But WHAT Would I Wear?!

I am a strong advocate for the live action interpretation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I realize this may be a controversial statement for some, especially those who prefer the original, animated film or who dislike Jim Carrey. Personally, I have always related to Carrey’s interpretation of the Grinch. Specifically, I am referencing to the scene when Cindy Lou Who invites the Grinch to the Whoville’s Christmas extravaganza. After receiving her invitation, the Grinch promptly checks his schedule to see if this would even be possible given his busy day of staring into the abyss. He goes into a tangent of asking “But what would I wear?” and “If I don’t have anything to wear, then I’m not going.” These lines get me every SINGLE time.

As a sophomore in college, I now relate to these lines on a whole new level. My freshmen year was devoid of the more stereotypical college social life situations, my shyness still running rampant in my veins and my unwillingness to try new things controlled most of my decisions. However, after a not so great year I decided to branch out of my comfort zone and experiment with the party scene so many were talking about — and posting to their Instagram and Snapchat stories. FOMO eventually takes a number on you.

During the first weekend back in the Fall semester of my sophomore year, I found myself at my first college party. A 6-week Italian Language & Culture summer program opened my eyes to staying up late listening to loud music, dancing, and hanging out with friends in large crowds. So, I wasn’t completely naive when I walked into the party, but I still felt like I was Nick Carraway looking into Gatsby’s life from afar.

Despite feeling like an outsider, there was one thing that comforted me when I felt awkward standing in a dark corner, awkwardly swaying from left to right. This one thing was getting ready before exiting the comfort of my dorm room. I love fashion. In fact, I lay out what I am going to wear the night before so I do not feel rushed when composing an outfit (this also leaves more time for more important things...like breakfast). A new venue of outfits was fun for me; I could finally experiment with red lipstick and wear crop tops I would not normally feel comfortable wearing in the light hours as I walk around campus. Although to be clear, I do not believe wearing either of these things outside of the party setting is “slutty” or “inappropriate.” I will always stand by the importance of wearing what YOU want to wear and owning it — after all fashion is a way to express who you are.

I have this weird ability to remember odd facts throughout my lifetime, like the function of the mitochondria or what I ate for breakfast last Tuesday — at the same time more important facts like my grandma’s birthday or a meeting with my English professor will often escape my mind. That being said, I remember the outfit I wore that night a few months back. Black and white polka-dot flowy pants with slits up the legs and a black and white striped racer back crop top paired with platform sandals. I felt good, hot even. All the while… I wasn’t showing as much skin as others. I don’t own a miniskirt. I hardly add a smokey eye to the mix. And I almost never dedicate extra time to curling my hair for a night out. THAT being said, I have such respect for those who wake up early each day to apply makeup and curl, straighten, or braid their hair. It takes time and effort — holding a burning hot curling iron for up to 30 minutes or more is hard work and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

I still had fun that night and I have continued to have fun since, both spending time with my friends and having fun with the clothes I chose to wear. “Night-out” clothes are the perfect opportunity to experiment with crazy styles: how about black tights with a skort or a velvet tank top with huge silver earrings or that while scuba material crop top that’s been sitting in the back of your closet for half a century? These are a few combinations which I have experimented with in the past months and all combinations which make me feel more confident about myself.

However, when I look around at the other dancing bodies which surround me at parties I wonder whether I made the right decision about what I wore that night. Should I have opted for a simple white crop top? Should I buy a black pencil skirt? Is it weird that I don’t like high heels? Do I need to wear more makeup? If my black jeans don’t have rips, are they really black jeans? At the end of the day, it comes down to what YOU want to wear, regardless of what other people are sporting that evening. Of course, this is easier said than done and I think most of us can agree that we struggle with comparing yourself to others — it’s human nature. This habit becomes amplified when you are at college and are feeling peer pressure from all angles. I urge you though to choose clothes which you love and which make you feel confident when you put them on, whether this means following a particular trend at the moment or breaking off from the status quo. Either way, embrace your decision and remember that in a few short hours you will be back in your room wearing a t-shirt from middle school and pajama shorts that you probably should have thrown out years ago.

Fashion is a path to self-discovery that can only start when we look inwards rather than outwards. And worst case, if nothing speaks to you, stay in for a movie night. It’s never too early for a holiday special.