Dress to Express


Mill Stream Staff

When we were in elementary school, the images of “Mean Girls” and giant football players dressed in mini-skirts and letterman jackets embodied the high school experience. When we entered middle school, it shifted to tube tops, basketball shorts and the most tasteful fancy shirts that were ahead of us. When it was time for high school, the movies, tv shows, and everything in between weren’t entirely correct, but also not entirely wrong. 

We grew up in the constant shadow of early 2000’s movies with actors much older than high school in the most extreme high school outfits. This set a precedent in our young minds that high school was a place where everyone had to fit a certain mold. These films showed us that if we were a hair, string, or step out of line, it was the end of our whole image. A wrong shoe choice on the first day of freshman year would destroy the only chance we had in high school. To everyone who is currently thinking about, or soon to enter, high school, we can confirm that this is untrue. 

In past generations, it feels like everyone looked relatively the same. Save the few odd ones out, you couldn’t walk the hallway without seeing the same trend on every person who walked past. The trends from the ‘70s were deemed uncool in the ‘90s, and the same is true with the ‘80s in the 2000s. High school is no longer ridiculing a fellow student on their fashion choices, but instead, it is the embrace of individuality.

Our generation has faced many different worlds and experiences in our short time on the planet. While we might want to put it behind us, COVID was a thing, and in one way, the time we spent quarantined actually wasn’t as awful as everyone remembers. We were dealt an unfathomable hand and not once did we ever see our high school movies adapting to a pandemic. While the older generations might have begun to feel isolated during this time, our generation found an escape and turned to a seemingly simplistic past. 

Connections over social media opened our eyes to many different aspects of many different times in history. Quarantine sparked new ideas and new opportunities for people to tap into; nothing is off limits and everything can be brought back. 

There is currently more availability in fashion, and thrift stores are becoming a more positive trend in society. We are embracing the world around us and finding ways to find ourselves in the nostalgia. There are no longer rules that conform us to an established trend or mold. No longer is something only for one person or one set of people, fashion and individuality is universal. 

Our parents and older generations alike get to relive the moments that defined their high school years as we live through ours. No hate to early 2000s movies, as they were almost all flawless, but they only got it half-right. Fashion is essential to the high school experience, but it does not matter what you wear or how you wear it. There is no set style to our clothing. There is no set way to make a trend happen. At least here at Noblesville, there are no “mean girls” in skirts and no ridiculing of trends that are repeating. There is an openness and embracing of past trends that make us unique. We are the generation who creates our own meaning in the potluck of the past. Whether you find yourself longing to live out an ‘80s, ‘90s, or even ‘50s life, make yourself a trend. There is no cookie cutter mold to our generation — we embrace the beauty in the past and make it our future.