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By: Erin Byrd

Since Pre-K, I’ve been required to wear a version of a dated plaid jumper, dress, skirt, or kilt five days a week, twenty-six weeks a year. I owned as many navy blue or white polos as sundresses and basically lived in the running shorts I wore under my skirt all through high school. Old habits die hard, and as someone who wore a uniform for fourteen years of her life, the freedom to dress as I please is both exciting and overwhelming. Before move-in day in August, my mom and I went on a major shopping spree to try and round out my wardrobe, but I’ve discovered that my problem is not a lack of clothing options, but rather that I have no idea what my sense of style is. 

My tattered, stained, a-little-too-short skirt from highschool made its way to Wake with me and most days, I envy my former self who never had to think about what to wear. Waking up for my 9am Spanish class, the last thing I want to do is put together an outfit that is both cute and comfortable, is ready to beat the North Carolina heat and still makes me feel like myself. If anyone was paying close attention, they would see that my style is all over the place: sometimes I wear athletic clothes all day with no intention of going to the gym, other days I’ll wear a sundress and sandals like the Southern Belle I would love to be, and still others I fall somewhere in between, wearing jean shorts and t-shirts or tank tops. The experimentation is fun, but adjusting to college and trying to figure out how I want the world to see me seems like the most daunting of tasks. My high school kilt is a symbol of home and a reminder of the people and the places to whom I had to say goodbye. But, it shaped me into the person I am today. It is fitting that as I move on from my former life at home, I also must move on from my cherished uniform. But, just as I miss my family and friends back home, I also miss the comfort and safety of my kilt and how easy it made my life. 

My recommendation to other girls in my shoes is to embrace the freedom and experiment with your style as much as you can. Odds are, no one is really paying attention to your outfits, so be that Southern Belle, gym fanatic, VSCO girl, or tomboy. I know that my clothing choices are ever-fluctuating and I am very excited to keep experimenting. Though I know I am not the most stylish (whether that be due to lack of experience or the absence of a sense of fashion), changing up what I wear day-to-day is a lot of fun. Seeing my old uniform sitting in the back of my closet makes me a little nostalgic, but though I appreciate its functionality, I know that the freedom to dress however I want is just another way I have to step outside my comfort zone now that I’m a college student.

 

Erin Byrd

Wake Forest '23

Erin is a sophomore from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who hopes to major in Finance and minor in Psychology.
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