Evolution of Me: How My Fashion Sense and Self-Image Changed Over Time

Monday, 05 July 2010 10:28 Written by  Sydney Corryn

Tousled hair in a messy ponytail. Black or pink corsets that hugged my ribcage to death, barely covering my chest. Short rayon black skirts with chains and ripped black, pink or red fishnets exposing my knobby knees. No, this is not stripper wear—it was my daily attire in high school.


For almost four years, I decided to trade in my pink angel shirts for black band shirts; my jewelry no longer had hearts but skulls. My shoes were not clean; they were beaten up black Converse with song lyrics down the side.

My dramatic shift to the dark side began after my failed attempt in junior high to be accepted. I adored Reese Witherspoon’s chic pink closet in “Legally Blonde.” After a while, I no longer felt separation from the rest of my classmates and wanted a change. I added black and grim to the mix, giving a new meaning to “the white-black girl.”

In my teen years, I experienced teenage angst and rebellion and tried adjusting to my new broken home. Green Day and Avenged Sevenfold occupied my playlist, giving me more reason to change my wardrobe to fit into the punk rock scene.

I found no interest in investing in House of Dereon, Baby Phat or any other hip-hop clothing line because I would look like every other black person in the suburbs. I wouldn’t dare rock my pink Abercrombie shirt because clearly it was too clean cut and reminiscent of the other black kids who has assimilated into the suburbia look.

In high school, I found myself hanging out with the punk rock white kids and hippie black kids. So in reality, we were the black kids who were rejected by our OWN people for either: A) being too smart, B) being too different or C) not being “ghetto” enough. How can I be “hood” or speak “black language” known as Ebonics? That wasn’t me.

Punk rock doesn’t care if you’re poor, struggling in life or a reject. It doesn’t care if you fall; in fact, it embraces your mistakes. As I was in my punk rock stage, I studied the wardrobes of Courtney Love, Kate Hudson in “Almost Famous” and Japanese Gothic Lolitas. Long brown hippie coats covered my ripped jeans with fishnets in the fall and a worn army jacket swallowed my petite frame during the fierce Chicago winters.

Every day I wore black—literally the same black hoodie. There were about seven corsets in rotation and my black chucks were always the icing on the cake, even in the 20-degree below zero weather, and rainy storms that lasted for weeks.

However, my punk rock stage was just the outer reflection of the person on the inside. I was depressed, broken and insecure. I used black to cover up my shame and embarrassment of who I really was. I felt as though my life had no direction. I was lost in my own world of who I wanted to be, who I was and who I should be.

My senior year once again I got bored, failing to keep up in the punk music scene. All of a sudden screaming at the top of your lungs and singing about cutting your wrists no longer appeared fascinating or a sense of escape. My clothes no longer had rips, chains, lace and skulls; my shoes were actually clean, and fishnets don’t even enter my outfits. I needed something new, honest and refreshing.

That brings me to where I am today. My soundtrack includes a mixture of great artists, such as Lauryn Hill, Lupe Fiasco, Incubus and many others. I wanted to spread my wings and see how far I could fly. It’s a big world out there waiting for me to conquer it. Through my intense searching, I have found a middle ground in myself, my music and in my image. Now I strut my natural afro that brings out my inner beauty. My clothing is my strength and embodies the image of an artistic queen that is worldly and full of life.


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-Photography by GMO Photo Editor Billy Montgomery

Sydney Corryn

Sydney Corryn

Sydney Corryn is a recent graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a degree in journalism. Her interests range from socioeconomic problems, culture, traveling, dysfunctional political campaigns, and of course, Chicago's nightlife. She hopes to use her communication skills and passion for community issues to create a career for herself.  She will be teaching English in Chile for six months starting the end of June, 2012.

Sydney can be contacted at Sydney@glossmagazineonline or sydneycorryn0829@gmail.com.