College is a time to figure out who you are and who you want to present to the world. Some people do this through their major or hobbies, and many of us do it through what we wear. In conversations with a Washburn student and a Washburn faculty member, the truths of how we express ourselves through fashion were made clear.
“I use fashion to express who I want to be,” said Mabee librarian Andrea Thimesch. “I suppose I use what I wear to express my dream image of myself in the future. I’ve kind of always had this image of what I wanted to look like as a professional, so now that I’m here I can actually manifest that in a lot of ways that I wouldn’t be able to do in most of my other jobs when I was younger.”
The idea that we dress to reflect who we want to be in the future seems to be reflected among faculty and students.
“I like to remind myself through what I wear that I’m capable of what I’m doing,” said freshman psychology and business major Elijah Adams. “In the category of careers in the arts field, there is a lot of expression, and the clothes I wear help me express myself. You have to remember how to have fun at the end of the day, and fun doesn’t always have to be going out with people or doing outrageous things. It could just be writing or drawing or your style.”
Thimesch describes how she’s drawn inspiration from different areas of her life for her own personal style.
“I lived in Japan for several years,” said Thimesch, “and doing that influenced a lot of how I see myself as very cute. That sort of culture, the anime things, having the little adorable details is kind of normal overseas and I really like that you can both be cute and an adult and those two ideas don’t have to be exclusive of each other. They can be merged and you can still be a professional.”
The two shared their advice for anyone looking to pin down their own style or express themselves through fashion.
“A lot of people get scared and think they can’t wear what they want to wear because other people are going to make fun of them,” said Adams, “but that’s on them, not you. If you can feel good about you and what you’re wearing, that’s all that matters. It doesn’t matter if you look good, but chances are if you feel good, you’re going to look good anyway.”
Thimesch suggests taking time to find your style.
“It doesn’t have to happen all at once,” said Thimesch. “You can build it up over time. I didn’t really establish my entire style until my 30s, so you have time. The easiest time to try out a new style is when you change jobs, cities or schools. When you start fresh somewhere like that, you can basically refresh yourself style wise, personality wise, whatever you’d like.”
Fashion is a personal thing that we present to a very public audience. Because of this, we are inevitably subject to the judgement of others, good or bad. It’s important to know what fashion means to you.
“Fashion is something that I can control in my life,” said Thimesch. “It’s something that even when I have a whole lot of other things going on personally that are out of my control, fashion is something that I can always have my own control about, and it’s something I can use to make myself feel better. Fashion is one of those things that I do for me more than anyone. I use it to kind of build my own confidence. I think in general it’s a way to feel better about yourself. If you feel more like yourself then you feel better about yourself.”
Edited by Adam White, Diana Martinez-Ponce, Jason Morrison