Julia Abate
Updated Mar 19, 2015 @ 4:16 pm

The thing I’ve always loved most about fashion is the power that it gives me. At moments when I don’t feel like I have a voice, the clothes that I wear give me one. When I’m too afraid to speak out, my style can speak for me. Fashion is more than what’s on the surface; it gives me a chance to share a different part of myself with the world, the part on the inside.

As teens, and humans in general, we’re constantly being told by others to act and look a certain way because it’s cool or normal, and sometimes it can be really hard to speak up and voice a totally different opinion. The beauty of clothes is that a killer outfit can do all the talking for you. Your style can allow you speak up without saying a word, and this is why what I wear means so much to me. And it’s not only about how you look. I love the way that I feel in my best outfits. Fashion lets me express different parts of myself and helps me figure out which parts feel authentic.

The confidence you get from clothes is different from the confidence you get from a good score on a test. When I wear something that I love, I feel 100% like myself. I feel this way when I lace up my patent leather oxfords or stack my favorite rings on my fingers. This winter, I took a trip to Los Angeles to do an internship with HelloGiggles. As you can imagine, the weeks leading up to the trip consisted of a LOT of hunting through my favorite stores. I wanted to find the perfect piece to personalize my “work” outfits, which were minimalist and mature. I tried on necklaces, jackets, glasses, and hats, and really liked some of them, but when I tried them on, I didn’t get the rush of excitement and empowerment that I feel when I put together a perfect outfit. There was just something that was missing.

After trying on pretty much everything from Topshop’s jewelry section, I was about to give up, and then a quirky flower crown caught my eye. I think a part of me knew right away that it was going to go to LA with me. I placed it on my head and it was like putting down the last piece of a puzzle. I felt complete; I felt happy and strong and careless and powerful; I felt like me!

This is the feeling I get when I know that a piece of clothing is just right. And I think that everyone should get to have that feeling. Everyone should know what it feels like to be honestly themselves, or to get a glimpse of who our best selves might be, especially when we don’t really know who we are yet. Clothes can be a powerful tool for figuring it out.

I want everyone who doesn’t feel like they have a voice, to find a voice through their style. I want everyone who feels a little lost, to be able to discover a part of themselves when they try on clothes they love. I want everyone to experience the power that comes from loving how you look, and not because you look like a model, or an actress, or the way a magazine told you should look this season. For me, fashion has been a comfort and a challenge, a source of inspiration and empowerment, and a method for self-expression and discovery and I want to share that with YOU!

My fashion column, The Style File, will be running every month on HelloGiggles Teen. If you have any questions or topics you want me to cover, style-wise, please contact me!

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