Jerusha Pimentel – Columnist
“Why are you so dressed up?”
I hate this question. It would certainly be an understandable inquiry if I was actually dressed up, but more often than not, it is directed toward me on an average weekday, in between classes, and always by some perplexed person wearing a hoodie, jeans and a t-shirt. I always want to reply, “I’m not dressed up…I’m just dressed,” but I usually just smile or laugh or try to come up with some quick answer, feeling odd that I have to defend myself. This honestly happens to me all the time.
Now, I understand I do not attend one of the most fashion-conscious schools in the nation. The Midwest holds fame in many areas, but possessing a high-fashion culture is not one of them. I don’t say this as an insult, nor do I claim that there are no Midwesterners who dress stylishly—far from it! But I have noticed a distinct difference in people’s attitude towards my personal style, at least compared to back home.
I’ve collected innumerable responses over the past three years at Dordt—negative, positive, and all-around bizarre—beginning when I first stepped outside in a bright floral dress, a green poncho, and heels on the first day of Freshman year. Over the course of many outfits I’ve received some very rude comments: “My dad would never let me leave the house like that!” some very wonderful comments: “You remind me of a redheaded 70’s soul queen!” and I’ve also received some very strange comments: “You look like a flag!” Evidently, my style has not gone unnoticed.
Admittedly, it’s always been like this for me. I’ve held an inexplicable hunger and love for color from an early age, which was quickly incorporated with a quick-budding love for clothes. When I received my first sketchbook in the third grade, I took no time in filling each page with carefully drawn “models”, labeling their outfits and even the material I imagined them in. When I was in the sixth grade I was convinced I was going to be a fashion designer, and, to prepare myself, I’d wake up at five-thirty every morning to watch the early fashion runway shows on the Style network, clutching my sketchbook in hand while furiously taking notes from the breathtaking designer collections I’d see.
Now, I highly doubt I’ll be able to convert each reader of this column into an avid believer in style and fashion, but I do hope to at least persuade him or her to think about clothing a little differently. For some, clothing is purely, or at least mainly, functional: it covers one’s body, protects one from the weather and sticking to plastic seats, and it keeps everything in place while running down the stairs. For others (like me), clothing is also a delightful form of artistic expression. It is a chance to decorate one’s self each day, viewing the body as an eager canvas and each article of clothing as a symbolic stroke of paint.
Sometimes when waking in the morning, I am instantly inspired and know exactly what to wear. On other days, I have to try on several outfits before finding “the one.” It’s not that I’m trying to impress anyone, because if anything, dressing like everyone else would actually make my life a little easier out here. But I like the idea of people seeing my aesthetic creations, as well as catching a glimpse of my personality just by looking at what I’m wearing.
And that, my friends, is why I’m “so dressed up.”