A couple of weeks ago, I walked into a room filled with some of the most stylish women I’ve ever encountered.
I meandered around the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire, looking for the room in which I would talk to a class of middle school girls about writing Lawrence Laundry and Style Scout for the Lawrence Journal-World. I pressed my face up against the small square window in the door of room 212, and Hannah Hurst, the teacher of Style Rookies, motioned for me to come in.
The 10 or so middle-school-aged girls, all extremely well dressed, turned to greet me.
Most of the girls in Style Rookies are interested in pursuing fashion (writing, designing, consulting, etc.) as a career, and it became readily apparent that I would be talking to girls who probably knew more about fashion than I did. Very quickly, I realized that though I had come to tell them about my style-writing job and, more broadly, about my personal experience with fashion and style, I would be learning far more from them.
I answered questions about my favorite type of shoe (boots), my favorite store (too many to list) and my favorite Style Scout (either Chuck “Colonel” Benedict or Matthew Paige), but the topics these ladies brought up in conversation have far more lasting significance.
My three takeaways?
l DIY is alive and well.
OK, so maybe these girls didn’t teach me about the virtues of “do it yourself,” but they confirmed something that I had been hoping for: Creativity and imagination is still appealing and fulfilling for young folks.
While we are in the midst of the Pinterest phenomenon, it’s still wonderful to know that young women are thinking of and creating their own Halloween costumes, sewing and experimenting with their own clothes, and impressively manipulating broken pairs of wedge heels into adorable strappy sandals.
l Style begins and ends with attitude.
Most of the girls in this class were wearing at least one trending piece of clothing (i.e. colored jeans, neon shirt, floral pattern, vintage dress), but each of them styled their clothes in such perfect personality-fitting ways.
Style isn’t trends; it’s personality, and these women had it down. These ladies seemed to have such confidence in who they are as people and their preferred art form of fashion.
They are so confident, in fact, that they had some suggestions about my next Style Scout. One of the girls asked, “Have you ever style scouted a younger woman, like our age?” I answered that I hadn’t, but I suppose I should. One of them replied, giggling, “Well, I’m here every day.”
l If you’re going to pursue something, pursue it wholeheartedly.
These ladies live and breathe the art of style. Some of them are at the arts center every day engaging in their passion.
As young women, they’re striving to live out their desires as successful artists. They’re not sitting back, waiting for a fashion career to fall into their laps. They’re learning about it, taking classes on it and practicing it every day. They’re pursuing their passion wholeheartedly.
This, to me, was the greatest takeaway from my time spent with the Style Rookies. They’re having fun with their hobby, and truly chasing their dreams. You go, girls.
— Ali Edwards can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.