In junior high and high school, fitting in is all about wearing the right clothes. Although not as extreme, that sentiment can extend to college as well.
For those fortunate enough to share the popular crowd’s idea of fashion, fitting in is easy. For those with a unique sense of style, fitting in (even in college) is often a challenge.
Despite the challenge of marching to the beat of your own fashion drum, some people manage to get respect and admiration for their unique or wild sense of fashion. Here’s how to be one of those people:
1. Wear styles that make you feel good about yourself
It’s important to wear what makes you feel good about yourself, and don’t worry about other people’s opinions. When you feel good in your clothes, you naturally express a high level of confidence to the world. Others will pick up on your confidence, and it will overshadow their reservations based on your sense of style.
Don’t worry about what your body looks like to other people. Wear the styles that give you confidence. For example, if form-fitting clothing makes you feel empowered, wear them. You don’t need a perfect body to wear form-fitting clothing. Thanks to Photoshopped images in the media, most perceptions of the “perfect body” aren’t realistic to start with.
If a form-fitting outfit makes you feel good about yourself, wear it. Don’t worry about your body. If you need a boost in confidence, layer up with some high-waisted leggings that shape your hips and flatten out your belly. If you avoid expressing yourself until you achieve the perfect body, you could be waiting forever.
2. Fit in by being yourself
Remember that kid in high school with a strange sense of style – but they somehow managed to make friends with the popular group? They probably had a stellar personality.
Although clothes give big first impressions, so do personalities. Say you’re an outgoing, friendly person who enjoys wearing baggy jeans and oversized t-shirts from the thrift store. At first glance, people might think you’re a slacker or a stoner. However, interacting with you will change that perception.
Although people are programmed to perceive some harsh stereotypes, outside of high school, your personality will win over the clothes you wear. If you wear weird clothes and you act weird, that’s a different story. If you wear weird clothes and you’re a joy to be around, people will love spending time with you.
3. Dress to impress yourself, not others
No matter what you wear, there will always be someone who doesn’t like it. Don’t let that become your problem. The world is full of opinions, and entertaining negative opinions will just make you feel bad. If someone says they don’t like your style, smile, thank them for their opinion, and walk away. Don’t allow other people’s opinions to determine your mood.
“Sometimes people’s opinions do matter,” says fashion designer Jess Trusio, “like in job interviews, although that’s a whole different thing. But the bottom line is that we only have one time to be ourselves as a person. Wear what you want as a person because that’s what matters Clothes express what people think, and if you dress like everyone else you aren’t expressing what you think.”
4. Be eccentric if that’s what you’re drawn to express
Most runway models display eccentric styles, yet everyone cheers them on. If you showed up to school looking like Daphne Guinness, however, people would think you’re strange. What looks good on the runway doesn’t always translate well to daily life. However, if your sense of style is eccentric, people around you need to get used to it. Be eccentric if that’s the style you’re drawn to express.
5. View fashion as self-expression
When you view fashion as an outlet for self-expression, other people’s opinions immediately cease to be relevant. We only have so many ways to express ourselves on this planet. For instance, some people are musically gifted and express themselves through singing or by playing a musical instrument. Others express themselves through art.
Everyone has preferences for music and art. It’s the same with fashion. It’s okay for people not to like your sense of style. Your self-expression isn’t for them – it’s for you.