From Our Readers

Why I Look Like a Bum and Act Like a Princess

Today I remembered that there is life outside of sweatshirts. An undercover fashion junkie – as evidenced by my choice to wear a sheer hi-low skirt and 5-inch suede platform pumps to prom – I am disguised by my daily uniform. Rarely there is a day where I’m not caught wearing a scarf, sweatshirt, leggings/jeggings (if those ever go out of style, I swear that someone will be sued), boots and glasses. I stockpile hoodies like the production of fleece has just been outlawed. I pout when a sweatshirt is so comfy and I can’t wear it again the next day. (Sidebar: They’re all that comfy. This is a daily recurrence.)

But after pulling an all-nighter solely to dedicate my night to YouTube, I grew hungry and fierce, feeling like the souls of FIVE THOUSAND BEAUTY AND FASHION ICONS HAD BURIED THEIR WAY INTO MY MIND! (Actually, I mostly just felt really tired. My under-eye circles were so dark they looked like a goth kid’s pillow does if they forget to wipe off their makeup before sleeping.)

After five hours of non-stop beauty videos (the other few hours were dedicated to baby animal videos and the first few segments of that Disney channel Lindsay Lohan/Tyra Banks movie Life Size from back in the day), it seemed an insult to the beauty and fashion community to not make the effort to put in my contacts, conceal the fact that I might be turning into a person-sized raccoon, and look past all of the angelic rows of fleece in my closet to something a little bit, well, more “fashionable”.

But the reaction of those around me in everyday life to my “new look” was not quite as expected. My first professor asked me if I’d “stepped on my spectacles”. My second professor failed to recognize me even though I was seated in the same chair that I had been in every class session that quarter. And I was met with a blank stare by nearly every person as I walked into each classroom.

This, I learned, is the power of makeup and fitted sweaters. This is the power of 20 minutes less sleep every morning and the usage of a hot roller set. This is what it’s like to actually style my hair in the morning instead of putting it up in a wet topknot. And it was awful. As I watched my economics professor grumble on about an upcoming paper, I contemplated taking an on-desk nap to compensate for the 20 minutes of sleep I missed. As I got a headache from the too-strong smell of the hairspray on my head, I remembered the oddly soothing smell of a freshly-shampooed head present on an average morning. And as my flats-covered feet began to ache from the cold, I realized that I live in Washington state and that today was probably a good day for rainboots.

And so I made the decision to return in the coming days to the warm hug of a soft pullover, the (I hope) knowingly intelligent look that my glasses provide me with, and the sweet, gentle stretch of a pair of leggings. I, however, will not give up my 30+ subscriptions to YouTube beauty gurus. I will not guarantee that an all-night beauty knowledge session won’t happen again. And my soul will remain that of a cocky, snobbish fashion design student in San Francisco.

Remember: We disguised fashionistas are everywhere. Do not think that just because we pass you while wearing no makeup that we are not judging your choice to wear cropped white leggings with a denim mini skirt. Do not think that just because our hair is still wet from this morning’s shower that we are not questioning your decision to get skunk-like streaks. Our choice to wear fuzzy socks (under boots) to a public place does not remove our ability to recognize your adorable nail art.
We lurk where no fashion-conscious has ever gone before: The realm of the week-long hoodie fest! Undercover fashionistas: UNITE! We are just as powerful as a herd of the leather-skirted and the Louboutin-wearing, but in our comfy, worn-down Uggs and yoga pants, we are probably much faster!

By Emily Willeman

  • Freya H Dub

    I feel like this was written from my brain. I’m a fashionista in hiding! I’m in hiding mainly because I’m unemployed and can’t really afford to buy all the amazing pieces that I long for. BUT I also agree that the more amazing things to wear are leggings and sweat shirts. I am aching for fall and winter so my boots can come back and my sweaters. Oh my sweaters.

  • Christen Parker

    I totally get this. I’m an art major and always have to dress in something I don’t mind getting dirty….so on the rare occasion I put on something that requires a little more effort, the general response is a little strange. I’m always ready to put back on my paint-covered jeans and old t-shirts after that.

  • Gervie Ebron

    Ahaha. Suddenly, I remembered this thing I saw on tumblr or facebook, “You don’t understand! I have a great fashion sense, I just don’t have the money.” I could relate so much with this article. I couldn’t help but live by sweaters, awesme band tees, jeggings, jeans and all. But I also love wearing dresses, shorts and pretty shoes. <3

  • Jannette Ivonne Tablas

    Gah! though i’m not big on hoodies or uggs and leggings, I completely feel you’ve spoken my emotions about being in hiding. Sleep is precious to me since it’s always been so hard to come by for me. (with school, work, volunteer work, chores, deep thinking and worrying at night) I’m willing to sacrifice looking good for sleep. And especially in the summer, I don’t like dressing up only to feel all sweaty and gross and uncomfortable. The excuses can go on. I know. I neglect myself in many ways in order for everything else to be right. But this needs to stop, at least once in a while.

    Despite this, I refuse to give up ANTM, the many wonderful fashion blogs and vlogs as mentioned, splurging on rare occasion on Vogue, secretly trying my hand at fashion illustrations, criticizing amateur models and wannabe models (though secretly I wish I could), I long for a Chanel and Valentino purse, I admire great craftsmanship yet making only a little over minimum wage, I’ve trained myself well to not justify splurging on fashion items. Splurging for me is spending anything over $100 on a shopping spree in less than a month.

    Which is my little incentive to learn to knit, draw well, design, photograph well, learn to sew properly and to design actually make shoes. If I can’t afford it, then I need to learn to make it.

    With that said, I think I’ve been inspired to make that extra effort, at least a litte more often anway. :)

  • Aimee Louise Pow

    Your sweater looks soft and snuggly :) My mum just bought me a super soft hoodie, the hood has a pom-pom on it! I like to dance around gaing, “I’m a pixie!” every time I put it on! Happy times 😀

    • Aimee Louise Pow

      Going *

  • Ali Erkut

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  • Feanne Hontiveros Mauricio

    So true; I love this! Now also curious to see your photo of your non-sweatshirt day :))

  • Lindsay Duer-Robertson

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  • Megz Stroback

    Best article ever. I feel the same way. I can’t wait for winter because my winter wardrobe is so much better than my summer one

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