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Aesthetics drive clothing choices

Aesthetics drive clothing choices

Aesthetics have been emphasized since the 18th century and had mainly applied to grand projects such as buildings, architecture, and art pieces. Now, about four years ago in 2019, aesthetics have become a big trend that hasn’t died out yet. 

Today in pop culture, they currently act as guides to one’s personal style, way of living, or an overall vibe about themselves.

“The word aesthetic means art and or expression of myself or items by physical means or even mannerisms,” Junior Elise Cheatham said.

Cheatham was far into her Tiktok phase when she discovered and became inspired by the numerous aesthetics displayed and popularized on the platform. 

“It opened a whole new world of what ‘fashion’ meant to me,” Cheatham said. “I’ve participated in most aesthetics in order to find the one that suits me and makes me happy.”

Senior Ayanna Price doesn’t constrict herself to just one aesthetic. Her day-to-day aesthetic revolves around what she feels that day, and she makes sure her clothing expresses that. 

“It really reflects how I’m feeling on a day to day basis,” Price said. “If I’m feeling like I’m a little sad, I’m a little mad, a little angry, I’d pull something a little darker.”

Cheatham is another example of someone who doesn’t find herself putting her style into one box. She often pulls different items from popular aesthetics and incorporates them to make her own. 

I’ve gone all the way from cyber y2k to coquette and everything in between,” she said. “I’m not quite sure what specific category it fits into, but I know it would group somewhere between/into the cyber y2k and coquette styles.”

However, many people don’t just gain a sense of style out of nowhere. It may take weeks, months, or even years to acquire the ability to present oneself as a well-dressed individual, and oftentimes there’s a catalyst to it all. 

“I really started getting into my style, I’d say in seventh grade or eighth grade. It was really the shoes,” Junior Bryce Peters said. “The shoes really throw your whole fit on. If you have on good shoes, then you really throw your whole fit on.”

For Price, during COVID-19, she finally had the time to put together outfits that she liked using what clothing pieces she already had while quarantining. 

“Probably around 8th grade is when I really started to care about what I was wearing,” she said. “I started to dress better and how I felt like how I wanted to dress instead of just what my mom bought me. I really had the time to put together outfits and what I felt like what I wanted to look like when I came back to school.”

Many people need help finding or figuring out what aesthetic they want or already have. So why not use social media platforms or different pieces of media? There are numerous ways to find inspiration for styles, outfits, and aesthetics that span across many different corners of the internet and pop culture, and that’s exactly what Cheatham used to find what she liked in the threads of her clothing. 

“I discovered my aesthetic on TikTok and [took] a lot of inspiration from movies like Mean Girls, so it’s all about identifying the things you love and embodying them all into one,” said Cheatham.

On the opposite side of the coin, some social media users feel that using their own aesthetic can give inspiration to others. Bryce Peters is one of these inspirers, however, he often worries about the threat of copycats. 

“Maybe they want to dress like me and maybe they might not. But, sometimes I do feel they want to dress like me,” he said. “I do think there are [copycats]. On Instagram, I do see people [copying me]. It depends on the way they put it.”

Alongside social media is the social advantage that comes with it, especially when one posts a picture of their outfit that gains numerous likes and shares. For Cheatham, she has always gotten positive feedback and compliments about her clothing and aesthetic. 

“It feels nice to be recognized and appreciated,” she said. “All the compliments I get are so delightful and are always from the most adorable and sweetest people.”

For Price, she has turned her likes off on her social media platforms to divert attention away from the numbers. Instead, she values compliments in person rather than online. 

“In person, when people compliment you, I feel like that’s more intimate, more personal,” she said. “I just don’t like social media like that.”

However, receiving compliments and attention shouldn’t make someone feel like they should wear something for the likes of someone else. Cheatham furthers the notion that you shouldn’t be afraid to wear what you want to wear. You should always wear what makes you feel comfortable and confident. 

“An ‘aesthetic’ is not only how you dress, but how you present and carry yourself,” she said. “Explore and find the things you love, and…incorporate all those lovely little aspects of yourself into everything you do.”

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