Fashion & Self Expression in Patchogue Medford High School


Photo by Jacob Gabel

Left: Mikayla Williams Right: David Bui Mikayla and David each use personal fashion as a way to express themselves and inspire their classmates in the halls of PMHS.

Coming into freshman year I only had one reference for how a “high schooler” dressed: Nickelodeon. So, I got on my green striped shirt, put on my cargo shorts and left to catch my bus—a real high schooler. However, walking into school I would come to see just how inaccurate this was, I can’t speak for when your parents went to school, but I can say for certain I hadn’t walked straight onto “Drake and Josh” as I’d expected—high school was a lot more like “The Breakfast Club.” It was sort of eye opening to me as a freshman to see all these confident people, walking around in something I’d never have the confidence to pull off. Things that we even consider staples of fashion today seemed like bold risks back then, people were truly showing off their own identity through their clothing.

When I talk about identity through fashion it’s never in a “he’s a nerd” or a “he’s a jock” type of way; in fact, I’d challenge you to pin that down walking through the halls now with the wide variety of aesthetics and optics present. No. When I talk about identity in fashion it’s in more of a “Oh… that guy’s really cool” type of way. One could pin blame on social media platforms like TikTok, or maybe even in just growing up, on why kids start “dressing to express” through their four years of high school, but one thing is for certain, from freshman to seniors: kids start dressing radically different, when?

In search of answers as to why my classmates have started to dress how they want rather than how’s expected: I asked two classmates of mine who stuck out to me as dressing particularly individualistic senses of style: David Bui and Mikayla Williams.

Beginning with David Bui: This outfit may at first strike someone as simple… “He’s just wearing a hoodie” is what many classmates probably think. But I think that’s what makes this outfit so cool. It’s so lowkey yet also so him. We see the very traditional Nike hoodie littered with embroidered butterflies, and I must add this isn’t any exclusive collaboration or anything of the sort, its custom made. David takes one of the most worn pieces—a Nike hoodie—and makes it so uniquely him.

Following David, we have one of the most eccentrically dressed people I’ve seen walking the halls of Pat-Med: Mikayla Williams. With this outfit its elements broken down to the core pieces are pretty simple, a denim skirt and sleeveless blue shirt. However, looking beyond that is what makes it interesting, Mikayla seemingly takes every opportunity to accessorize: Chains, Earmuffs, and Gaiters on her wrists and around her ankles. I think Makayla is doing something really interesting here by taking an outfit that anyone could wear and turning it into a more distinct outfit, that only she could wear—via accessories.