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SARA, SHE / HER

TRIGGER WARNING: Eating disorder thoughts and behavioral content.

Weight gain and loss have always been a problem for me. I had anorexia and bulimia in highschool and always had some dysmorphic view of the way I looked. Recently I've stopped taking my regular dosage of adderall and quit smoking cigarettes. With that being said I've gained some weight. It's taken me some time to appreciate it. Now I believe I am supposed to look the way I do and I'm okay with it. I like being different and trying new things. As long as I feel good in what I wear I feel empowered. It shows too. You always look better when your confidence shines.

WHAT DOES DRESS. CODE. MEAN TO YOU?

A new, stronger form of empowerment. It really made me reflect on so many aspects of myself, in ways that I never thought about to begin with. For a long time I worried about what people thought of me. It wasn’t until maybe this last year and a half that I found the strength within myself to see past the “ideal skinny girl”, or the person who tries to tone down their makeup. This project made me think about that everyday. I would realize that I was meeting a group of friends and wearing a certain outfit to meet with them, I would then change my mind and say “you know what I'm going to wear colors today”. No matter what, those friends still loved me. I took a lot from this project. I’m really happy about what it did for me. I'm really thankful to be a part of it.

IN WHAT WAYS HAVE YOU BEEN SCRUTINIZED?

I think whenever I'm in more conservative situations. Sometimes when I'm around certain family members. Other times it's when I'm at a rock show and I’m one of the very few ethnic people in the group. I think it has to do with being ethnic with tattoos as well. There's a lot for someone to immediately judge without even speaking.

HOW IMPORTANT IS STYLING TO YOUR IDENTITY?

It's so important. I learned throughout this process that sometimes I deviate from those things, but I love when I do style myself towards my true identity, my personality really comes through.

WHAT WAS YOUR PROCESS IN TERMS OF STYLING YOURSELF?

I think when it came to styling myself in terms of the way other people would rather view me, that was easy. I think our whole lives we go in and out of phases where we feel we need to “ fit in”. The harder one was dressing myself the way I always wanted to and feeling good in it. I tried tons of different Ideas. It just took the right moment to make the outfit feel right, where I felt truly myself and confident.

WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT YOURSELF FROM THIS EXPERIENCE?

I didn’t think that I dressed differently around certain friends, but with this experience I learned that I did. It made me think about every aspect of my life and If I wanted to keep on dressing along the construct of my friend group. I’m now realizing I don’t have to do that.