Ted Pasquette ’24 (He/Him)
Fashion Club is a group on Davidson’s campus where confidence is your best outfit. My fashion journey has been far from linear: it started with the preppy outfits imposed upon me by my parents and then traversed into the casual athletic items that I would amass in my closet in high school. I now find myself still occasionally wearing these same elements, but I gravitate more to my business casual attire. Wearing a smooth turtleneck combined with sleek plaid pants, matching loafers, and a belt to complement the clothing items always make me feel like I’m walking on air. I have a diverse sense of style; I love rocking my casual fits, but when it comes down to it, I will show out with my business casual attire. Though it may seem as if this was all a positive experience for me, it was not so.
One factor that carries a large weight in how we dress is our external environment: youth and young adults in particular might be more afraid of potential scrutiny. We often gossip about the appearances of others, especially how they are dressed. It is very easy to allow outside influences to dictate the way we dress ourselves. For this reason, it’s very important to distinguish positive influences from negative ones.
Negative influences often fall within the realm of critiques coming from others about your own personal style. These critiques might be so influential that individuals let them dictate how they dress. By letting these negative influences affect you, you give those critiques the ability to control your emotions. As a result, you decide to neglect your own personal style and start dressing similarly to your detractors, hoping they will no longer tear your personal well-being down. Fair enough; they do leave you alone, but you find yourself within a homogenous group that you personally don’t want to be a part of.
I fell down this hole myself. I had my individual sense of style that I enjoyed rocking every day, but I would get laughs or comments demeaning my choice of clothing. I heard remarks such as “What type of shoes are those?” or “Can’t you buy better clothes?” It made me feel like there was a right way to dress and I let those ideals limit my style. I decided to utilize more athletic gear and basketball shoes because those were the items that my peers wore. Although when I made the switch I did receive more positive comments, deep down from within me I knew I was wearing those items not because of my own desires, but because of the words of others. It wasn’t what I personally wanted.
In contrast, positive influences are those that capture your mind and allow you to incorporate different elements into your own personal fashion. Whether flipping through the pages of a magazine, scrolling through social media, or seeing someone from afar, you can find inspiration or personal joy based on the styles that catch your eye. You can either replicate those elements or raise their own personal fashion scope, but what matters most is that these style choices are ones that make you happy.
In response to these positive influences, I started wearing the clothes that I liked again. I didn’t want outside criticisms to change who I was and what I wanted to do. As my own person, I have control over my actions and how I go about them. As long as I’m happy with what I’m wearing, then that is all that matters.
In my junior year of high school, I took the initiative to create a Fashion Club with the help of my peers to reinforce the idea that self confidence is our best outfit. I wanted everyone to understand that they too should not let discouraging outside influences dictate the way they dress. I wanted to create a space where we can talk about fashion, what it means to us, and showcase our confidence to the outside world through our fashion.
Fortunately, I was able to bring Fashion Club to Davidson’s campus in the spring semester of 2021. We meet every Friday for Fashion Fridays, where members of the club dress up and come together to take pictures. Fashion Spotlights take place every Monday and Wednesday; one member of the club is highlighted on an Instagram post and they describe what fashion means to them. The club has a current running Instagram page under the name @davidson.fc. In a place as academically rigorous as Davidson, having an organization in which members can come out with positive energy and express themselves is well needed. I aspire for Fashion Club to continue to promote confidence and self-expression, and to hopefully impact others who may find themselves in the same place I was.
Ted Pasquette ‘24 (he/him/his) is a chemistry major from Miami, Florida. Ted can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.