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Dress Your Friend Edition - Week 11


Dress Your Friend Edition - Week 11

Melissa Silva and Meilinda Sun


- Meilinda's Perspective -


I’m not a big fan of stimulating colors. In fact, practically everything in my closet is either pastel blue or pastel pink. I’ve sworn off maroon and avoid olive and beige at all costs. I haven’t worn pants in a month, and skirts, tights, knee-high socks, and high-heeled boots have become the daily grind in this uncharacteristically cold climate.

Melissa, The Prospector’s Flipside Editor, is my Journalism other half (quite literally, since the first four letters of our names are almost the same). Together, we are “front cover, back cover” and “m&ms”. While there are many characteristics which unite us, such as our love of fashion, our styles contrast immensely. Melissa’s style is edgy and fun, featuring bold lipstick and bright, colorful patterns; somehow, her outfits remain perfectly coordinated with her signature headband. Unlike her, I gravitate toward pastel colors, tights, dresses, collared shirts, and sweaters.

This week, we decided to dress each other for a day. To my initial horror, I was assigned to a maroon leather jacket, jeans, and fluffy boots - all Melissa’s closet staples. As someone who layers shirts over dresses, sweaters over shirts, and coats over sweaters, slipping on a pair of jeans and a black shirt in the morning seemed too good to be true.

There were several aspects of the whole transition process which seemed strange. I was instructed to wear earrings with small anchors on them (Melissa says they’re “fun”). Additionally, all of the boots I’ve ever worn have a small heel on the back and are decently comfortable, but when I slipped into deliciously soft boots, I realized that I was missing out on comfort in its purest form. I also adopted Melissa’s signature headband, which stubbornly slipped from my stick-straight hair. The final phase of my transformation into a bona-fide Melissa was lipstick. I applied several coats of my usual color.

“Is this dark enough?”
“Can you go darker?”

After overcoming my initial shock, I proceeded to apply several more coats. Eventually, my headband matched the color of my lips, which matched the color of the jacket. I had finally learned Melissa’s secret to color-coordination.  Many of my friends noticed my Melissa-sanctioned makeover.

“Nice jacket!”
“You have new hair!”
(I wasn’t actually gifted with a new set of hair, but I don’t usually tie it, and I certainly try to minimize my headband usage).
“You should wear jeans more often. They look nice!”

All the items Melissa had me wear were items on which I had long sworn off partially because I didn’t believe I could pull them off: jeans would never work on my legs, and my face was too round to look good with my hair up. I realized, however, that stepping out of my comfort zone and deviating from my daily fashion regimen was fun, and even eye-opening.

By the end of the day, I had endured eight hours of wearing the outfit of a girl who doesn’t know what oxfords are and doesn’t own a single pair of plain black tights. While I may never purchase my own leather jacket, Melissa owns her unique sense of style, and stepping into her shoes (and clothes) for a day helped me recognize the importance of acknowledging my insecurities head-on.

And the next day, I wore a skirt, a sweater, and tights… 

- Melissa's Perspective -

Never have I worn so many layers at once. I had a dress, a sweater, a scarf, and a heavy jacket. Add that on to the tights, knee high socks, and boots, and you have one hot person (interpret that however you may). 

I tend to wear jeans or leggings, usually accompanied by a simple shirt and matching, patterned accessories. Of course, my top priority is always a matching headband. With a winter wardrobe comprising mainly of reds, greens, and grays, my style is almost exactly the opposite of Meilinda’s.

I was excited to get Meilinda into some jeans for once, and even more thrilled to see her with a headband and her hair up. I barely gave any thought to what she would dress me in, though.

I can’t categorize Meilinda’s style into any one specific type. I usually see her with some interesting shoes (which I recently discovered are called “oxfords”), tights and/or knee high socks, and multiple layers on top, usually consisting of a shirt, a cardigan, a scarf, and some sort of coat. And who could forget the pearl earrings? I guess I could call it “retro-preppy” with extreme layering. I admire her for creating that very unique style and for pulling it off to the extent that I never questioned how it would work on anyone else. 

When she handed me the bag filled to the brim with clothes, I had to carefully analyze in what order to put each clothing article on. 

“So does the cardigan go on top of the dress?”
“Where else would it go?”
“And what’s this pink thing? Oh.”

By the time I figured it out, Meilinda was done changing. 

I immediately started to feel the heat. During my first class, I probably turned as pink as the scarf I was wearing. I gradually began to remove layer after layer, first the coat, then the scarf. I don’t know how she manages to make it through every day with that mountain of clothes on her...

Many people commented on my outfit, generally saying it looked cute. I’m sure they noticed the sudden change in style, but no one was able to immediately place whose outfit it was. In one instance, when a classmate, also on The Prospector staff, was unable to recognize the outfit, it took a simple Meilinda-like pose (holding the skirt and perkily going “HELLO”) to get him to identify it. 

I was also met with many confused, judgemental looks, along with comments like “What the preppy?” Once I told people I was dressing like Meilinda, though, they got it.

Perhaps the most painful part of the day was having to manage my hair, which I never let down completely. While Meilinda has slick, straight hair, my naturally curly hair, which I often straighten, is textured and poofy. There’s a reason I always wear a headband. I had a backup one (as always, because preparation is key in times of desperation), but I remained strong the entire day and resisted the urge, the NEED to put that headband on. I was self conscious of the growing poofiness of my hair, so I cheated every now and then and put my hair up in a quick ponytail or bun. 

Being Meilinda for a day was interesting and fun. It forced me to step out of my comfort zone in terms of how I present myself, from head to toe. The pearl earrings made me feel more elegant, while the bright pink scarf on the pastel blue cardigan made me feel slightly uncoordinated. As someone who feels more comfortable with color coordination, that combination was definitely something I would not have tried myself. 

I was glad to be back in my own clothes at the end of the day. Not that I don’t like Meilinda’s style -- it just doesn’t feel like me. Switching outfits really helped me realize how important my style is to me, just as I’m sure Meilinda’s is to her. My style is my identity (quite literally, as I have been referred to multiple times as “headband girl”), and assuming someone else’s style for a day felt strange. So back to my pants, fun earrings, and dear, dear headbands...