From uniform to you-niform


Elise Hester poses in one of her signature looks. photo by Chloe Sonnier

On a break from college, my 10-year-old brother was shocked to find out that I have a “˜free dress day’ every day in college. The school that he attends, which I also attended from kindergarten to 12th grade, has uniforms. I rocked a classy look of plaid skirts with polo shirts for 14 years. (If you do the math, yes, there was an extra year in there. I regret nothing. It just meant more time to wear those awesome uniforms.) At one point I even wrote a poem called “Plaid Swag: An Ode to Alpha Omega.” Again, no regrets.

When I came to Trinity, it took some time to find my look. There is a lot of freedom here. I can wear whatever I want. No one cares if you can see my shoulders or if I’m wearing a hat. Spoiler alert: I wear hats. A lot. And you can see my shoulders “” on occasion “” if I am feeling wild.

In the few short years that I have had control over my clothing choices, I have grown as a woman, as an artist and as an icon. I also made a mixtape. That was weird. Then I did stand-up comedy. That was also weird, but again, I regret nothing. As the fashion voice of my generation, my clothes mostly come from either the very exclusive, a super chic boutique known as the children’s section at Target, or they were given to me for free.

In the winter, I like to wear jeans with boots, which I can get away with because I’m from the country. However, if you are from California, upstate New York or Plano and you try to wear cowboy boots, I will call you lame. In the winter I can often be seen wearing my Elsa beanie, complete with a built in blonde braid that makes me look like a gosh darn queen of ice and snow. I also always wear mittens in the winter because I am, of course, a fashion icon and gloves are classy as heck and also I am, of course, suffering from Raynaud’s disease and must at least try to keep my fingers from turning numb and purple.

The late, great “˜old’ Taylor Swift once said, “She wears short skirts, I wear t-shirts,” but I have discovered that those two articles of clothing are in no way mutually exclusive. After growing up in plaid skirts, I cannot stand pants in the warmer months. Pants are way too warm and take way too long to put on. I love dresses and skirts, however, as the most dominant athlete that ever lived, this type of dangerous the-wind-could-expose-my-granny-panties-at-any-time risk taking just does not suit my active lifestyle. So yeah, I have compression shorts on underneath my dress. What are you going to do about it? Yeah, I’ll wear a t-shirt with a skirt.

In addition to a cool collection of skirts, I own a super lit pair of shoes that light up different colors. When paired with one of my signature pairs of crazy socks, I become the coolest lady in the land. I have a collection of six fanny packs, including one that plays music from its speakers using bluetooth. Whenever I wear my “˜jambag,’ I become even more of a walking party than I already am. Another favorite item of mine is the “˜Chat N Chill’ visor my friend found when she was cleaning out her office. She was going to throw out this old red visor, but I was so down to take that sucker in as my own. The greatest shirt in my collection would have to be one I bought from Target for one whole dollar and eight cents. It says, “What do you call cheese that isn’t yours?” and then in the bottom corner is a little piece of cheese, which can be lifted up to reveal the words “nacho cheese.”

It is a common known fact that I am a total frat star, so my Hawaiian shirt is a real favorite with the ladies. However on closer inspection, it is not just a Hawaiian shirt, but has pictures of Moana on it, which is a real favorite with the fellas. Conclusion: Everyone loves me.

Speaking of newer Disney movies, one of my favorite dresses has Anna and Elsa’s faces on it. Another has popcorn all over it. In addition, I also have a romper that I bought my freshman year of high school during dollar day at a Huntsville thrift shop. It is missing a button and one of the pockets is messed up, but this is an article of clothing that I’m pretty sure is older than me. I bought this romper, my only romper, before rompers were cool, so in a way, I started the whole romper trend. Mother, if you’re reading this, you said my romper was not cool, but now rompers are cool because I started that trend. No regrets.

If I have learned anything through giving up uniforms and becoming a fashion icon, it is probably just how dang cool I am. Whenever you stop caring if what you are wearing is trendy or cool and start focusing on what makes you feel good that is when you start finding your style.

Of course, my aesthetic is always evolving. My look, for now, is chic-cheap-country-city-christmas-kosher-camp-counselor-forever-funtastic-frat-sporty-skater-later-organic-pineapple-mango-infused-insomniac-ace-reporter Elise freaking Hester. Trademark me. No regrets.