Sunday, April 9, 2017

How to Wear Pink Sequins Without Looking Like Sharpay Evans


As someone who has frequently (and publicly) declared her love for the mixing of casual and traditionally dressy materials, I feel particularly limited by Sharpay Evans’ virtual monopoly on pink sequins. I will defend the genius of the High School Musical franchise to the death, and I have nothing against Sharpay, but sometimes rich, self-absorbed, pink-obsessed girl is not the look I’m hoping to achieve. I love sparkly materials and I love pink, and I think it could be an awesome combo to flare up street wear or casual dressing, but I don’t always want to look like I take my father’s private jet to a hotel for the summer and boss people around for a living. I want to look like me, whatever that is.

This entire debate started when I tried on a slinky pink sequin top at Urban Outfitters. I thought it was “cool”, per se, but wasn't sold on how it looked with regular jeans (Sharpay-ish, to say the least). Buuuuttt my brand new earnings from babysitting were burning a hole in my pocket, and my friend Teresa blended her compliments of approval with the lies of the skinny mirror into a compellingly tempting orchestra, so I bought it and promised myself I would find a way to make it work.

So now I’m here, keeping that promise to myself for the sake of feeling like a responsible spender and a capable dresser. I might've made a promise I can’t keep, but when in doubt, have unwavering confidence in yourself, right? Even if it’s undeserving? I don’t know.


Here’s how “Operation Un-Sharpay This Top” went:

My first thought was to pair the top with something Sharpay would never wear--the "little brother"/skater boy look. My interpretation of this included Levi's with a graphic tee (my "Pretty in Punk" tee from Zara was the only one I had, just pretend it says "Thrasher" or something) and sneakers. I know the little brothers or skater boys of the world probably don't wear trench coats (or pink sequins), but that being said, how cool would it be if someone rode by you on a skateboard, long coat flowing in the wind? It's an acquired taste, I think.

But I didn't want to be so literal. Sharpay dictates her style according to "girly" principles, so throwing on a bunch of tomboy-ish clothes seemed like a cop out. Kind of like saying you're sick to get out of a test you didn't study for, you know? Sooooooooo, I payed a visit to Layer Central with some uneven hemmed jeans and a blue dress. I think the little bit of sequin peeking out adds something interesting to the look, and both pieces happened to have strappy spider-webs for backs which worked out nicely!


While this was not intentional, the first two outfits almost seemed like I was trying to cover up the shirt, and I thought if I truly want to conquer my pre-conceived notions of this top I'd have to face it outright. So I wore it as it was--no striped turtleneck underneath, no cropped sweater over top--with a Zara skirt. It then dawned on me that I looked like a cross between a Vegas showgirl and a Halloween party attendee who really missed the mark on her Studio 54 costume. I wasn't ready to scrap it, though, because something about it intrigued me. As much as I just scorned this outfit for its resemblance to a Halloween costume, I have an appreciation for the dress-up segment of fashion. Then it came to me: Sharpay would NEVER clash pinks, right?
So I grabbed a darker pink button-down from my dad's closet and added some sneakers to make it less fru-fru. I kinda look like an alternate universe version of a mechanic, which I am very down for-- my only request is that, in said alternate universe, SodaPop Curtis must still be a mechanic.


Admittedly, this last look is the closest to anything Sharpay has actually worn or thought about wearing, and as life seems to have it, it's my favorite out of the three. Has my inner Sharpay been slowly crawling out of me--from my mind to my heart, from my heart down my arms to my fingers to the words my fingers are typing--and into this article? It's possible. In fact, what's a good experiment if the original hypothesis isn't proven wrong? 
I don't want to get ahead of myself, though. The button-down and sneakers saved the day by roughing it up a little. So let's just say the hypothesis was not necessarily disproven, but modified: I'd like to see Sharpay in an outfit that satisfies her craving for pink while rejecting some of the stereotypical "girly" pieces that have become synonymous with fashion's gender norms. 

Dressing like a completely different version of yourself--one of the many ways fashion hands you the reigns to your own empowerment-- can be quite exhilarating.
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