Fashion: clothes, tops, bottoms, jeans, accessories, jewelry, shoes and glasses. It definitely gets stressful when you are a student. You are wrestling with grades, trying to balance that with sports and clubs and get a grip on your social life. Even if you are not trying to run with the popular crowd, you need to dress up. Or at the very least, make some friends who think alike and who you can hang out with. Maybe you are just trying to stay out of trouble and not catch too much attention. Or maybe you are just trying to go from class to class in clothes that are comfortable but not your pyjamas. Clothes make a difference.

At a time when we are all trying to figure out who we are, fashion helps. Not fashion trendy, but fashion comfy. I get it, we are all trying to find out who we are, what we like, and we all want to be comfortable in our clothes at least, if not our skin. With school, parents, friends, and a million shots on social media, how do we know what we like, what we want and whether we are even “normal”? It’s a fine balance: intelligent but not nerdy; sexy but not too revealing; cool but not trying too hard; comfortable but not PJs.

Trust me, this is important. Getting called names or ostracised because of a shirt or a pair of socks sucks. It is not worth the anxiety, shame and possible depression. Think of it this way, when you have got your style figured out, it is something you can stick to and change whenever you want to change. The basic idea is that if you want some peace of mind in your life you’ve got to stay grounded in something consistent. What you have in your cupboard will be a staple you can turn to when you are clueless or when you need to grab something on the run. There is a very real reason why people like Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates look the same in all their public photos. It is called a signature. You have got to get your own. It’s unfortunate, but the world is a shallow place and people do treat you differently, depending on how you dress.

Finding Your Fit

Fit is the most important thing. And by fit, I mean fit you as a person, how you look in it, how it fits your personality and lifestyle. Start with that, then figure how you can upscale that to fit with what looks cool. You may have zero interest in fashion, but it really wouldn’t hurt to look at what your peers are wearing. It is a global culture these days. Everything you need and want is online. People buy glasses online now—since the pandemic, shopping in-store is often no longer even an option. There are a lot more choices and you can get everything in one store and can chat with the store before buying. That means access to a lot more that can fit you better than just what is available in your town. Once you find a look that fits, it really simplifies your life. You don’t have to experiment anymore and you feel more comfortable when you walk out the door, which can translate into some measure of confidence.

Accessories and shoes make a difference. Shoes are worth spending a little time and money on. Look for something that gets you to school, a part time work or even an interview—something versatile. These days, even celebrities make public appearances at posh events in track shoes while wearing a suit. Wear accessories that have some sort of meaning to you. You need a point of interest. That way, it becomes your signature and gives you a little depth. In the confusing world of school and crowds, it is also something that you can hold onto.

Your scent matters. You don’t want to dress all right and you don’t smell good, especially when you have to walk to school or run for the bus or when you get a chance to say hi to your crush up close. There is a reason why the perfume industry makes millions and why there are deodorant sticks.

There’s a saying, “Wear your clothes or your clothes will wear you”. Figuring out what fits you is part of the process of growing up. Even adults obsess about what they wear on social media, so you might as well get a head start. Take this time to figure out your clothes and wardrobe. Style is simply self-expression and being comfortable with yourself, wherever you go. Once you find your style, you can change it up to stand out in a good way anywhere.