My Life hasn’t Changed Much, Except for Where it Has

Almost one year ago to the day, I went on photoshooting with a friend who I hadn’t seen in about 20 months. I actually wrote a paragraph about it in my previous post you can check out here. At the risk of sounding like 2015 me rather than the (theoretically) more mature 2019 me, it’s absolutely wild how much our lives change year-year.

A year ago, I dropped a friend off to the train station who I now barely have the opportunity to see or to talk with. A year later, this post will go live while I wait in the admissions office at WashU’s School of Medicine for my medical school interview day to begin. The day I dropped my friend off at the train station, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to even apply to WUSM because like 2015 me, 2018 me felt ready (to try again) to leave St. Louis and explore a new part the country. In the year since then, (I like to think that) I grew both mentally and emotionally to where I recognized St. Louis is my home and that staying here would be an amazing opportunity not everyone who’s been in my position has been able to have. I’d love nothing more than to continue learning here because a new goal of mine is to continue improving my home.

In the spirit of remembrance, today’s article will cover the outfit I wore a year ago to our photoshoot in Forest Park. To be honest, not much has changed about my sense of fashion in the past year. While I grew my hair out in 2019 to a length more appropriate for Harry Styles, I’ve since cut it back to the “usual” look. The jeans I’m wearing in these photos have blown out in the crotch, but I replaced them with an identical pair. My sweater’s elbows blew out as well, but I had patches added to them. My shoes now have creases and my jacket has a giant coffee/tea looking stain, and I’m not sure how it got there, but the underlying identity of my outfit and style remains unchanged.


This is my extremely basic outfit on most warmer fall days.

Extremely basic, yes, but supremely comfortable and warm. I love(d) this jacket when I bought it and wore it nonstop last fall and spring. Unfortunately, as I’ll go into detail in Part II of this piece, I’ve stopped buying new clothes from Gap which has made my relationship with this jacket awkward. On one hand, it’s my most commonly worn jacket this time of year due to its versatility and layering potential. On the other hand, Gap has been supportive and/or complicit in the Chinese Communist Party’s censorship of the Hong Kong situation and their imperialist expansion policies.

I’ve written about the ethics of fashion before and never hidden the fact that this is an inherently dirty industry.

both for our environment and our people, which adds complexity to my relationship with this hobby. This has manifested as a slow decline in my excitement towards buying clothes and frequently going to the mall like I used to. Returning more specifically to Gap, I was unaware of their subservient relationship to the CCP when I bought that jacket last fall. I actually had no idea of how deeply entrenched many Western corporations and China were until the protests for just ruling of Hong Kong became popularized this past summer.

The second part of this article regarding my feelings towards this ethical dilemma and a parallel situation I found can be accessed here once the link goes live. My editor is still looking through it right now so the piece won’t be uploaded until tomorrow unfortunately, but keep in touch because it’ll be up soon!

Part of the reason I love this sweater and wear it so frequently is because it’s made of 100% wool. Many brands are transitioning to wool/cotton/synthetic blends as a cost-cutting measure, which has made it difficult to find sweaters like this. As I’ve mentioned before, I bought this second hand for $80ish which is the only reason I could afford it. I haven’t bought any new sweaters in the past year for this very reason: I can’t find any non-blend sweaters for an affordable price. 

Conversely, I’ve been burning through jeans over the past 4 years like there’s no tomorrow.

Within 6ish months of buying a new pair of jeans, the first seams start fraying and within a year the inseam blows out. Since starting university in fall 2016, I’ve ripped 5 pairs of jeans through the wear and tear. It’s happened regardless of brand, fit, or type: my slim fit raw denim from Rogue Territory, skinny stretch jeans from Gap (x2), skinny fit 100% cotton from Acne, and looser fits from Levis have all shredded recently. Clearly adding spandex for stretch isn’t saving them nor is loosening the fit. If anyone has suggestions for affordable jeans that survive walking 3-5 miles in, I’m totally open because I just shredded a pair I bought last year. 

Like I mentioned earlier I’ve bought my last three pairs of jeans from Levis instead of Gap because I’m not a fan of the latter anymore. So far I’ve been impressed by their fit and construction, but it does vary from pair to pair. You really do have to try on 3-4 pairs of the same size because they all seem to vary based on where they were constructed. I’m not under any false illusion that Levis is any ethically cleaner than Gap, but with my record of ruining pants within a year of buying them, I’ve been hesitant to buy another pair of ethically sourced jeans (like my Rogue Territories).

So we end up now at the sneakers. These are my new go-to pair. I like to think I bought them at the end of spring 2018 before they blew up in popularity, but I never published the photoshoot I did in them so technically there’s no proof of that. Just like my old Stan Smiths, they’re incredibly versatile and go with my light wash or indigo jeans and my various chinos. There’s a good choice for wearing when it’s drizzling slightly and I don’t want to wear my full rain boots. I hardly wore them in 2018 and the first part of 2019 in order to keep them fresh, but lately I’ve said screw that and started beating them down. With white sneakers, I definitely feel that adds to the aesthetic. 

It’s Thanksgiving today, which often feels like our forgotten holiday sandwiched in between Halloween and Christmas. When I was younger (like a freshman in college), I used to think of three things I am grateful for every morning and evening in order to keep myself going through a difficult transition. I haven’t done that in a while, but I’ll be a bit more open (apparently I should improve this according to some of my friends) and a few things I am honestly thankful right now. 

Number 1: I get to go to school and learn every day of the week. 

Number 2: There are people who believe in my vision. 

Number 3: My mom still takes care of me : )  

I’ll see you all next month, readers! 

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