I have an awkward past and it was probably never more awkward than when I was in middle school. Like most of us at that age, I was experimenting with who I wanted to be. I told my friends I wanted to be a rock star or a ballerina or an astronaut, but, secretly, I would have settled for just popular. I was sure that if I could dress like the popular kids, I would be one. Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford the brands that all the cool kids were wearing. I never owned a pair of Guess jeans or a Benetton sweater or an Esprit top. I had to make do with a small wardrobe of discount clothing from Sears or JC Penney. I was creative with what I had, but I was always a little disappointed with my looks. Now, with the perspective of thirty years, I see hints of the the style I’d develop and love as an adult. If only I could go back and tell myself that copying the popular kids is for unimaginative sheep. Rock the awkward, young Kasmira!

6th grade

I’m growing out my first perm. I should be wearing glasses, but I’m too vain. (My vanity will eventually lead to my flunking out of math class because I can’t see the daily quizzes.) I freaking LOVED this sweatshirt. It pictured a puffy, white bear painting himself to look like a panda. I remember wearing it with white shorts, black socks, and white sneakers on a field trip and thinking I was the ultimate in stylishness. Even back then, I appreciated the classic combination of black and white, punched up with a bright color. I did not, though, have an appreciation for hygiene. For some reason, I boycotted brushing my teeth for days at a time.

7th grade

This picture is painful. However, you can see that my fashion roots run deep with layering. This shirt has small turquoise squares in the pattern, so I felt that topping it with a turquoise jumper was quite sharp. I attempted and failed at mall bangs on a daily basis. Instead of a defiant claw, I ended up with insipid fluff. My favorite shirt from this grade isn’t pictured here. (I must have gotten it after the start of the year.) It was a white, baseball-style shirt with 3/4 sleeves, one of which was yellow and the other pink. It had a “Troop Beverly Hills” emblem on the chest. When I wore it, I felt pretty and popular. It mysteriously disappeared at my Grandma’s house the following summer. I pined for it for years. Even now, I’d kind of like it back, for nostalgia’s sake.

8th grade

Things were looking up. I got a spiral perm and highlights. I still wasn’t allowed to wear makeup, but I’d sneak some of my mother’s or apply a friend’s at school and then wipe it off before I got home.  By this time, I really started getting into jewelry. I remember going nuts over the cheap bracelets at 2 + 2 at the Clackamas Towne Center (in the pre-Claire’s Boutique days). Even back then, I carefully sorted and stored my jewelry. Each pair of earrings had its own, tiny ziplock bag and the entire collection was stored in a decorative tin. I wore these fan earrings almost daily, until I finally lost one. The “K” necklace is my mother’s but I appropriated it for many years.

I never transitioned from awkward to popular, but eventually cared less about being and looking like others. My style, like my sense of self, became better defined each year. I created my own look, focusing on the things I love – color, layers, and accessories – without blowing the budget. Who really wants to spend a lot to look like part of the crowd? Never stop being you, awkward or not.

This post is an updated version of Jr High Style, originally published 9/5/2007 at whatiwore2day.blogspot.com.

November 14, 2016

Kasmira Kit


  1. Sheila (of Ephemera)

    November 15, 2016

    Aw, I think you look beautiful, and yes, I can see hints of the woman you’ve become. My junior high and high school pictures are so awful, but maybe I’ll do a post of them some time.

    • Kasmira Kit

      November 16, 2016

      Can’t wait to see!

  2. Lorena

    November 16, 2016

    Just a few months ago I picked up a vintage Benetton sweatshirt for 5 bucks because it reminded me of the ones worn by the “cool” kids in high school.
    One of the things that I do recall doing in high school that is kind of the blog predecessor for me is that I use to write down everything I wore every day. The idea behind this “clothes control calendar” was that I did not want to repeat the outfits. Nowadays I can tell you that I do not care wearing the same stuff two or even three days in a row..

    • Kasmira Kit

      November 16, 2016

      I also took great care not to repeat outfits or items “too much.” But writing it down is genius!

  3. ~J

    November 18, 2016

    You were adorable! I had the same issues with budget at that age, and I think that’s when I started figuring out it was fun to “dress differently” than the other girls.

    • Kasmira Kit

      November 23, 2016

      It’s a tough age. I felt so misunderstood. I’m so glad it’s over!

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