Thirteen-Years-Old: Rediscovering My Teen Fashion

Last week, while driving through Virginia on my way down South, I caught The Graffiti of War on American Public Media’s The Story. In one segment, Anita Woodley shared that while growing up she wanted to be Oprah. Eventually Woodley realized she needed to be herself and “created who [she] was in eight grade.”

That got me thinking. How often do we all spend trying to be other people when it comes to what we wear? And, more importantly, what implications does that have for the other parts of our selves?

When I shop, I find myself stumbling upon certain styles of clothes and think, “I liked this in 8th grade.” I pass it by because that’s not “me” anymore. But why? Is there something innately wrong with returning to a previous fashion sense? Do we have to leave our former fashion selves behind?

This weekend, I decided to try to remember what I wore when I was thirteen. I wore a pair of American Eagle Artist Jeans, now too big and covered in paint. This style and cut was my favorite for years. I paired it with a spaghetti strap tank top over a black tank top. I felt comfortable and unconcerned over whether layering made me look wider. I threw on a pair of flip flops and went.

The way things used to be.

About Courtney Mirenzi

Courtney Mirenzi is the voice behind Those Graces. She has been named one of the 50 Most Fashionable People in Boston, one of The Boston Globe's Top Bloggers and favorite human of one of her cats. She loves red lipstick, hiking and traveling. (Find out more.)


  1. Interesting post. I think maybe as we get older we feel pressured from society to dress and look a certain way. Maybe its not that your tastes have changed so much but creativity through how we dress ourselves is discouraged as we get older. We aren’t encouraged to be individual, but rather act and dress like an “adult”.

    I think its great going back to an old style and shaping it to fit who we are now. I have a few things from highschool in my closet that I still love and I wear them in a different way now.

    • I definitely agree–I do often feel pressure to wear certain styles or brands and I just don’t care to! I think we should all dig into our past and pull out things that made us happy. if it’s layering tank tops, then, by George, I’m going to layer ‘em!

  2. I think when we return to our roots is when we grow the most. My best outfits are homages to my younger self- especially when I was a kid. My love of red, white and blue stem from my 12 year old obsession with the bi-centennial and it’s patriotic color pallette. I wore Ben Franklin glasses for years, and to this day, I can always feel the joy of loving the world like a 12 year old whenever I wear this color combo.

    Exploring our former selves is a great way to discover new aspects of our present one.

    • That’s a wonderful point that I don’t think I realized before this week. Sometimes it’s good to remember who we were before!

      I love that you wore Ben Franklin glasses :)!

  3. Minus my affection for scrunchies back in the day I still like to revisit my old self and happy to see you did here too. It’s very relaxed and classic. Pretty. Such a sweet post. There is nothing wrong with looking back, if we can learn anything from fashion it’s that there is so much rich history that returns in a modern way. Although your style seems to be pretty timeless.

  4. What a sweet post, Courtney!! I love this because what you chose is so classic. Maybe your style is more timeless than you realized. :)


  5. eloiseinny says:

    I love this post, I was good about following my own sense of style. Used things as inspiration. As I look back it was pretty wild but I eventually found the perfect balance. I remember my favorite things were a pair of flair leg jeans with butterfly’s stitched into it and and over sized tee ( I usually stole from my dad) or just a tank top.

  6. Awesome post and you are soo right! There isn’t anything wrong with going back to what was always timeless for you! In the eigth grade I was a straight tonboy where Jeans, oversized T-shirts, and Reeboks were my best friends. Now that I’m older I definitely have much more love for fashion and it’s trends, but those same three things I can never give up! I still have tons of jeans and t-shirts and make sure I always have a pair of Reeboks in my closet!

    • So right MJ! I think I just have to give in and accept that it’s OK to wear what I wore when I was 13.

      It’s so funny how brand loyalty works–we get hooked on certain products and never let go.

  7. PowerFemme says:

    There is nothing wrong with “going back” to an old style in my opinion. Though our tastes evolve, I don’t think a statement such as “That isn’t me anymore” is wholly accurate. You are always “you” and our past decisions and preference have lead us to our current ones, fashion included :) After two years of striving to look professional as a graduate student and future academic, I do find myself itching to get back to my riot grrrl, funky fashion roots. I find myself ditching floral print and picking up more and more leopard print, black eyeliner, and bright colors. Only this time I hope to rock it with a little more class and sophistication than I did when I was 15 haha.

    • Very true–I agree with you! I think my style tastes have evolved so much that I no longer feel like I can wear what I used to, however, that’s not right!

      I think you can definitely find a way to rock leopard print and still be classy :)

  8. The style you’re wearing in that picture is timeless–very Jennifer Aniston which is funny because the post is about not being anyone else, but that’s what it reminds of and we all know Jen has amazing style so that’s ok! If I wear what I did when I was 13 it would be hot pink skinny jeans paired with a hot pink mesh top over a tank top and accessorized by a wide WHITE leather belt and probably jelly shoes (it was the 80s). I don’t think I’ll go there again :)

    • I never thought about it that way! Maybe I had classic style at that age, albeit sometimes it’s kind of boring.

      I wore the jelly shoes too! Luckily I was spared the trends of the 80s for the ones of the 90s.


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