What I'm Afraid to Wear


I'll be the first to admit this: I've purchased some pieces that have gone unworn. I never wanted to return any of these clothes since I bought the pieces, because I liked them — or at least the idea of them. So now they're just sitting in my closet with the tags on, waiting to be styled. I feel pretty guilty about these pieces, as they remind me of how I am afraid to step outside of my comfort zone.

Despite being involved in Garb, since coming to Berkeley, I’ve let part of my personal style go. When wearing black skinny jeans instead of leggings is called “trying,” I wonder if I’ve just changed my personal style to be more relaxed. However, when I stare at my unworn dresses and bright florals, it’s hard to deny that I’m only lying to myself. I wish I dressed more like myself… this talkative personal lookbook is my attempt at doing that.

Anything Yellow

This was actually a find at Garb’s very own pop-up sale! Once the “$1 for anything” sale began, it almost seemed wrong not to pick something up for myself. This yellow dress reminded of a tasteful vintage wallpaper, and it was only $1! As I placed it in my color-coded closet (after washing it), I realized it was the only yellow piece that I owned. Oh right, I don’t wear yellow because I am yellow!! All my life I’ve been told that yellow washes my skin out or makes me look more yellow — when I really should try to look more white. I still feel restricted by these outdated cultural norms that would never dare to be spoken today.

Flowy Statement Pants

This piece is nothing new to Garb’s scene. In fact, Elizabeth wrote an entire article about them! When I saw this pair on the rack with my mom at Macy’s (a classic mother-daughter store), the Japanese-inspired print drew me in. The hems dragged on the floor, but since I’m on the taller side, I justified its purchase. The variety of colors on the pants allows for a lot of options for solid colored tops, but it also hints that the pants belonged to a set. With that mindset, any top that I tried on looked off to me. Maybe I was overthinking it? Either way, I couldn’t seem to walk out the door.

Chiffon Midi-dress

I bought this impulsively at an Opening Ceremony clearance sale in New York. The cute, animated print reminded me of an innocent coloring book. My friend said that it looked amazing on me and that she could never pull the dress off herself. I did a twirl, tilted my head, and asked one of those, “aw really you think so?” rhetorical questions. I knew how impractical the dress was when I bought it — dry clean only, unprofessional, even childish — but it was a happy purchase, and it reminds me of my long distance friend on the East Coast. I now realize, I rarely wear things to make myself happy anymore.

I’ve actually been struggling with this monologue of mine for well over a year now. I’ve started to lose my confidence as a Garb writer and thought less of my own style. I used to plan my outfits out the night before, now I rush out the door in something and just make sure it doesn't clash. It’s sad to think that the way I dress has taken a backseat to my other priorities — but I hope that this article can keep me accountable and help you dig out those special unworn clothes. Stay true to your style <3

Words by Alice Zhao

Photography by Lena Zhou