With the opportunity to travel, comes the opportunity to see and experience new things, especially culture.
Included in culture is the way people dress and present themselves. I’m obsessed with fashion, and with this love comes the fascination of fashion around the world. Whether it be Birkenstocks and Patagonia jackets in the Pacific Northwest, or midi skirts, trench coats, and sneakers in New York, I’d like to take a moment and discuss the differences that come along with the regional preferences among clothing and style.
Being me, I have observed what people around me wear, as well as those who live elsewhere - via the Internet and fashion magazines. Everyday I look around and take notice of the cargo shorts on many and the Birkenstocks on others. One more thing, what’s the deal with bucket hats? Why are they a thing? Are you planning on going fishing right after school? Trends are very interesting in this way, one day we will look back at what we wear, and question all of our life choices.
Then there’s the people who question fashion, and ask themselves, “self, what is the point of style?” What I have learned is that style is important, because the first thing people see isn’t your personality. Style gives you the chance to show who you are on the inside, on the outside. In artsy terms, it’s a form of self-expression. So if your self-expression is dressing like everyone else, then by all means, go for it.
Another thing that is interesting about style in different regions is that, let’s say you wear a camo shirt and flare jeans with rhinestones on the pockets in the heart of Manhattan, you just may be the only one dressed that way. A Parisian coming here dressed in structured, tailored clothing with Saint Laurent Oxfords, people would look at her like and would think a proper, stern businesswoman. I read an article from Lucky Magazine about style and location by Carrie Brownstein, who is from Portland. At one point she says, “birkenstocks might seem novel on the runway, but other cities associate them with someone filling up a bag of brewer’s yeast from the bulk bin at the local co-op” (shout out to the Good Food Store). This goes to show Birkenstocks may be up-and-coming in Hollywood but for me, I still definitely associate them with hiking and Missoula.
Men’s fashion is a big deal too. While I was in New York this summer, I noticed that the group of friends I was with were the only ones with cargo shorts. Well-tailored suits, Clarks, slim-fitting trousers and chino shorts are only a few pieces I took note of. Fashion is most definitely not limited to women; in fact in different regions, it’s a norm for men to “dress up” just as much.
From east coast prep to west coast hipsters, and everything in between, style is a huge part of culture, and of course it’s not limited to just America. Don’t even get me started on the simple sophistication of Paris and London street style. So with that, I challenge you, that next time you are in a big city, take a look around at what people wear. How they present themselves says a lot about who they are. But of course, what matters most is that you feel confident in what you wear, what looks good on you, and if it makes you confident good about yourself, then I’m sure you can pull it off, because confidence is all that matters when you are making style decisions.