tl;dr: Freedom is dressing inappropriately for the occasion
There was a certain freedom that came with jumping into chilly ocean water in 60 degree weather, wearing a sports bra and my favorite pair of jeans that was painfully exfoliating my legs with the ridiculous amount of sand that had gotten into them.
As cliché as it is, I laughed out loud because I felt unrestrained by the norms of society and independent of my previous plans. My “sports bra” was honestly just a slutty top I’d bought to go clubbing; I’d gotten my one-size-too-big boyfriend jeans for trying hard on city streets and for lazy days at college. I had serendipitously discovered the belt in my mom’s old suitcase of abandoned items from the 80s.
Splashing about in salt water had never been part of the expected use of any of these items. Despite my physical discomfort, I wasn’t thinking about the hassle of lugging my wet jeans home. There wasn’t any attention to be sought as I stood quite alone on an endless shore. It was all about the overwhelming, relentless crashing of the waves and feeling a bit like a lost child of the ocean, abandoning the restrictions of the city for my love of the cold, stinging salt water.
Despite being just a small inconvenient choice during a vacation, my experience made me think about what fashion means to me: I’ve never considered clothing to be utilitarian. A lot of fashion’s appeal has always been the concept of creativity transcending the dullness of daily life, of resembling reality without being hindered by it.
I am young and still developing the relationship between my self and my style, but I think that abandoning both practical and societal norms is something that now and in the future will make me feel like myself, or at least the person I want to be.