The years we spend as a student are a time of exploration. Students are encouraged to explore the world around them and discover where their passions and interests really lie. This sense of discovery extends to self-expression, and it is during their school years that many people develop their personal sense of style.
Both in college and beyond, style can be an incredibly important tool for self-expression. Through the way we dress, it’s possible to signal many elements of our personality. Especially while in university, it can be helpful to understand the relationship between fashion and identity. Expressing identity through clothing can help you feel at home in a new and unfamiliar environment and help attract friends who appreciate you for who you are. Here are some of the top styles for students looking to express their identity through fashion!
Denim: An American classic
Denim is a popular fabric all around the world, beloved for its versatility and durability. However, in the USA, classic blue denim has a whole other layer of meaning when it comes to identity. Blue jeans have been an iconic part of the “American” look for over half of the country’s existence, being invented by Levi Strauss all the way back in 1871. In fact, the history of the classic blue denim jeans can be used by students as a way of investigating many fascinating aspects of the American identity itself. The topic makes for a great essay topic for research assignments for students exploring identity or national culture.
Students who wish to write an essay on the subject can begin their research with the way that blue jeans became synonymous with hard manual work and those practicing the “American Dream.” Online help for students writing such an essay can turn to the many great essay examples of papers on American identity, such as those on Gradesfixer, for inspiration. Having begun with a reputation for being the clothing choice of the American worker, jeans have come to represent a cool, casual, and distinctly American style – epitomised by Hollywood icons such as James Dean and Marlon Brando.
Accessories: Paying homage to ethnic and cultural heritage
Being a “melting pot” society, pretty much everyone in the USA lays claim to an interesting ethnic or cultural heritage. This, too, is a popular facet of identity for students to explore, both in their academic research and through their style. Paying homage to unique motifs and symbols from your particular ethnic background is a powerful way to preserve your heritage and remain firmly rooted in your sense of self.
The way you pay homage will be dependent on the unique cultural or ethnic background from which you come. Some noteworthy examples of accessorising a particular cultural style are so popular that they are becoming widely recognisable. From Irish-Americans donning a traditional Claddagh ring to the intricate beadwork sported by many Native American communities, style can be used to connect communities across time and space. In an environment of education, this cultural clothing can be a powerful invitation offering those around you to get lessons in your personal heritage.
Expressing your taste
One powerful tool of fashion is the ability to align ourselves with those who share our personal tastes, interests, and passions. It is for this reason that so many musical subcultures end up being identifiable through their sense of fashion. Next time you’re in class, take a look around and try to spot what hobbies or tastes you can identify through your peers’ clothing and you may find yourself surprised!
While there are of course casual options, such as wearing a merchandised t-shirt of your favorite band or TV show, some people choose to fully align their fashion with a personal interest. Punk, emo, grunge, and many other styles of music have produced unique senses of style that fans use to identify one another and band together. If a certain genre of music is a particular passion of yours that you feel speaks to your identity, exploring these styles is a great way to let your inner self shine through.
These are just a few of the major ways in which students can express their inner identity through the medium of fashion. Just as every individual is completely unique, the style will be unique to reflect that. The key to self-expression through clothing is to create the right balance between your identity and your personality!