Words by: Eden Hopgood
Fashion has always been the way I like to express myself the most. Coming from a smaller country town, this has been harder to do, but since moving to Naarm (Melbourne),I have been able to progress my personal style and dress for myself rather than the expectations of others.
One of the biggest ways I have tapped into my personal style is by buying more sustainably. Almost everything I own is second-hand; from op shops, vintage shops, Depop or eBay (with the exceptions of my basics and wardrobe staples which I aim to buy based on longevity and quality). This has allowed me to trial new styles without fear of the price tag and environmental impacts of the products. But I’ve also been exposed to clothes that I may not have been previously when I used to routinely shop at the same stores. Despite now having a better understanding of my personal style, what I wear can still greatly differ between occasion and setting. Here are some examples of environments where I apply the different facets of my style:
I attend Monash University’s Caulfield campus three times a week. My go-to casual but cute outfit for Uni usually consists of jeans or pants, a cool tank top or singlet, and if the weather is colder, a leather jacket or fluffy coat paired with a scarf. To further accessorize I sometimes add a cap/hat and for shoes I usually stick to a sneaker. I enjoy curating nice yet practical outfits to come to uni and this is definitely what I feel most comfortable in. I feel like it allows me to express my personal style in a way that also allows me to avoid any discomfort whilst sitting through what is usually many hours of class on multiple days per week. I tend to also not dress as “out there” as I might for different occasions to fit this, but still in a way that still makes me feel stylish, fun and confident, as I like to think of leaving the house for any occasion as a way to have fun with my appearance and dress up to different extents. Of course there are days where I’d rather opt for something even more comfortable like a tracksuit or just a plain jumper/hoodie, which is also definitely appropriate for this environment and my style. Personally, I like having my own time when at uni, especially when studying or quickly moving to and from classes, but it always feels great when, even wearing some of my more simpler outfits, I get compliments on items our outfits that I’m wearing (which has happened on campus quite a few times!).
- Op shopping
I love op shopping, and hence I love dressing up to go op shopping. When dressing for this though, I do like to keep in mind trying on clothes, and hence wear clothes that are easy to take off/put on. For this, the best option is usually a skirt or baggy pants, nothing with too many buttons, hook and eyelets, etc., like a tshirt and minimal accessories. Shoes I tend to opt for slip on ones like sandals or looser fitting sneakers. This is due to the fact that I find it gets frustrating having to take items off and on again each time I reach the changing rooms. Although I can feel pretty basic in these kinds of outfits, and can be met with the questioning eyes of my fellow (cooler looking) shoppers this doesn’t phase me, as I specially when I’m doing a quick trip to the op shop it is often to clear my head as it’s a genuine form of self-care for myself. In addition to this, I like to remind myself that although I’m dressing more “basic” when at the op shop, a.) being basic is incredibly subjective to each person’s personal style, and b.) I like to think of it as ‘saving’ my potentially cooler outfits for after the shopping trip, as I’m likely to score some amazing and quirky finds whilst I’m there.
- Going out for dinner, drinks or an event with friends
When going out for dinner or drinks with friends I like to dress up and wear something a bit fancier than usual. Mostly this means either a nice skirt or suit pants, a funky top, and a simple jacket depending on the outfit. Alternatively, I love wearing dresses, as I find that this usually isn’t something I reach for, as well as my knee high boots or heels which I love bringing out on fancier occasions. These outfits make me feel powerful, sexy, confident, beautiful and everything of a similar vein. I take so much pleasure in dressing up as I find it’s when I tend to get a bit more creative with outfits or wear things I wouldn’t usually, which is always exciting to me. I believe this comes from my sheer love of being creative, but also because of my Leo star sign, which makes me love being the centre of attention from time to time… A lot of my friends dress and think in similar ways, so when we get together and dress up to go out it’s always so fun, and provides for some great photos and memories!
Going to a bigger event or a Festival is when my experimentation comes out the most and when I go even further in seeking out new outfits or pair things I may avoid. Earlier this year I went to Pitch Music and Arts festival which is a 4-day festival in Moyston. In this time I took advantage of my environment and pulled together festival worthy outfits. This included extravagant corsets, lots of fun accessories, handmade items, cowboy boots and many beautiful op shop finds. These outfits make me feel my most confident, creative, cool and beautiful self, as they are my authentic style and the manifestations of my creative styling ideas that I can tend to avoid in everyday life. In the weeks leading up to the festival I spent hours on Instagram, Tik Tok and Pinterest finding inspiration and curating possible wacky and fun combinations that I wouldn’t dare to wear in any other environment which was half of the fun. The enjoyment of seeing what everyone else put together also was inspiring and exciting. On top of this, so many interactions with people can be sparked based on the outfits, this can include people asking where things are from, or simply just commenting on how much they like a piece someone is wearing. I really like dressing for these kinds of events as it is an incredibly non judgemental environment with everyone being there to enjoy themselves, the music, the art or whatever else they’ve come for, and hence aren’t worried about the appearances of others. This shows that this kind of environment is one for myself and others to flourish, and one that allows for comfort within one’s body and personal style.