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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Chapel Hill chapter.

If you ever feel the need to reflect on how far you’ve come, I implore you to think back on what you wore in middle school. If you are anything like me, that was when your emo phase happened. I’m 90% sure I went through six bottles of black nail polish in seventh grade. Yet, while we will inevitably cringe at the disastrous graphic tees and coral shorts, all of them were parts of our style journeys. 

The main lesson I’ve learned from all of the ups and downs of my style journey is the importance of the individual. If you are wearing your Air Forces and your LuLuLemon leggings, you are trendy. But trend and fashion aren’t style. And I will be the first to admit that Air Forces and LuLus are my go to pieces for class, but that isn’t me showing off my style.

I remember being younger and shopping with my friends. I wanted brand-name, trendy clothes. I would see the kids with UGGs and North Face jackets in middle school and think that they were the most stylish people ever. And they thought the same thing. Yet, to emphasize, trends are not style. 

Side note: they can overlap sometimes, but only if the trend fits into your style (not the other way around).

Learning this key lesson of style was a relief. It meant that I didn’t have to spend all my discretionary money on the clothes and shoes that were trendy. Style is whatever the heck you want it to be. It is completely yours. It is whatever you think looks good – what makes you walk with a pep in your step. It is what makes you feel hot, confident and unique. 

Trends are for status. Styles are for expression. In the words of our queen Madonna, “Express yourself, ladies.”

Katie Jackson

Chapel Hill '23

Katie is an undergrad at UNC Chapel Hill. She is part of the Campus Y Outreach Taskforce and HYPE Tutoring. Interested in sustainability, economics, and global culture and policy, Katie plans to study business, public policy, and environmental sciences. Katie loves her kitten named Hiccup (yes, from How to Train Your Dragon), her two dogs, her other kitten (even though it is technically her sister's) and her cat.