Fashion restores self-confidence

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A portrait of Ruby McCallum ’17 by Katerina Papanikolopoulos ’17.

Ruby McCallum, Contributing Writer

Clothing is a lifeline for me. As I was treading through depression last summer and fall and felt too viscerally tired to do anything at all, I hopped on my bike and toured the vintage shops and used clothing stores of my South Minneapolis neighborhood. Nothing distracted me more while simultaneously making me more present than working through racks and racks of thrift clothes.

Shopping second-hand is hunting for something that sparks my soul. At all times, you’re a second away from finding a piece of clothing that lets you wear who you are. It is so exciting; it’s like finding your long lost babies, who you’d completely forgotten about and weren’t even sure existed. There were days when I couldn’t leave my room, but having an amazing 1970s waffle one-piece covered in blue flowers that I got for $6 that I could style kept something in my heart alive.

My collection of clothing gives me pride. Every piece is unique and every piece connected with me for some reason or another. Affordability, and not feeding the corporate machine, gives me pride. And walking the halls dressed as a do, amongst brand names, collars, Lily Pulitzer and undeniably expensive clothing, gives me pride. Two summers ago, while on a yard sale tour via scooter, a beautiful velvet and taffeta gown was waiting for me in a garage. The price? $1.00. I wore it to the Junior Prom.

Clothing is my art therapy and it’s my way of showing love for my body. Wearing only second-hand clothing is a way to feel connected to others, as there has been life and energy in them before. Fashion doesn’t exist for me, neither does style, my clothing not for appeal, or aesthetic, but is a form of energy, comfort and self-love.