People ask me all the time where I get my sense of style. I usually blurt out the same answer I have been giving since I was in middle school– my mom. I remember my mom getting ready in the morning, pulling a vintage Chanel jacket on over her Lilly Pulitzer dresses and sliding her manicured feet into her Dior kitten heels and grabbing her Louis Vuitton speedy before taking me to school. She was always a preppy dresser– an accomplished equestrian rider in high school, sorority girl and cheerleader in college, and a sweet California girl and model before meeting my father on vacation. But even when I would tell people this is where I got my style, it never seemed to make much sense to me in my head– most people would believe it because it was a stereotypical answer. But, like many mothers and daughters, my style has very little in common with my mother. Where she wears Hermes equestrian-printed scarves I wear skull scarves; where she wears kitten heels and patten leather ballerina flats, I wear Converse sneakers of every color and design; where she wears small gold hoops and pearls in her ears, I wear safety pins and bullet earrings. My mother was the one who introduced me to fashion and style, but I don’t think she has been my style inspiration since I was 10.
So, where did it come from? My parents think it came from my older brother, who was in a phase of wearing oversized black jeans and My Chemical Romance t-shirts when I started to enter into my lets-wear-black-everyday-style. My extended family thinks it comes from my father, who was very much a punk rocker before meeting my mom and kick starting his career. My friends think it comes from fashion magazines and watching too many Alexander McQueen runway videos in high school (which may be plausible). But I honestly think my style comes from something more abstract, something more unattainable.
I think it comes from the “cool girls.” You know, those girls in New York City or London or Paris in black heeled boots, skinny jeans, funky hair, wearing all black and sunglasses when its cloudy out? Yeah, those girls. I remember being in elementary school and seeing those girls in my visits to New York City and how they seemed to have an energy and aura around them– like they were having fun but didn’t give a damn if you didn’t get it. It was those girls with the quirky accessories, simple yet bold outfits, and modern style that inspired me to throw all my baby doll dresses out of the closet and everything not black, grey, blue, or purple into the donation bin. I cut my hair off and kept it short until high school when I died it brown-red with eggplant highlights. I was always chasing after these girls and their effortlessly cool and edgy style and attitudes. I wanted to be them and their relaxed but confident walks. I wanted to be looking at the world through those dark shades and not caring that it was practically night out. I wanted to be one of those girls so bad. And, though I may not admit it, I still want to be. I want to be one of those girls with the confidence of a model and the style of a designer– I don’t want to be a college student who has an almost-all-black wardrobe and gets looks for wearing metal cat eats, head chains, snapbacks, or flower crowns to history class. I want to be them– a cool and modern adult, not a young kid still figuring herself out and praying to get a job someday.
But maybe I will never be one of these girls to myself. Whenever people tell me I dress cool or am that I make a weird snort noise and say, “nah, I’m just awkward.” I don’t even look at myself as an adult much– never mind I am turning 20 soon and the official loss of my adolescence makes me want to vomit– and I sometimes wonder if I ever will. It may be a good thing to never obtain the goal of being a “cool girl”– it’s like the green light in The Great Gatsby, after idolizing it and imagining it for so long it may not be as fun or interesting as it was when you couldn’t have it originally.
So, maybe forever chasing after the cool girls isn’t such a bad thing if it continues to keep inspiring me.