The Orion

Dress to express, not just to socially impress

Miles Inserra

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Illustration by Miles Huffman

In a country where media idealizes a person’s appearance, tolerance begins with accepting a person’s looks. In the youthful city of Chico, this starts with students on campus respecting all fashion statements.

Most students put some thought into what they are going to wear to class, and most students don’t want to feel judged for that choice.

Whether style is a personal choice, cultural statement, religious requirement or otherwise is unknown to spectators, fashion is subjective, so withhold judgment.

Other’s opinions do not matter.

Fashion allows people to show off cultural distinctions in a stylish way. I’ve experimented with a quite a few styles myself.

My skin is thicker because of it.

As a youngster, I was a classic skater kid. I rocked slim Volcom pants, a backwards cap and puffy, ripped shoes. There was nothing ambitious about that fashion phase.

As I got older,my pants got lower. As my pants got lower, my shirts got bigger.

By the time I was in high school, Lil Wayne influenced my every move.

I walked the halls of Acalanes High School in baggy jeans and a plain white XL tall T-shirt. If there wasn’t a beanie hanging off the side of my head, I had a black bandanna wrapped around it representing the gang I wasn’t in.

Halfway through high school, my vocal director criticized my style. In short, she told me my oversized wardrobe wasn’t attractive.

Suddenly, and drastically, I changed my style.

I reminded myself how to use a belt. As my pants got higher they got tighter and my shirts got smaller and grew collars. After purchasing a Captain America backpack, I traded in my contact lenses for black, thick-rimmed glasses.

I consciously went from wannabe rapper to flamboyant nerd.

Along with my peers, my own brothers gave me grief. As soon as we parked the car, they rushed to their lockers so as not to be seen on campus with me.

I could only survive high school alone for so long.

Wearing overalls and suspenders to class in the same week were the last ambitious fashion statements I ever made.

A guy can only be called a faggot so many times.

Senior year, I gave up and became a hipster. Thrift-store shirts were cheap and moccasins were comfortable. Most importantly, I was out of the spotlight.

It took me a while to figure out my style. I spent most of high school figuring out what I didn’t like to wear, mostly because my peers didn’t like it on me.

At the time, I was expressing myself in the only way I knew how. I was a quiet kid who dressed loud. But the public shut me up.

Today I dress generic.

I can be seen on the Chico State campus in slim black pants like those I started in, cheap thrift-store shirts, comfortable moccasins and a beanie hanging off the side of my head.

I’m not trying to conform to a particular fad or dress like Weezy.

I’m me.

I probably don’t stand out, but I also won’t be criticized for dressing the way I dress — which is often influenced by how I feel.

Many students still express themselves in outrageously fashionable ways. These are students adding color and culture to our campus.

For those who still dress loud, speak up in the hopes that others will listen.

Miles Inserra can be reached at [email protected] or @m_inserra on Twitter

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Dress to express, not just to socially impress