individuality when it comes to fashion, are my life.
Diversity is such a blissful thing! You’ve heard it before, but diversity is what makes us interesting; diversity is motivation.
I am finished my schpeel, that’s it, that’s all.