Lately, I’ve come to suspect that every girl on the face of the Earth probably owns a pair of black yoga pants. I’m not sure why they all need a pair, since the large majority of them don’t practice yoga. I could say the same for boys and the amusing way that half of them sag their pants and the other half never change out of their P.E. shorts. But once you stop to think about it, it all boils down to following the trends—adhering to the norm. And to that, (and Uggs), I say, “UGH.”
It’s one thing to stay up-to-date on fashion trends, but it’s another to be dependent on them. Everyone knows someone with a great sense of style and someone who probably has the same wardrobe as all of his buddies. Now, it’s perfectly okay to be twinning with your friends. Maybe you just happen to have a similar taste for clothes. And if you really do love something, feel free to wear it. But when you buy something solely because all your friends have it and you’re afraid of looking mismatched, it crosses the line between “fashion” to “the uniform.” While wearing whatever everyone else is wearing may be playing it safe and ensures a certain sense of normalcy, it is an unhealthy form of bowing to peer pressure.
Fashion is simply a means by which one can express him or herself. And like the other ways in which we all express ourselves, sometimes we encounter the dreadful deterrent called peer pressure. A Gallup poll of teens aged 13 to 17 found that 17 percent agreed that peer pressure and fitting in appearance-wise were the most important problem facing them. Many teens devote a lot of time to worrying about what others think of them.
This is completely normal though, especially at our age. It certainly isn’t true that appearances aren’t important and you won’t be judged for your choices in an outfit made out of strips of meat. Not everyone has the towering self-confidence of Lady Gaga. The important thing is to avoid basing your decisions off of others. No matter how cheesy it is, you are a special snowflake. You don’t necessarily have to be a totally-unique-and-unprecedented-in-history special snowflake, but you should be aware that you are, at the very least, not a copy. When you wear something you may not necessarily like because you want to fit in, you’re placing others’ opinions above your own. It may pay off in the short term, but in the long run, any kind of relationship dependent on another’s approval is not going to last and is neither healthy nor worthwhile.
A true friend would accept you for who you are, weird fashion taste and all. So don’t be afraid to bust out those clothes you bought ages ago but never wore out of fear of humiliation. After all, Lady Gaga never made fashion headlines in yoga pants.
—Zu, a freshman, is a reporter.