I’ve always been a big fan of challenges – I’ve made reservations in a British accent, jumped from the beginning to the end of songs at parties and, last week, I completely changed my style for a day. Thought up by one of my closest friends on campus, McCormick freshman Barbara Garcia, this challenge seemed perfect for us: Wherever Barbara is masculine, I am feminine. Wherever I’m girly, she’s a tomboy.
Before taking on this challenge, Barbara and I met to discuss our styles and the worries we had. “I think makeup is going to be the worst part,” she said. The last time she wore makeup was at her “Brazilian quinceañera” – five years ago – where she overdid her look so much that she decided to never use makeup again. When talking about wearing my clothes, she jokingly said, “I think I’ve never seen myself with cleavage.”
We also reflected on how our own personal styles came to be. I’ve always been a very girly and feminine person, and learning how to do my own makeup and becoming interested in fashion was only an extension of that. Yet, Barbara said finding her own sense of style was more of a journey. “I think every woman goes through that phase of trying to wear what everyone else is wearing,” she said. “I tried to do that and it didn’t work out. [It was] only recently that I decided to wear what I really like and to find my own style within that.”
Finally ready to begin the challenge, we decided to do it in the fairest way possible. This meant exchanging the exact clothes we were wearing that day, so that we would not purposely exaggerate an outfit for the sake of the challenge. This meant that Barbara would wear my orange crop top and striped flowy pants and I would wear Barbara’s look – maroon bermudas, a floral button-down and a grey T-shirt. We also decided that I would forego wearing makeup for the day, while Barbara would put on the full face that I do on a daily basis.
The next day, the challenge began.
The first big change was felt immediately. Because I couldn’t put on my makeup, I had 30 more minutes of sleep. Besides the morning’s miscalculation and a few minor hiccups, nothing seemed that different to me. Although it was funny to see my friends’ reactions – one friend did not recognize me three times in a row during lunch – the day went by like a breeze. Sure, I felt more self-conscious than usual because wearing no makeup is extremely rare for me, but this challenge made me realize many people don’t wear makeup – and don’t really care if I do either. Although I still love it and will probably continue to wear it everyday, this challenge helped me put things like the importance of makeup into perspective.
I believe the same could be said about Barbara’s experience with the challenge. According to her, wearing makeup was completely out of her comfort zone and the most shocking part of the whole challenge. Besides that, Barbara agreed that changing her style was more comfortable and natural than she thought it would be. In fact, she even sent me a surprising text that day: “These pants are possibly the most comfortable things I’ve ever worn.”
Overall, the challenge was a success. It highlighted how fashion is an extension of one’s personality, but is also something that is fluid and adaptable. It showed me that fashion is fun and that I shouldn’t take matching clothes or wearing makeup so seriously. The truth is that although Barbara and I are complete opposites when it comes to most things in life, we can learn from and help each other be more accepting, open and even more stylish individuals.