This photo is from my Homecoming Dance senior year of high school. Although I had altered many of my formal dresses for other dances, this was the first dress I had made completely on my own. I was nervous that it wouldn’t turn out the way I wanted and that it wouldn’t be accepted by my friends who spent lots of money on store-bought dresses. Because of my uncommon proportions, fashion-forward taste, and low budget, I found it easier to design and create my own formalwear rather than spend hours shopping and still not find anything I truly loved.
The reactions I got for my dress were better than I expected. My simple sewing skills got me noticed, as they were interpreted by everyone else, who had no sewing knowledge, as advanced skills. I sent the message that I was not afraid to be a little bit different and people saw me as talented for having created something that they liked. I wouldn’t say this image was consistent with my identity so much as it helped me, as an insecure high school student, to develop my identity.