People go through fashion phases periodically throughout their entire lives. Once you get past the age where parents can stop choosing what clothes you’ll wear, we do a little experimentation with styles and combinations. Teens may have a goth phase, a punk phase, a retro phase, or a preppy phase. Then when we become full fledged adults and enter the workforce, our fashion sense undergoes another transformation. It’s funny what kind of trip down memory lane you’ll go on when you’re cleaning out your drawers and closets one day with the intention of donating clothes you don’t wear anymore.
This past weekend I was cleaning out my drawers and sorting through clothes I knew I wouldn’t wear anymore. I was surprised by the amount of clothes I still kept that date as far back as my teenage and early college years. There were a lot of tops that were of the spandex kind, lots of girly patterns, or sizes much too small for me to fit in anymore. For every shirt I folded up and put aside as the “give away” pile, I was immediately able to remember the times I had worn them.
Like any young and inexperienced kid, I thought I looked pretty cool in the clothes I wore then. I probably did, well, maybe some of them. There were some tops that made me question what I loved about them originally, or they were family gifts from many Christmases ago. There were pieces I wore repeatedly and there were ones I barely wore twice. Staring at the piles of clothes I knew I wouldn’t miss, I wondered why it took me so long to finally part ways with them.
Letting go of anything can be hard. There’s some nostalgia attached to the very object you’re having a rough time saying goodbye to, and it’s a reminder of what being truly youthful and carefree felt like. But like anything in life, you grow up, you change, and you move on.
The very core of my personal fashion taste hasn’t changed all that much from when I was a teenager, like loving feminine clothes and still being very much drawn to floral patterns, but it has certainly evolved ever so slightly. I opt for soft, cotton blend shirts over the stretchy and clingy fabric of spandex tops. I prefer more minimal and subtle floral patterns on tops, unless it’s a skirt or dress, rather than the wild flourishes covering every inch of a blouse. Or some pieces scream pre-teen or teen and no longer fits in with the maturity and sophistication I have acquired over the years. There’s no doubt in my mind that I would look ridiculous wearing clothes fit for a teenager at my age now. Even if I didn’t and I somehow made those clothes still work for me, mentally, I would feel uncomfortable and go on thinking that something doesn’t feel right.
It may seem odd to think style can change and grow in the same way we do as people but it happens. The changes that occur to us on a personal level will eventually seep into the kind of clothes we’ll want to wear when we go outside. It’s a small reflection of who we are as individuals. I may miss the clothes that shaped my exterior appearance growing up, but I’ll feel better knowing someone else may find the same kind of joy I got out of wearing them. By clearing away what’s old and no longer needed, I make space for something entirely new.
Has your own style changed and grown with you over the years?