Fashion in High School: How Students Express Themselves

For many, fashion is a form of self-expression and an outlet for creativity. High school is a time for figuring out what teenagers want, finding where they fit, and discovering identity. At DHS, students’ individual style represents the diverse population.

Trends fluctuate and move with the seasons; what’s “in” one day may be “out” the next. Trends happening right now are shown on Instagram, Tiktok, Pinterest, and more. Many students will follow suit on what popular creators are wearing.

On the other hand, trends don’t always dictate the style students wear, and that’s what makes fashion so significant. It’s a platform for students to express themselves and show their interests. Trends can be expensive, and school dress codes can limit what students can wear. This brings up the debate on dress codes that DHS faced last year, which resulted in getting a new regulation on what students can wear so that they can wear what they want freely. 

Style is a podium for students to show their interests, such as wearing a jersey they like or a necklace with a music note. Students can DIY jewelry to wear or even match with their friends. Thrift stores have become popular in the past five years as a reliable way to get cute second-hand clothing or to find a hidden gem. Rings are very popular and in trend, some students can be seen with their hands covered in rings. This choice is a way for students to tell a story with something unique to themselves just with their hands. Students can wear rings passed down as a family heirloom or just an accessory they think is cute. With the ever-changing list of interests that students have, fashion is a great way to show what appeals to the pupils of Denmark.

Ms. Schultheiss, the teacher of the Fashion Career Path at DHS says that, “The majority of students seem pretty casual at school – sweatpants, hoodies, leggings, shorts.  I know there are some groups that express themselves via their fashion, but even my fashion classes are pretty casual.  I have noticed that they tend to express themselves more outside of school.” With prom coming up, Ms. Schulthesiss notices that upperclassmen enjoy talking about what they’re planning to wear. “My juniors and seniors have been discussing prom a lot lately, and I can see their styles come through with what they’re planning to wear.  They’ve also talked about going to concerts and what they plan to wear. They definitely plan to dress up more than they do at school.” As someone who knows fashion and teaches about it for a living, seeing students inside and outside of Denmark being acknowledged for their interests is important.

 While fashion at school can be casual, talking to friends about style and showing Pinterest boards and inspiration for outfits is a big part of expressing individual style. Planning outfits to wear at certain events is exciting, and then posting them on social media can be rewarding and an opportunity to show style. Clothing brands and modeling agencies are always looking on social media, so posting individual fashion can be used as an opportunity to grow if wanting to go into the industry.

Trends from the past seem to be coming back, which proves that fashion from older decades will always come back. Ms. Schultheiss jokes that, “Some of the styles of the 80s and 90s seem to be coming back.  I’m not sure if I’d say that I like the trend, though.  The style wasn’t great when I was in school.” Style is completely subjective, and what one person may like someone else might not.

Just like any other outlet for creativity or safe space, expressing personal fashion can be a personal hobby and a way to cope with the feelings that students might have. High school is a very challenging and stressful time, so having a creative outlet to indulge in is great for students, no matter what it is. Sophomore Julia King explains, “For me, fashion is a way to really be able to express my personality without doing much. It’s a way for me to be more unique and feel more like myself while accentuating my individuality. It’s also an outlet for me to connect with others as well.” DHS has a fashion club where students can meet friends that share a common interest, and connect with other students that have similar style.

At the end of the day, style is extremely subjective, and an important part of growing up and expressing oneself. Fashion is an integral part of high school culture, and the ever growing trends can influence how students dress.