Throughout my life, I have rarely been able to shake the word ‘tourist’ as one of the major components of my character. Having both parents in the Foreign Service meant that my life was redesigned as we moved from country to country. In this state of constant motion, I could not help but remain sheltered for many years in an attempt to inject some consistency into my life. I look through my closet now and all I see are the building blocks of the image that I have created for myself these past few years. It is hard to see that there was once a drop of shyness and uncertainty in me if you sift through my closet.
I would first have to thank the Czech Republic for this development. Although tourist season was a great source of tension in the city of Prague, I was able to absorb the diverse styles that paraded around on the cobblestone just from sitting at my favorite coffee shop. In a country that was once plagued by Communism, these people were able to be confident in their quirkiness. These strangers helped me see fashion beyond the ensembles dictated by celebrities, high end designers, and convention.
I have made it a habit to do things like mix patterns and pair navy with black, actions that would shock Emily Post. It was only a matter of time before I fell in love with thrift shopping. I find it fascinating how people’s lives can become connected through the transference of a single clothing item. After thrift stores came the vintage stores. Since the children’s shows that were available to me were often in Arabic or Turkish, I grew up with black and white films. I often believe that I was born in the wrong generation. I cannot help but dress up like a '40s housewife when I am making dinner or a '60s hippie when I am bumming around. I would like to think that my clothes rival Auntie Mame’s wardrobe.
In those two years in Prague, I no longer walked around with my head down, but raised my chin and treated those cobblestone streets as my personal runway. Being set apart for my outfit choices helped my realize the importance of being different in this world. It is not something that should be forced, but rather embraced whole-heartedly. It is impossible for me to thank fashion for helping me attain what I thought was unreachable, but I hope that through CollegeFashionista, I can somewhat return the favor.