How Summit Teens Found New Avenues of Style Expression

Time alone enabled students the chance to improve their style and sense of self

Avery Ruhl, Staff Writer

The majority of students during the start of distance-learning during quarantine rolled out of bed each morning to stare at their classmates over small-boxes on Webex. Most likely sporting a pair of comfy PJs, student’s swapped out jeans for sweatpants, and blouses for sweaters. As the pandemic persisted, however, various teens began to gather inspiration for new means of self expression, especially through the avenue of fashion.

Since the pandemic began, some teens were able to spend time reflecting on themselves, and finding new avenues of self-expression. In a time period where individuals were confined to their rooms, new fashion trends erupted as teenagers shuffled through old clothes and browsed the internet for new on-trend pieces. 

Summit junior Irelan Ullman embraced her time in quarantine to find a style that she feels fits her best. Even after isolation, Ullman’s fashion sense continues to demonstrate her individuality.

“I found my sense of style by figuring out what I feel the happiest in,” Ullman said. “Recognizing insecurities and taking risks helped me develop my personal style.” 

While fashion is an avenue for individuals to feel comfortable in their own skin, the feeling of judgement from peers often impairs one’s ability to fully express themselves. Many teenagers feel as though they have to abide by fashion trends in order to fit in, instead of being unique. Students had all the time in the world to themselves that quarantine was something that students were thankful for. 

“I don’t feel like I can wear whatever I want without being judged,” said Summit senior Lilah Beck, “but I care more about wearing what I like than what other people think.” 

Beck’s style is alternative and she expresses it as “romantic goth.” 

As long, repetitive days continued, quarantine gave students the opportunity to think outside the box and get creative with the way they address themselves. They have done this by spending hours on social media and getting inspired by people around the world that accept who they are. It has opened many students’ eyes to the fact that it’s okay to be different. 

Summit sophomore Amelia Budz has experienced a growth in confidence throughout quarantine, and continues to develop her own unique style. Through media platforms such as TikTok, Budz gained inspiration from other fashionistas from around the globe.

“At the beginning of quarantine I was always worried about what others thought, but quarantine made me realize that everyone has their own insecurities and fashion is a way of embracing them,” said Budz.  

Online shopping has been one of the biggest outlets for many students. It allows students to try new things and to just have fun with it. Students from around the world have created many small companies that sell all different kinds of clothes. There’s so many different shops online that there will never be one where a student can’t find anything they like because it’s not their own style. While students create shops for others to shop at, it has developed a huge improvement in the fashion industry. As students were stuck in quarantine many of them turned to fashion as their outlet to be creative. 

“I have found many new boutiques and clothing stores online that fit my own sense of style,” said Ullman.

Summit sophomore Sam Stephens is a student who is always confident in what he wears, and is always looking “dripped” out. Quarantine gave Stephens the chance to gain that confidence he has now then he didn’t have before. 

“I think quarantine left me with a lot of time on my hands, so a main source of my entertainment was looking for clothes, shoes and outfits I found interesting or cool,” Stephens said. “I started ordering my clothes and figuring out what I like. Once you find what you like it is pretty easy to find lots of clothes.”

Fashion is the most unique way of showing others who you are. You can get a sense of who someone is just based on what they’re wearing. The fashion industry has made a large impact on teenage lives. A study done with Target states “Following your own fashion statements gives you a sense of free thinking and you tend to become more an independent thinker.”

Quarantine has made students feel more confident in the way they want to show themselves to other students. The mentality of wearing what you feel most happy in and not caring about what others think has inspired so many other students to do the same. Fashion is the best way of stepping outside your comfort zone and trying new things. 

“Before quarantine I wore mostly baggy clothes and very little makeup, now I treat getting ready for every day like an artistic ritual!” said Beck.