When I was in middle school, my family moved to a new city. This would be my first of several “new kid” experiences in the coming years, and I would absolutely learn from my errors in judgment. I’ve probably taken it a little too far into caring about how I look every day, but I guess that’s only human.
So anyway, it was the first day of school with a gym period, and, as with my previous school, my parents let me wear any t-shirt and shorts that I wanted. What my parents had failed to realize, for whatever reason, was that like regular school days, gym class also had a uniform. I came from a school without uniforms, but was now, regrettably, attending one that did. So there I was, very easily spotted, the new kid, wearing some sort of fluorescent, leopard print, knee-length shorts and a neon t-shirt in a sea of navy blue shorts and light blue polo shirts. (I swear this is a true story)
This somewhat humiliating experience taught me three important style lessons that I still hold to today:
1. Check the dress before you go.
Whether you’re attending a black tie event or a uniform-required gym class, you want to know before you arrive. I think holding to the recommended type of dress is just good manners. The hosts of whatever event you’re attending are trying to create some sort of atmosphere, and as an invited guest you have two jobs: have fun and help the event go well. I’m not saying you should be prim and proper all the time, but try to bend your style to the party. Wear a tie if that’s appropriate, tuck your shirt in if needed, ditch the flip-flops, etc. Be a courteous guest.
2. Don’t go too bold your first time out.
There’s something to be said for a little flash and some outrageousness. However, maybe the first time with a new crowd isn’t the best time to try it out. I would recommend clothing on the tamer side to let your personality shine through. Then once people get to know who you are inside, play around with the outside. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and I think that that first impression should reflect who you are, not what you look like.
3. If you’re going to go bold, make sure it’s right.
I won’t belabor this point too much, but I would be willing to bet a lot of you were cringing just at the thought of my outfit before I even go to school that day. Not only did I go bold when I shouldn’t have, I went bold in an incredibly wrong way. My outfit was atrocious to begin with, let alone being out of uniform. If you want to make a statement with your outfit, make sure you nail it.
I’m fairly certain that a number of readers will think I’m overreacting and worry too much about what other people think. That may be true, but just remember that just this past weekend Lewis Hamilton was asked to leave Wimbledon solely because of the way he was dressed.