Don't Blame It on Fashion
Teens around the world, Stevenson included, use fashion to express themselves, but often prefer to feel safe in the comfort of acceptance than sorry in the face of judgment. One junior says that they go out of their way to express their differences: “It’s what my friends wear, but not what most people do.” Interestingly, not all high schoolers dress in an entirely Banana Republic outfit.
As teenage students, our school environment has an enormous influence on how we express ourselves, hence our collective lack of self-esteem. Raging mental health issues prey on body comparisons to deepen insecurities in an already fractious environment. The same junior expressed that they dress in a certain way only at school: in an ambitious, orange, Banana Republic quarter-zip with untouched brown boots. “I mostly dress for other people, so other people think I look nice. I DO care what I look like. I dress how I want but I wouldn’t wear this on any other day,” they stated, referring to their two-year-old “traffic cone” colored shirt.
It is uncommon for a teen to admit their conscious and unconscious intentions to gain validation from their peers and to avoid judgment. This haunting peer pressure roams teen social circles and additionally wanders through social media and television. However, primary influence comes from the people we interact with for over eight hours a day. The same junior added in a self-deprecating manner, “I didn't do anything to my hair today, that is why it looks kind of weird.”
Fashion can be exhilarating yet exhausting as a teenager. From the hours of makeup and jewelry pairing to the choosing of hole-less socks to match their shoes. Nevertheless, there are a minority of people who couldn't give less of a s***. Emma Hall, a sophomore girl, mentioned that although she “just threw this outfit on” she had to think about the warmth, and create a “not too casual” statement in order to be “presentable”.
As a new student at Stevenson School, I have observed what is deemed acceptable. Y2k style –a 2000s teenager and television star fashion sense– has become a model standard to reach. A reused 2000s outfit in this modern era consists of low-rise boot cut jeans with glimmering embroidery below a lower-back tramp stamp, long tight fit tank tops, and a large barrette clip to hold up medium length hair.
Fashion that was at first rare and unattainable –historically only for thin women– has found its way into the modern beauty standard and private schools. Due to the diversity of social statuses and identities in Monterey, California and within Stevenson School fashion looks different on every student.