Finding My New York Groove

 Scott Hogan, Staff Writer

My relationship with clothing began in high school. Prior to that, I went to a Catholic school where I wore a green polo and khakis every day. The rest of my wardrobe was gleaned from bins of hands-me-downs that my family kept in the basement. Getting new clothes was a non-event for me. Everything had been picked out for my brother years before and all it took was a trip downstairs to grab a new pair of shorts or a t-shirt. However, when I finally had the freedom to go out and shop for myself, I started to develop my own personal style.

I grew up in San Francisco, a city that is known for its past hippy culture and eccentric residents. Many people I went to high school with or saw on the streets chose to rock a natural vibe looking more like farmers than high schoolers. Patagonia fleeces, hiking socks and Blundstone boots were staples in most of my friends’ closets. I found comfort in thrift stores with the worn-in camel jungle coats that gave off an iconic Jane Goodall vibe and second-hand light wash denim covered in dirt stains. I also gravitated towards vintage sweaters and flannels. My personal aesthetic was borderline grunge, but more put together than the messy ‘90s look. My closet was a sea of neutrals and earth tones with a good amount of denim thrown in.

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Photos by Echo Chen, Multimedia Editor

New York City, on the other hand, carries a very different vibe than San Francisco. New York is known for business, people wearing black and grey trench coats mimicking the sleek buildings they work in. However, New York has so many different niches of style and is extremely hard to label. When walking around NYU, so many different aesthetics pop out and it’s hard to pin a signature style to the school. Many of the people living in New York, and especially at NYU, were raised elsewhere, and bring popular styles and aesthetics from their hometown to the city. Back home, there was an extreme pressure to conform and not stick out, but in New York, personal aesthetics are celebrated, so I feel comfortable experimenting with fashion free of judgement.

Since moving to New York my style has changed and evolved. I went from wearing a lot of earth tones to wearing mostly black and experimenting with goth troupes in a very mellow sense. While looking back, it is clear that a lot of what I wore was informed by the environment I grew up in, but  I also hadn’t fully found my personal style yet. I wore the same pair of white converse every day and I never even thought about accessorizing outfits with anything other than jackets. I wasn’t comfortable enough to find my own style after the fear of judgement haunted my high school years. While now I am perfectly comfortable walking down the street in an outfit that may look like something a cartoon character would wear, just a year ago I would never have dreamt of it. New York didn’t change the way I dressed, but New York is an environment where I feel comfortable experimenting with fashion. When everyone around you has their own places to be and people to see, the anonymity of being a stranger made me realize that no one actually cares what you wear, it’s what makes you feel confident that’s important.

Email Scott Hogan about finding your New York groove at violetvision@nyunews.com

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