Picture this: it is 2007. Your third grade teacher explains that you will be doing something “different” in class today. Floored, your young mind is relishing in the possibilities of what might lie ahead. You make bets with your desk mates on the prospects of the day’s activities. Could it be a game? Maybe a coloring sheet? Suddenly, you see a large mass appear in the doorway as your teacher rolls in one of the school’s television sets. She announces that you will be watching an episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy. As always, the class goes wild.
Recently, I have been becoming more and more aware of the profound influence that feelings of sentimentality have on my relationship to fashion. Memories from my past are overwhelmingly present in how I experience clothing. Going shopping at local thrift stores, the writing on old baseball jerseys reminds me of attending Atlanta Braves games with my dad. As I watch the numerous fall 2017 ready-to-wear shows, look through street style photos, and scour the pages of fashion magazines, revived trends with references to early 2000s style bring back memories of my childhood experiments with neon pink fishnets. When it comes to picking out my own outfits, I can’t seem to stop wearing my mother’s and grandmother’s old winter coats, despite the fact that Georgia hasn’t seen freezing temperatures for quite some time now.
As someone who holds fashion in a place of utmost personal importance, the clothes I wear and see around me have never simply been “garments” in my eyes. I understand fashion as a means of artistic expression, an entity that holds the ability to make a true statement. Similarly, I believe that the pieces that I chose to wear also have the ability to represent me as an individual, the experiences I’ve lived and will live, as well as the person I have been and will become. Fashion functions as a placeholder of how far we, as a society, have come as well as where we are going.
My outfit here fondly reminded me of my days in elementary school. Although I would never have been allowed to leave the house back then in heels as high as the ones pictured (nor would I have been able to walk in them, frankly), I have discovered that small details evoke big memories. When I found this graphic T-shirt on sale in the Urban Outfitter’s men’s section a few months back, I knew I had to have it. Bill Nye was one of my favorite characters in the world, and he was part of what made classes so entertaining back then.
My oversize sunglasses, red lip earrings, and leopard jacket remind me of the women I looked up to as a child. Wearing sparkly pants remarkably similar to ones I owned at the age of seven, I feel so content with who I have become, all while remembering the innate aspects of myself that make me who I am.