While the average high school students opt for the classics, hoodies and sweats, after the the first few weeks of school, sophomore Yuzu Ido and seniors Jillian Trinh, Miles Crawford and Sophia Beliaev are some of the fashionable exceptions.
Despite their notably different styles – Ido and Trinh following different Japanese street fashions, Crawford dressing in preppy-business casual, and Beliaev having a unique taste of her own – they all share similar experiences.
Making heads turn and defying ‘normal high school’ fashion expectations is their normal.
Ido explained that she wears different Japanese street fashions, the most frequent being Lolita and
Otome Kei, Victorian inspired fashion consisting of mainly intricate frills, laces and accessories.
Ido said that her interest in Japanese street fashions stemmed from books where the main characters dressed in various styles. Ido said that since she’s always been more prone to skirts and dresses and minimal exposure, the styles that she follows help her feel like herself and make her more confident.
“[Fashion is not just] one way that I make myself unique,” Ido said, “[but also a] reflection of what I want to be, [which] is elegant, refined and knowledgeable . . . it’s not me right now, but I’m hoping that will be me someday.”
Much like Ido, Trinh, who described her style as loosely based off of Japanese street fashions that leaned towards more of an edgy monochromatic style than grunge or soft-grunge, said that her style reflected who she wanted to be.
“The way I dress – edgy black,” said Trinh, “it shows [my] independence [and strays] from the stereotype from how women ‘should’ dress.”
Trinh explained that she used to be shy, and that affected her clothing choices because she was initially afraid of standing out.
“I dressed normally but then I was like ‘oh you know what, I want to be really cute in my own way,’ so I dressed in all that pastel stuff – really girly,” Trinh said. “But now, I have had enough of the ‘girls dress this way for guys’, ‘girls wear makeup for guys or attention’ . . . I want to dress more like a badass bitch and no one can tell me what to do.”
Beliaev, on the other hand, said that much of her taste was a result of her mother’s style influence and love for dolling her up. With no singular label for her style, Beliaev described it as comfortable and said others have told her that it was quite distinct at the same time.
Beliaev admitted that her style had changed a lot since middle school when she experimented more, and that it had ultimately helped her grow.
“In middle school I was voted most unique, which I guess is a way of saying ‘you’re weird’ but I don’t mind that – I like that, I was glad I was voted most unique,” said Beliaev, “it kind of formed me as a person – it taught me not to care about other people’s judgement, and I guess that’s why now when I dress [up], it’s always been for myself.”
Likewise, Crawford, said he developed his preppy style because he had many family occasions to dress for, and proceeded to plan and assemble outfits.
“It’s fun to dress up,” Crawford said. “I [liked] the looks I got – like ‘Oh woah, he’s wearing a suit’ or ‘Oh wow look at his tie.’”
Crawford said the attention he received from his fashion choices was a positive thing and allowed him to stand out from the crowd.
“The fact that I can dress both in a formal and casual style shows that I’m versatile – I like to think that I’m very adaptive,” said Crawford. “I think that that’s something good to be known for – that I can dress up . . . because clothes present a specific image, when you dress well [it’s] not just that you feel good, I think it can make other people feel good [too].”
Similarly, Trinh said that even though she does receive stares, she likes to think of them positively and brushes off the negative judgement.
“For every one person that doesn’t like your style or that’s judging you, there’s gonna be like ten people who admire you for being different, being unique, being yourself,” Trinh said.
Their collective takeaway advice?
“Feel free, just go after anything that seems interesting or right to you,” Beliaev said. “You might have some really weird things that you look back on and regret, but in the end it forms your own style and it forms you in a lot of ways.”