Sweaterdress: Vince (thrifted). Tights: Modcloth. Boots: Frye. Jewelry: Serefina.
When I was in high school, my friends and I had a little tradition that we’d do every year before the first football game of the season. We’d pile into somebody’s mom’s car (or, later, our friend Kim’s Subaru) and make the trek to the Mall of America. We’d walk the mall for hours, always determined to visit every store but knowing the feat was literally impossible. Giggling through the aisles in American Eagle, we’d hunt for the jeans, the sweater, the certain shade of lipgloss that would help us go back to school with a bang.
You see, the first football game of the season was always followed by the back-to-school dance- essentially a grand coming-out party. It was the opportunity for everyone to see and be seen, to observe who had made a transformation over that long, hot summer. Whether it was the grunge-loving guy who suddenly embraced Abercrombie or the quiet girl who sudden came out of her shell, there was always at least one person who shocked the crowd.
For my friends and I, the razor-sharp band geeks without a boyfriend between us, it was a chance to do things differently that year. I was always the most fervent, with the undying optimism that this was the year I’d find a boyfriend, this was the year I’d nail the lead in the school play, this was the year that I’d start moving towards my dream of a glamourous life as an actress in a big city.
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut as an adult, to become complacent that the life you’re living is as good as it’s going to get. But whenever the evenings get cooler and I reach for fall colors, I try to dig inside and find the memory of that skinny little girl sitting in the bleachers with her friends. I’m in no rush to go back to those days (oh, the hair humanity!), but her optimism and drive were so alive. I could learn a thing or two.
Photography by Pete Hopkins.