The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Learning to dress like me

Getting comfortable in my skin means getting comfortable in my clothes
Photo by Ella Freeman
Depiction of the Cher-esque closet in my mind.

Getting dressed has always been one of my favorite parts of the day. Whether that’s due to the fact that it’s right away in the morning so nothing else has spoiled my day yet, or the fact I have always loved clothes. 

I have always seen fashion as a form of self-expression. It’s the first thing people notice about us and can leave a lasting impression. That’s why I always try to be dressed in a way that will show my personality.  

Ever since I’ve been able to dress myself, I have reached for bright and fun colors. My parents let me go out in some truly heinous outfits. 

I vividly remember being so excited to pick out my 10th birthday outfit. 

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I mean, double digits are a big milestone, you gotta dress for the occasion. 

I wore a vibrant orange tank top with a bright pink floral mini skirt along with hot pink sparkly flip flops. And it doesn’t end there, I paired this combo with a cropped sequin vest and a holographic, multicolor infinity scarf. Mind you, it was July. 

To top this outfit off, I had a big old leopard print bow headband and a sparkly silver barrette that was doing nothing to hold my hair back, just providing a fashion statement. 

I hope in the almost decade since I put together that ensemble my fashion taste has become a little more refined, but I truly hope I haven’t lost the personality that 10-year-old me had. 

I, as many of us do, fell prey to the insecurities that come with growing up. One of the biggest things I lost by trying to fit in was my passion for getting dressed up. 

In middle school, I cared so much about having “on brand” clothes that getting dressed every day was exhausting. I just wanted to fit in, and I thought having the clothes everyone else had would make them like me. 

Big surprise, it didn’t. No one likes anyone in middle school. 

As I went through high school, I fell into wearing the same thing every day, clothes that didn’t excite me or make me want to get out of bed — things that were easy to throw on but never made me feel like me. 

Once I was able to drive, I found my passion for thrifting. Through this hobby, I was able to find clothes that excited me again. I found myself once more reaching for bright colors along with fun textures and patterns. 

I was still not super comfortable wearing all of my best finds to high school. I still got that weird all-eyes-on-me feeling when I wore a dress or tried something new. 

Since starting college, I have made it a point to dress for myself. It is so much easier to wear whatever you want on a college campus. Getting dressed up every day makes life so much more fun. 

I love to get out of bed and see what outfits are waiting to be put together. 

I genuinely don’t think I have this transcendental world-altering fashion taste, and I don’t think that’s the point. 

For me, it’s not about changing the world of fashion or doing anything that hasn’t been done before. 

It’s about wearing what makes me happy regardless of other people’s opinions, whether negative or positive. I don’t get dressed up for validation from anyone. It’s about enjoying the clothes I own and being proud of how I present myself. 

Wearing what you want to wear can only bring you closer to yourself. 

I feel so much more connected to myself and so much more prepared to face the world when I am confident in my outfit. It makes days just a little easier, and weeks just a little shorter. 

Freeman can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Ella Freeman
Ella Freeman, Freelance Writer
Ella Freeman is a second-year journalism student. This is her second semester on The Spectator staff. When she is not attending class or studying Ella can be found in your local thrift store, pretending to be mysterious in a coffee shop, on the nearest hiking trail, forcing her roommate to watch Marvel movies or screaming Taylor Swift songs at the top of her lungs.

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    Maddie KasperNov 10, 2023 at 6:41 pm

    I love the photo you created for this opinion piece!