My Deep Dive Project Explained

For my Quarter 3 deep dive project, I will be exploring girls’ fashion trends at Rye High School. Each week for the remainder of the quarter, I will observe patterns in what my peers are wearing and report on what I find. From this information, I will attempt to answer these questions: How has high school girls’ fashion has changed over time? What clothing, shoes, and accessories are popular right now? And why do we wear the things we wear?

My idea for this deep dive was greatly inspired by the iconic writer and photographer Bill Cunningham from The New York Times, as well as a biannual email subscription called Basic Info by Kelly Gordon. I also must give credit to some of my favorite fashion blogs out there right now, including but not limited to, We Wore What, The Zoe Report, and Who What Wear.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at how girls’ fashion has evolved since our parents went to school (for most of us the 1980s or early 90s). Neither of my parents went to school at Rye, but my mom saved her yearbook from when she was a sophomore at Pearl River High in 1986.

Counterclockwise from top: my Mom’s spring track team, some senior portraits, and a picture of some girls hanging out.

Look at that hair! I noticed right away that almost none of the girls wore it up, even for sports, which doesn’t seem very practical. Straight-leg jeans and pants were everywhere, and leggings were non-existent. Collared shirts, cardigans, and boat necks were very popular. Interestingly, jean jackets and puffer coats were trends back then that have not gone away.

Looking at what girls are wearing now, a lot has changed. For one, we seem to be opting for comfort over style. The college sweatshirt and leggings combo is not going anywhere anytime soon. Jeans are still popular, but leggings are probably worn just as much, if not more. Sneakers are by far the most popular form of footwear.

Why did we shift towards athleisure? One article from The Atlantic titled “How Did Athleisure Take Over American Fashion?” attempts to explain this change with these three reasons: technological improvements to fabrics, our society’s fixation on healthy appearance, and the gradual decline of formal attire. Does this really explain what I’m seeing in the hallways? I’m not sure yet.

Apart from clothing, accessories are having a moment right now. We may be comfortable, but we’re decked out in jewelry. Hairstyles also have more variety; the options are endless.

These are just some of the things I’ve noticed in general, but each week I’ll be composing a piece about some of the patterns I see in the hallways. Check back for my findings!

**Edited: Because of the school closing due to coronavirus, I won’t be posting what I see in the hallways after Volume One. Instead, I will make lists of what I think is popular right now based on what I saw when I was in school. I’ll also post some ideas/activities to help you make the most of your Quarantine. I hope you enjoy!