Trends and brands rule teen fashion, especially in an environment where kids struggle to fit in. But senior Lisa Deng and sophomore Megan Liu wear whatever makes them feel comfortable in their own skin.
Both Megan and Lisa see fashion as the way people present their personality to the world. They’ve found that confidence and fashion form a sort of symbiotic relationship: Lisa traces her fashion sense to her confidence, and Megan credits her newfound confidence to her fashion choices.
“I feel more confident in myself, and I’m able to get out of my comfort zone and express myself more in ways other than just clothing, like by speaking up during class and bringing up new ideas during discussions,” Megan said.
Although Lisa followed trends in middle school, she increasingly began experimenting with out of the box styles, as she grew up and gained self-confidence, even wearing a jumpsuit for Homecoming court.
“My fashion style is rooted in my personal confidence and being satisfied with where I am and not wanting to be anyone else,” Lisa said. “I know I’ll get judged because I look so different from everyone else, but I thrive on that challenge and personal risk.”
Like Lisa, Megan doesn’t adhere to a single category. She observes that many tend to confine themselves to one, whether it’s “grungy” or “minimalist,” as an effect of group mentality. She admits that “some teens feel like they need to follow trends or follow what everyone else at their school is wearing.” To Megan, these labels aren’t worth their limitations — they make people feel that their selection of trends to follow narrows.
Through her ventures, Megan has learned how her fashion choices can empower others and sees it as a large part of her life. She strives to dress in a way that promotes confidence in others as well as herself.
“It’s a big part of how I feel about myself a lot of the time, and so it makes me feel more sure of my decisions, Megan said. “[Fashion] helps me be more helpful to the people around me because it helps create synergy between people.”
On the other hand, Lisa understands that, while fashion may be a way for her to express herself, other people find confidence in other ways. At the end of the day, it all comes down to achieving a certain degree of confidence and comfort.
“I don’t think fashion’s that important if you’re comfortable with who you are,” Lisa said. “For me, fashion is an outlet and I feel comfortable doing that. For other people, fashion might not be their priority or the way they feel good. If you’re comfortable with who you are and happy with your life, then it doesn’t matter.”