Fashion Advice Lookbook

Fashion helped revamp my confidence and became my main source of expression

Senior year is the year that every high school student looks forward to. Celebrations and fun adventures occur as we approach graduation and go out into what adults say “the real world”. But for me, this experience was different. The second semester of my senior year was when I realized I wasn’t myself. The majority of March, in particular, was when I started to feel a shift in my personality. I was constantly stressed with school, trying to figure out what college I would commit to, and I basically withdrew from my group of friends. I was starting to feel unhappy and unsatisfied with myself and how my life was going. Because of this, I started to lack in self-confidence.

For a long time, I cared about what people thought about me. I would think to myself: “Does he/she think I’m annoying?” “Am I too quiet?” “I probably shouldn’t have said that.” I was also trying to impress my teachers with my school work, club sponsors with my leadership, and colleges with my applications. If I did something wrong, I would blame myself right away. This constant overthinking wasn’t good for my mental health. One thing led to another and I felt alone and stuck. I was at my lowest breaking point. I even started to have thoughts that I knew could have hurt me. 

Instead, I turned to the creative, innovating nature of fashion.

Fashion was something that I was once interested in when I was younger. My dad gave me a fashion sketchbook when I was 13 after hearing I wanted to be a fashion designer at the time. I would sketch different designs that came into mind and put them on paper. I around that same time, I would look at the outfit that I chose the night before school the next day. I just knew that one specific outfit would make me feel more confident. After all, my mom always said: “dress to impress”. I would stand in my closet doorway and ponder. But, I would always change into a completely different outfit out of fear of what others would say about what I was wearing. But then I realized that I had to start putting myself first before others. 

Now as a young woman, I take my inspirations from my sketchbook and wear it out. By that, I put on a bunch of nice and fashionable clothes, sometimes even wear makeup and make myself look and feel good. I would spend almost an hour figuring out what outfit I would like to wear and ended up embracing myself. 

Most of the time when I dressed up I was bored, but honestly, it made me feel like I could take on the world. I would look through my closet and without any hesitation, I would pick an outfit that I think best suits me. I found out what colors look best on me, what hijab materials were my favorite, and what kind of style I like.

I would take a bunch of selfies, some of them with the biggest smiles on my face. I truly felt happy in my own presence.

After this, I started to care less about what people thought of me. I would wear whatever made me look and feel good without having second thoughts. Many people would compliment me saying that I looked beautiful and nice in a particular outfit. Slowly, I was starting to regain my confidence again.

My advice for those who are trying to gain confidence within a creative hub is to find out what gets you out of your comfort zone. If it’s fashion and makeup, look for different styles and concepts that you like. Follow our own trend. In the end, you will truly feel like yourself. I would also like to mention again to put yourself first before others. It might sound selfish, but if you put others first, then it just creates negativity. Put the focus on yourself. 

Fashion not only become a coping mechanism but a new hobby as well. It has taught me how to love myself again both inside and out and to express my individuality. Not only that, but I learned more about myself through this outlet. For example, I look for modest clothing styles on Pinterest and Abayatopia to get inspired on what I would wear on a future occasion. I discovered that people like Daniela M Biah, Dina Tokio, and Meghan Markle were my fashion inspirations. And how aesthetics can play into fashion and how they can define you. I am forever grateful for how fashion has played a huge role in my life and has helped me healed through times.

By Aisha Sowe

Aisha Sowe is a high school senior from Maryland who writes for her school newspaper The Current. Writing is one of her biggest passions as she finds opportunities voice on equality, world issues, and culture. Aisha plans to attend college and major in International Studies