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How Adopting An Adult Uniform Has Helped Me Grow Up

Carey Mulligan An Education

An Education (2009)

The holidays are often a time for reflection and self-evaluation. Thanksgiving rapidly becomes Christmas and immediately after that, the thrill of the New Year takes over. We look back and wonder at how we’ve grown and changed. We measure our current selves against the ones we remember from this time last year with the hopes that we have become smarter, cooler, more attractive, more successful versions of ourselves. Usually during this reflection I find that my hair looks a little better and maybe I feel a littler wiser but often times there never seems to be any really tangible, easily articulable evidence of growth…until this year.

There are many different ways to track growth and maturation in your life. Perhaps the meals you choose to eat on a daily basis; perhaps going from cereal for every meal to cereal only for breakfast, and maybe a homemade salad with salmon for dinner, is a big change. Or moving from splitting the cost of rent with your parents to being able to pay for our rent and your students loans independently–huge steps up the metaphysical latter of life toward becoming a functioning adult member of society.

For me, how my personal style has evolved over the last year is in many ways a resolute indicator of how I’ve grown and changed, especially for this past year.

Grade school and middle school saw me in a set uniform consisting of a white polo shirt, a red sweater vest and plaid pleated skirt. High school wasn’t all that much better with staunch dress code rules in place that usually allowed for little more than a pair of boot cut jeans and a solid cardigan.

So upon reaching college, I rebelled against any semblance of a uniform as it reminded me of a time in my life that I was fully ready to say goodbye to. I experimented with colors and patterns. I developed a penchant for layering, often creating complicated, over-the-top outfits. I wore lots of dresses and skirts. I changed my style on the daily, not really having any solid understanding of what I really wanted to relay through my sartorial choices other than the fact that I was a completely different person from the girl in the ill-fitting jeans in high school.

You can reach this post's author, Tara Dalbow, on twitter.
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  • Lindsey Conklin

    I can totally relate to this; beautifully written!

  • conradshull

    “Everyone in this room is wearing a uniform and don’t kid yourselves about it” – Frank Zappa