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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TAMU chapter.

My style as a teenager then and now as a twenty-two-year-old, is extremely different and reflective of time periods within my life. I’ve had a very positive experience with finding my own style as I have grown older and I am grateful I have given myself the time to develop myself in this way. I’m glad that what I liked when I was a teenager, I am not likely to be found wearing now, as it means I have matured into who I feel I am meant to be.

The comparisons are most evident in my clothing as I wear baggy clothing and lots of layers now. As a teenager, I often wore tight-fitted clothing, which I was always uncomfortable with. Part of my dislike was a result of my own body image as the media pushed ideal body standards. I wore standard clothing, but never anything too on-trend. A lot of my clothing was hand-me-downs but I made the best of this. The older I got, the looser my clothing became, as I didn’t want to be constricted by tight fabrics. This sudden shift was a result of my gender identity development. My slow movement from more feminine attire to gender-neutral was gradual. After the loose clothing, I experimented with different shoes and accessories. Around this time, I began to invest in jewelry. A crucial element of any stylish outfit is the accessories; they add so much personalization.

Entering college, I had a brief switch from this new style to a more sexually mature style. I was beginning to understand my own sexuality as well as gender, and as a result, a lot of my style became influenced by queer women, because at the time I still used “she/they” pronouns. At this time, I knew I was pansexual and genderqueer in some way. Expressing myself through stereotypical feminine styles like skirts, heels, and makeup still felt like something I was comfortable with. However, the more my gender identity developed the less I wore gender role clothing. Around Christmas, I came out to my friends and partner as nonbinary and pansexual. After this, I began using “they/them” pronouns and asked those who knew how to use them. My style shifted dramatically not only for this reason but because my politics began to develop. I identify as a socialist feminist and have done extensive reading on intersectional feminism to develop my understanding of class consciousness. I had been reflecting on hypersexuality and to what extent it was empowering to me. Showing my body seemed to be something I increasingly did not feel comfortable doing. However, many people do feel confident and empowered from this, and that is a positive thing because we should be encouraging the development of one’s own sexual identity through outlets such as style. I am very grateful I was able to do this, and happy it continued.

During my sophomore year of college, I wore darker-colored clothing that I could mix and match. I grew out of flashy outfits, and because of my gender dysphoria, I stayed away from feminized colors like stereotypical pink. I wasn’t against this for other people but for me, what I wanted more than anything was validation of my gender through a more neutral expression.

Personally, I have never thought of myself as a woman, which was my gender assigned at birth. There has always been a lack of awareness in this aspect as my identity was what others assumed. My gender expression was never what I wanted nor was it something I carried about. I have always felt I am myself and what that means to me is that I don’t want to be constrained by patriarchal stereotypes. Being a girl didn’t feel right, but neither did being a boy; this is so binary and restrictive for myself and others. My gender identity is queer, but if I must label myself I am trans and nonbinary. I began to realize this in the second semester of sophomore year and purchased my first-ever binder. This changed my life. The seeming removal of my chest caused me to experience crazy gender euphoria; I looked like me. After I chopped off my hair my style and confidence kept growing.

I began to feel that I wanted to present myself in a mature yet stylish and queer way. I invested in nice dress shoes that would last me a long time and made tennis shoes, boots, and comfortable sandals a staple in my wardrobe. I am still in the closet to my conservative family and thankfully another positive thing came from cutting my hair. Strangely, my pixie-cut hair made me feel I could unconstrained gender expression. I suddenly felt comfortable wearing dresses and shirks I hadn’t worn again. I fell in love with the alteration of style and the queer joy I experienced. At first, I worried it was a way for me to remain safe around homophobic people, but it actually was me healing. It’s blissful to experience aging, and queerness all at once.

Being queer has added a layer of change which has made my life blissful. It’s okay for your tastes to change as you age, it’s not a bad thing at all. It brought me quite a bit of clarity.

Isabella Carrillo is a Junior English major at Texas A&M University and an aspiring writer and English professor in queer and leftist literature. They joined HERs Campus at TAMU in Spring 2023 and are looking forward to making connections with members and readers. In their free time, they work out in various ways, such as yoga, running, swimming, and rock climbing. Other hobbies include reading and writing. When they are not focused on writing they can be found engrossed in their passions; worker's rights, bodily autonomy for all, LGBTQIA+ health care, and climate action.