“Fashion Has Changed my Life!”

Photo of Jess, courtesy Jess

Photo of Jess, courtesy Jess

To look at Jess and me is to see two very different people. Jess is a 16 year-old high school junior with an edgy look of youth and fearlessness. I am a 56 year-old woman in the middle of my life, with a less-than-edgy look but a strong desire to push boundaries. The thought that the two of us can connect on any level is questionable. But then it happens. We start to speak. Jess tells me how fashion has changed her life and given her confidence and courage. And Jess tells me about her ritual of selecting her clothes for the next day the evening before. And then I knew that we have a lot more that connects us. I knew that we are not bound by our ages or our appearance or life experience. I knew that we are, in fact, soul sisters. Because like Jess my clothes are my salvation and the most important way I express myself. And because I also pick out my clothes the night before. I asked Jess about her story of expression and evolution  …

I never thought very much about fashion until the 7th grade. That was the year that I started to window shop with my best friend and she and I began to play with clothes, and have fun dressing up. That gave us both a feeling of confidence. Freshman year of high school was tough for me – I was very shy and didn’t have many friends. But something happened in my sophomore year that changed my life. I started taking a fashion class at FIT in New York; this class made me think that fashion can change what you think about yourself. The teacher talked about the importance of clothing and self expression and I began to believe it. I started to dress up and experiment with my style. I began to dress  for school and to get compliments about my choices. It was such a nice feeling …

My style varies. I like unisex clothing but I also like floral dresses. I like to mix it up. But it depends on my mood. There is a power to clothing – when I feel sad I wear something bright and happy and it helps. When I have low confidence, I wear something strong and edgy, with a good pair of heels, and I feel more confident. School is no longer a place that intimidates me. The hallways are now a place to experiment and try new things – they are like a runway!

There are so many things I want to do! Fashion designer, blogger, photographer, magazine editor. Fashion is amazing. It has changed my entire life. People don’t recognize me – I am a new person.”


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