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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

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