As long as I can remember, I’ve always had a “passion for fashion.” Sorry, had to get the phrase out of the way. I guess you can say that I’ve been very much a girly-girl from day one, although I don’t feel that girly. I just like hair and make-up and clothes and shoes and jewelry and bags–those aren’t too girly, right? After I quit playing all three sports teams at once, much to my mother’s dismay, I focused more on writing, reading, and discovering my sense of style.
I started playing with fashion in middle school, telling my friends how they should style their clothes, and (sadly) they took my advice. I had friends wearing their belts outside of their belt loops, wearing UGG boots before everyone started to wear them (why are these still a thing?), and taking the “layered” look to the extreme.
My personal style in the middle school to high school freshman year era of my life was low rider Lucky jeans, tops from the Buckle that had too many embellishments on the sleeves, and Hurley hoodies that I had no business wearing. The clothes looked horrendous looking back, but at that time, I thought I looked so good. Especially with my bangs always in my face, blackout eyeliner rimming my full eyeballs, and I remember that I always had to hold the back of my pants when bending down in fear of my butt crack being on display.
It was during this time that I realized my friends were having a major influence over my style. Yeah, I picked out the things that I wanted, but I didn’t wear a lot of things in my closet because I would fear what people at school would say. I remember that I had these pink pointy-toed flats that I wore once to school. As soon as I got to the bus, the neighborhood kid laughed at me, and everyone else that I came into contact that day had the same reaction. My close friends laughed, but understood that it was just me, but other people who I didn’t know laughing? That stung a bit. So, I just started dressing like everyone else
My sophomore year of high school, a girl from California transferred to our school. She was the epitome of fashion at that time. She looked like she came straight out of The O.C. and she probably did. Blonde bob cut, pale white skin, and beautiful fashion pieces. Full neutral skirts with a belt cinching in her waist. Dark mid-rise jeans with loose fitting tops tucked into the top of her jeans. She embraced her style, never giving anyone a second look when they didn’t understand the belts she wore around her waist. Girls at school would be jealous of her style and started to copy some of her signature pieces. There was an epidemic happening at school. Instead of the tacky bedazzled jeans everyone was so fond of wearing, there were girls in classy a-lined skirts, mid-rise jeans, and button ups.
This was when I realized that a) I needed to find a style b) I needed to embrace that style and c) who cares what anyone else thinks?
When I came to this realization, I started my dress obsession and collection (I now have 89 dresses piled in my closet). I wore nice fitting jeans that soon turned into high waisted, that has caused a fair amount of ridicule from a certain boy. I wore patterned tights, colored tights, tights in general which never happened in my very suburban midwestern high school. I stopped dressing for other people and started dressing for myself, which was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Senior year, I won “Best Dressed,” so I guess people liked my style too.
Now a days, when I talk about style and fashion, I always get the same look from my out-of-state friends, “Wait, St. Louis has fashion? What is it? The clearance bin at Wal-Mart?” Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.
I get it, too. The midwest isn’t known for its fashion scene. If you go to any high school, you’ll see why. If you go into any grocery store (outside of Wash Ave and Clayton), you’ll see why. But, thanks to ALIVE Magazine and Fashion Week, fashion is being brought to St. Louis in a big way, and I, for one, am so grateful.
Last week was Saint Louis Fashion Week and, because I had to work and then got sick, I only could go to the runway shows. There were many events surrounding the week. A Midwestern Conference discussing fashion in St. Louis with guest panelists Editor-At-Large of Harper’s Bazaar Derek Blasberg, Creator of New York Fashion Week Fern Mallis, Fashion Designers Stan Herman and Timo Weiland, and CEO of Hilldun Corporation Gary Wassner. To say that I was bummed to miss this, is a massive understatement. There was also a pop-up trunk show at Saks Fifth Avenue, a gala, and many many after parties.
If you’d like to read about the events I missed, please check out the lovely bloggers of #STLFW and their wonderful posts about the events.
The runway shows were incredible, although if I’m being honest, Wednesday’s show ran a bit too long for me because of the wait to discover who won the Fashion Fund for the season. But alas, the designs were impeccable and below I have my “must haves” of the upcoming season.
Photos by Mark Schwigen for ALIVE Magazine.