Throughout high school and early college, I utterly despised my style. If you’re curious, this “style” generally consisted of jeans and a colorless T-shirt or a plain sweater, depending on the weather. As a lifelong tomboy, putting outfits together was my least favorite activity, and I never thought I’d be able to adapt different styles into my wardrobe due to my irrational fear of dresses and skirts. On the off chance I found a blouse my friends deemed “cute,” I wore it until it fell apart, because I didn’t feel like going through the process of getting new clothes.
As time went on, I watched my peers pick out outfits, try new styles and shop for bold clothing pieces and jewelry while I skimmed the boys’ section of Target (no, really).
It wasn’t until recently that I upgraded my “tomboy” look into one I actually feel confident wearing. However, I’ve recently noticed myself slipping back into the sweatpants and plain T-shirt outfits again while going to school and working from home.
So, over spring break, I tried seven new aesthetics to combat my cycle of clinging to one underwhelming style. Here’s how it went.
This aesthetic mostly consists of Vans, ripped black jeans, graphic T-shirts, chain necklaces and beanies. Given that this is close to my typical style, it was easy to throw together the outfit. I did not feel out of my comfort zone in the slightest, and I’ll definitely continue to wear outfits like this one. It was a good way to ease into the next few days.
When I began my research on the cottagecore aesthetic, I panicked when I saw the dresses, skirts and cardigans that overwhelmed the Pinterest search results. Don’t get me wrong, the style was beautiful, and I really appreciated the earthy tones and free-flowing fabric. But the last thing I want to do is wear a dress. So I dug deeper and decided to put my own spin on the style. I ended up falling in love with the pieces I found at the thrift store. I combined a white button-up shirt with tan fabric pants and suspenders. This included both the color scheme and style of clothing while also making sure the outfit was something I was comfortable in. Let’s just say, I will be wearing this next time I have a picnic at the park.
Since the ’90s aesthetic is making somewhat of a return, I decided this decade’s style was a good choice to try to recreate. I originally chose mom jeans and a box cut top to adapt to this aesthetic. Mom jeans were an easy find at the thrift store — especially with Gen Z’s push to ditch the skinny jeans — but I now understand why box cut tops went out of style. These shirts did not fit me in the slightest, so instead, I picked out an old T-shirt that resembled the outfits I’ve seen on my favorite ’90s sitcoms. The mom jeans will definitely stay in my closet, but the box cut top can go.
With its dark color schemes and scholastic influences, this aesthetic has always intrigued me. I definitely felt more professional as I stepped into the gray checkered pants I picked out and pulled on a black turtleneck. I added some jewelry and a trench coat to fully adopt the dark academia look. I really enjoyed wearing this style and wouldn’t mind expanding it further to include button-up shirts and dark sweater vests instead of a pesky turtleneck. I will definitely be incorporating aspects of this style into my work attire, though I wouldn’t be upset if turtlenecks went out of style.
Trying out this aesthetic forced me to pick out one of the boldest outfits I’ve ever worn. This style generally consists of cool patterns and bright colors in both pants and tops. Yellow checkered pants with a bright yellow T-shirt and a jean jacket are not items I ever thought I would wear, but I unintentionally fell in love with this style. While walking around the thrift store, I saw clothing options I hadn’t even considered before because I never allowed myself to be so bold. There were so many colors and patterns to choose from, and it definitely opened my eyes to what I’ve been missing when I stick to gray, black and white pieces. This outfit gave me the confidence boost I needed, and it will definitely be one of my go-to outfits.
The soft girl aesthetic mostly consists of pastel cardigans, flower patterns and jeans. Baby blue, pink, light green, lavender and white were the main colors I observed when researching this style. As you can probably guess, this is not something I would normally wear. I managed to scrounge up a soft pink shirt and paired it with jeans. To say the least, I will not be incorporating this style into my personal wardrobe. However, the style itself — especially the incorporation of beautiful pastel colors — is one I can appreciate from afar.
For this aesthetic, I looked for inspiration from historic photos of the cultural revolution in the 1960s that pushed the adaptation of the “hippie” style. I noticed a lot of flowing pants or skirts and loose tops, along with bold patterns and headbands. When I put the outfit together and walked in front of the mirror, it looked as though I stepped out of a time machine, and I can honestly say I’m proud of myself for this one. I never expected to enjoy wearing this style, but the outfit was both comfortable and stylish. Surprisingly, I think this is one of the aesthetics I will be incorporating in my own wardrobe on occasion.
Going into this week, I did not expect to enjoy wearing most of the outfits I tried. But consciously dressing to fit a certain aesthetic gave me confidence in the clothes I wore and pushed me to try new colors and patterns. This project expanded my toolkit of how to pick out clothes at a store and wear the new items as well.
For anyone who is getting tired of wearing the same clothing every day, I highly recommend making Pinterest boards of different aesthetics and heading to the thrift store to get some new items without breaking the bank. You may even find a specific style you want to stick with or maybe, like me, you’ll incorporate bits and pieces of different aesthetics into the outfits you put together. Whatever you choose, if you are unhappy with your wardrobe, this is a fantastic way to get away from the mundane repetition of outfits everyday.