Solo Style

In second grade, at the end of the year they gave out awards and such to all of the students. One of the awards I received was an award for being best dressed. I don’t know, that sounds kind of odd now thinking about it. At that age isn’t it somewhat customary for parents to pick out your clothes, or if not a lonely child, you might be the recipient of your older brother and sisters clothes… being best dressed would be kinda like giving an award to the parent rather than the kid? Anyway, in my case, when I was young my mother made a lot of my clothes.

We’d go to the store together and pick out patterns and cloth, and my mother would sew them up for me. In that sense, not only did I have input into the style of clothes I’d be wearing, I got to pick out unique patterns that created a style that stood out. My clothes would always match and were generally in good condition. No doubt the teachers and faculty who decided to give the award noticed that, and decided it was one defining facet of me that they thought they’d recognize.

Another thing during this time that made me stand out style wise was during Halloween. Again, my mom would sew together costumes for me (and my sister). For a few years we got awards and were recognized for our elaborate costumes. The “Doll and Pet Parade” sticks out for one, where my sister and I were dressed as clowns, and without pets, we had stuffed animals that were dressed in a similar fashion. Costumes crafted by mom and we were featured in the newspaper and given an award for that as well.

When I moved to the southwest, my mom wasn’t making as much of my clothes as we were buying them now, but I still had a lot of input on what I wanted to wear. Being in the southwest, my clothing for a few years was heavily influenced by Mexican/Native American style. A lot of short sleeve button down shirts with shorts, I wasn’t dressing up but it was different from what all of the other kids were wearing. During this time is also when I got glasses for the first time so that added a little bit to things. In addition, for a lot of the time I had my hair permed (straightened), a unique hair style, divergent from the typical mini afro one might see on black people.

From there, I moved over to the east coast and again, my style would change somewhat. By this time we were buying all my clothes and I basically got to pick out whatever it is that I wanted. This would continue and by the age of 13 instead of my parents buying it, I’d actually be buying things with my own money. So yeah, total freedom to define my own style. For about a year my style would be a bit casual, shorts and t-shirts, but I’d eventually move on to something more unique. For one year I wore nothing but black and green. Not sure the reasoning behind it, but it was a style and color combo that I though looked cool. Another year, I adopted somewhat of a hip hop fashion, wearing nothing but a single brand of clothing (BOSS, by I.G. Design). It was really unique and one could tell that I put effort into it.

During high school is when my style pretty much revolved around dressing up. Business casual if you will. Button down shirts, long sleeve or short, never wearing shorts or jeans, nothing but khakis and dress pants. If I was known for anything I was known for my unique fashion sense. Even to this day, when I wear something that is not considered “dressing up,” people notice right away.

Now, beyond clothing, during my time on the east coast also brought some interesting hair styles. First, I grew an afro a couple inches long and had my mother trim it into a high top fade. I think the high top was a bit of a dated style at the time, but that’s part of what made it stand out. What I did next however, made it stand out so much more.

I had been accustom to getting perms, which was unique in it’s own right, but this time I did something different. I dyed my hair bright blond. Note, that with the high top, the sides are buzz cut, I left that black, the top however was now not only straight, but a blond/gold color. A really unique style that caught many eyes when I returned to school after the summer when I had it done.

The next step in the evolution of that hair style was to braid my hair. Whether the braids were cornrows or 20 to 40 varied sized plats, it was really unique. My hair would eventually grow down to my shoulders, keep in mind that the sides were always buzz cut and it was only the top of my hair that was long. An interesting style indeed (sometimes causing me to be confused for a girl, actually), that lasted for about 4 years before I cut it off. From then on out my hair and clothing has been pretty consistent. Dressy, but not overly so, totally different than what both people of my age and what older people would be wearing.

My facial hair didn’t really start growing in until I was around 21. I’ve never really done much with that but shave it off and or have a mustache/goatee. Also at 21 is when my hair started thinning. A mix of heredity and probably, if only slightly due to the bunch of chemicals I had put into it years earlier, heh. I’ve been shaving my hair for the past two and a half years or so, the baldness has taken complete control and I’m too lazy to try and come up with something unique around that nowadays.

Before my trip to Japan last month, I decided to do a slight mix of my style. Shorts and some interesting designed t-shirts. Simple, yeah, but really out of the norm from what I usually wear. The shirts were purposefully a bit tight on me, giving a slight glimpse of the outline to my body. I really liked this and it made me feel kind of, not “sexy,” but confident and cool. More and more recently I’m becoming interested in varying up my style, and hope to look into it more seriously. I’ve even considered cross dressing too, wouldn’t work for work and other such occasions, but who knows, I might like to mix it up every once in a while.

Whether it’s “cool” fashion, or “cute,” or some undefined “solo style,” it’ll be unique that’s for sure, as my style always has been.