More than fashion: Aesthetics serve as a form of self-expression


Editing Antics: Creating art through digital media, senior Justin Manalang shows off his style. Manalang’s favorite aesthetic is Y2K, a retro, technologically inspired style. Photo courtesy of Justin Manalang.

Dani Carr and Ivette Dimitrova

The word ‘aesthetic’ can be defined and looked at in many contrasting ways. Its basic dictionary definition denotes it as something correlating with beauty and its appreciation. However, for others, like sophomore Natalie Brady, it is much more, and can be used to strengthen their self-identity.

Brady said that an aesthetic can be viewed as a trend, pattern or a creative look that embodies something– whether that be a mood, person, place or idea. For Brady, her clothing and accessories are not just cloth and metal, but an avenue to express herself.

“Aesthetics form a part of my identity because I use them as self-expression,” Brady said. “I love to share, talk and hear what others think my aesthetic is. It’s a great way to visualize your emotions.”

When displaying an aesthetic, finding something that inspires you or exhibits your natural image, will set you apart from everybody else, junior Sita Kharel, co-editor of Stitched fashion magazine club said. However, she added that this is made difficult with rapid trend cycles and fast fashion.

“I love vintage and retro brands,” Kharel said. “I also love brands that are not from the U.S., are older and much more obscure,” Kharel said. “I like clothing pieces that I’m not able to find mass produced, but that are one of a kind and maybe even dead stock. This type of distinctiveness allows me to, personally, curate my wardrobe into something that works for me.”

There are various aesthetics, and while one person may find that they love light academia, others may find belonging in the punk rock style of the 70s, senior Justin Manalang said. One of Manalang’s favorite aesthetics, Y2K, a retro, technologically inspired style, which was popularized in the 2000s by pop stars such as Britney Spears and girl group Destiny’s Child.

“I am currently obsessed with Y2K and cyber punk from the 2000s just because I think that the photos and photoshoots from then were so cool,” Manalang said. “They used some super tacky stickers, bright colors and sparkle effects that surrounded their subjects, which I am super into.”

Despite one’s specific aesthetic, comfort and confidence are key when styling clothes, according to junior Tania Faraj, co-editor of Stitched fashion magazine club. She believes that the clothing a person wears isn’t supposed to be what defines them.

“Trends come and go, but comfort and confidence is so important,” Faraj said. “Fashion is all about self- expression, so having a sense of individuality is very valuable. It’s less about the clothes you wear and it’s more about how you embody them.”