I wasn’t aware of the difference between cool and uncool until the 8th grade. I was just your average nineties kid, living the dream: my mom bought the majority of my clothing from L.L. Bean. So my standard look consisted of a cable knit sweater and patterned leggings, unless you counted my kickass American Girl “Holiday” outfit.
But, like all good things that come to an end, my fashion naivety was kicked to the curb with a vengeance.
It was an average school day, and I was rocking my favorite metallic denim Jincos, when the “it” girl stopped me and asked (with disgust I’d yet to experience in my 12 years of life) if I owned any “normal jeans?” I quickly excused myself to the bathroom where I cried into my beloved pants.
Needless to say, I begged my mom to take me shopping and proceeded to stash my Jincos in the back of my closet —
I’d just learned what it feels like to not “fit in” because of the way I dressed.
Skip ahead a decade and a half, and metallic jeans are all the rage. I was at the mall the other day, and a girl strolled past me in a modern version of my 8th grade reflective jeans, and I experienced something very similar to rage. Not toward the pretty hipster, but toward the injustice of 12-year-old me, and her crushed confidence.
I couldn’t help but think about how, even as adults, we put aside our own preferences for trend. We sacrifice things we love for things that are “in style.”
But what would it look like if we traded what was cool for what we liked? How much happier would we be rocking that brightly colored sundress versus that tight, denim button-up? (No disrespect to denim button-ups. I owe exactly three of them.)
What I’m trying to say is that, while fashion trends can be fun, they should never be accepted as currency to fit in. Instead, let’s unleash our inner 8th graders, and wear what makes us happy.
Life is short. Wear what you love. Leave a sexy corpse.
(I may have slightly plagiarized that line. Thanks, Stanley from ‘The Office.’)
In all seriousness, if you take anything from my tragic 8th grade tale, I hope it’s that being you is what really matters… And also that Jincos should never have gone out of style.