Ever since I made my earthly debut one score and nine years ago, I have had an immense aversion to fashion and style. I haven’t the slightest idea as to why, but it’s just how it is.

My mom, of course, dressed me until the end of middle school/beginning of high school so I never had to worry much about what I was wearing growing up. High school is essentially where I got thrown into a pit of fashionable piranhas.

At my first high school, we didn’t have to wear uniforms. So, I went shopping for school clothes that year, the women’s section of Walmart was my chosen fashion champion.

Back then, I was really into floral patterns and tight pants that gave me the illusion of a big butt so that’s what my freshman and sophomore year of high school closet mostly consisted of. Interestingly enough, I had a pair of pants that combined the two and they were my favorite piece of clothing.

As far as accessorizing went, I wore the same necklace every day, wore small earrings and basically kept my hair in braids as often as possible. I had just done the big chop in eighth grade and unfortunately I can indeed confirm that middle school kids are mean.

At my second high school, it was back to basic ole’ uniforms. Yet, I still struggled to add my own personal flare with accessories and my hair.

The fact that I was even concerned about that stuff still confounds me, as it was senior year and nothing really mattered but graduating. I think it’s because everywhere I turned, I saw fresh braids, snatched buss-downs, shiny chains and some designer tote or cool backpack.

Obviously for college, I’d be prepped and ready to showcase my identity via fashion, right?! No. I was no such thing. 

When I went shopping for college, my main destination was my mom’s closet. I took everything that she didn’t want and looked raunchy. Last year, for some outlandish reason, I was on a hunt for men. So, I figured that I should look the part at least when clubbing.

For my daily outfits, I stuck with the trusty graphic tee and sweatpants combo. Occasionally, I switched out the sweatpants for a pair of biker or jean shorts but that was as stylish as I got.

My accessory choices hadn’t switched much since high school either. Freshman year had gone so poorly that I allowed myself to be omitted from stylistic judgment.

This year, I’ve been focusing on self-improvement and trying to establish my own personal style is a part of that. I felt pretty confident that I could do it, especially since I had recently dyed my hair red, which is an instant cool points booster. I am really proud of my hair and how far it’s come since the beginning of my natural hair journey, so I knew that was going to be a focal point of my style evolution.

The first place I consulted for style tips was social media, Instagram and Pinterest mostly. I would see these Instagram stories about a website that could tell you what colors worked best for you. All you had to do was pay $20. 

Being as eager as I was, I was about to spend the money. Luckily, I remembered that I already knew which colors suited me fairly well. So, I began brainstorming outfit ideas.

One day, I was scrolling on TikTok and I came across this video where the girl who made it went on Pinterest and typed “[her name]-core” in the search bar. It showed her true aesthetic through different Pins.

Naturally, I went on Pinterest myself and tried the little trick. According to Pinterest, my true aesthetic and style is akin to that of “Harry Potter.” Pinterest believes that the likes of dark academia and elegance suit my personal identity.

Though the notion intrigued me, I was puzzled as to how I would incorporate those themes into daily casual dress. It’s not like a casual blazer and shorts look would be tolerable in Louisiana heat. 

As I racked my brain trying to get this to work, I settled on just pulling colors from each aesthetic. Most of those colors included deep, rich shades and neutrals. I had to figure out if any deep shades really appealed to me and emerald really seemed to be the one.

Shortly after this, I landed back in reality where I realized that I was hilariously broke and purchasing an entire new wardrobe was going to cost me more than time and concentration. So for now, my style/aesthetic journey is on a temporary hold.

I currently maintain the graphic clothing items kick, though now it’s expanded to my bottoms now. I feel like the silver lining is that I’m always comfortable.

After going through this process for a short while, I realized that my concern no longer lied with my own personal aesthetic journey. It now lies with the personal aesthetic journeys of people who lived without social media.

How did they manage to set trends that are still influential today without the extra assistance? 

The only way I could see it being possible is if everyone just told each other how to dress, but obviously that isn’t feasible.

Regardless, I honestly don’t believe I could do this without social media. Hell, I didn’t even take the first step without social media.

As a young woman finding her way through adulthood, it’s really important for me to establish myself in this world. If finding my style is the gateway to doing that, I’m up for the challenge, so long as Instagram and Pinterest are still operational.